A 14-year-old becomes a superhero overnight by just shouting one word, “Shazam!”
“Shazam!” gifts superhero-movie fans with a little bit of everything: a cool mythology of wizards and magic, Christmas high jinks, an emphasis on family matters, and a do-gooder with a taste for junk food because he’s 14 years old. So what’s left for a sequel? A small supervillain with big-time bad intentions.
The kid-friendly movie introduces into the DC canon teenage foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who has the ability to turn into a god-like adult superhero (Zachary Levi). When bad guy Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) and the monstrous Seven Deadly Sins threaten Philadelphia, Shazam saves the day at a climactic holiday carnival with his own Justice League.
SPOILER ALERT! We’re discussing plot points integral to the end of ‘Shazam!’ so beware if you haven’t seen it yet.
THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING. (And also a fine time for a GIF showing Shazam helpfully charging a bystander’s phone.)
When Billy’s new foster siblings Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), Mary (Grace Fulton), Darla (Faithe Herman), Eugene (Ian Chen) and Pedro (Jovan Armand) touch the same magical staff that gave Billy his powers – and say the magic word “Shazam!” – they also become grown-up superhero versions of themselves (played by Adam Brody, Michelle Borth, Meagan Good, Ross Butler and D.J. Cotrona).
And if those weren’t enough superheroes, Superman even shows up in the final scene! (Well, at least we get to see the signature “S” and his chest when he stops by a school cafeteria to say hey to Freddy.)
That, of course, isn’t all. It’s a huge comic-book movie, so of course there have to be some end-credits scenes. Let’s break down both, although the first is the one that matters most:
Sivana can’t worm his way of out of this meeting.
Strong’s defeated villain is seen in the first of the two bonus sequences in a small padded prison unit, writing weird symbols all over the place – no doubt to figure out a way to get his powers back from the Sins. But his jail has room for one more when a little weird alien worm suddenly shows up and seems to want a teammate for a major mission: “Oh, what fun we’ll have, doctor. The Seven Realms will be ours.”
Longtime comic-book fans will recognize this green dude as Mister Mind, a super-smart antagonist who heads up the Monster Society of Evil. Perhaps Sivana is his first recruit for a new group that will challenge the magical hero in the sequel.
Eagle-eyed moviegoers may have spotted Mister Mind earlier in the movie: In the lair of the wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou), he’s briefly seen in passing in a glass enclosure while later it’s shown broken – presumably, where he wormed out of there.
One more fun fact: Director David F. Sandberg told USA TODAY he’s the guy who gives Mister Mind his strange vocals. “I started doing it as a temp and then was I like, ‘Ah, I kind of like how it turned out. I want to be the voice of him.’ And then if they put him in other movies, they have to hire me!” says the filmmaker.
The new guy’s got some Aquaman jokes.
The very last scene after the credits roll is short and throwaway, but like the rest of the movie, pretty funny in how it plays with superheroes and the larger DC universe.
Billy and Freddy spend much of the middle of the movie trying to figure out what powers Billy has as the ultra-muscular Shazam, and this cool moment finds them in a bedroom with Freddy in an Aquaman T-shirt and super-sized Billy holding a fish bowl trying to talk to a goldfish.
Billy figures out that’s not in his skill set and when he asks what’d be so great about chatting with fish, Freddy mentions that he could command “an army of billions in the ocean.” “That’s not that cool,” Billy counters, a sick burn at the guy who can communicate with sea life.
No one tell Jason Momoa’s grumpy Justice Leaguer before they team up.
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