Shazam! is in cinemas now and we have to say, it is the most fun DC/ Warner Bros movie we've seen in a long time.
'Shazam!' sees teenager Billy Batson (Asher Angel) granted the power by a wizard to transform into the titular adult hero. Zachary Levi plays said hero while 'It' star Jack Dylan Grazer plays Billy's friend, Freddy, and Mark Strong is the villain.
There are a whole bunch of movies that come to mind while watching 'Shazam!' These were the most noticeable ones for us.
Of course the comparisons of 'Shazam!' to 'Big' have been around before the film even hit screens. The Tom Hanks starrer sees a teenage boy turn into an adult upon making a wish on a fortune teller machine. So comparing that synopsis to 'Shazam!'s above isn't too big (ha) a stretch. Of course, there's the added bonus of superpowers as well as an adult body in the new movie. Plus the movie makes its own nods to 'Big' by having the teenage best friend character and a giant keyboard gag.
Shazam has a lot of comparable powers to Superman and indeed when the character first arrived in comics, he was sued for being too like the Man of Steel (Shazam was called Captain Marvel, funnily enough, back then). But it's not just there where similarities lie. The seminal 1978 'Superman' movie had more of a sense of humour and adventure than its Henry Cavill equivalent. Similarly, 'Shazam!' is imbued with a sense of fun which DC has been in need of for a while now.
'Shazam!'s comedy-action-adventure genre mashup recalls such 80s kid-led films as 'E.T.' and particularly 'The Goonies'. Billy's adoptive siblings aren't all that unlike the mismatched band of rascals that were the eponymous Goonies, and as with the 1985 movie, they end up going on an adventure that is full of peril and transforms their lives forever.
The Dark Crystal
As we said, there are definitely callbacks to 80s movies in the latest from the superhero canon. With its iconography of wizards and magic, one recalls the fantasy-adventure movies of the day like 'Labyrinth', 'The Dark Crystal' (both from the Jim Henson company) and 'The Neverending Story'. While tonally, 'Shazam!' would be closer aligned with 'Labyrinth' in its not taking itself too seriously, the design of the Wizard Shazam's (Djimon Hounsou) lair of the Rock of Eternity, and that of the Seven Deadly Sins he has sealed away in mythical statues, recall the darker Jim Henson movie 'The Dark Crystal'.
So this one is a bit of a cheat as 'Shazam!' isn't so much inspired by 'Rocky' as it is just referencing the movie. Still, we're counting it. As with the Sylvester Stallone starrer, the movie is set in Philadelphia. Billy and Freddy visit the iconic Rocky steps and while in the guise of Shazam, Billy puts on a lightning display to the tune of 'Eye of the Tiger' at one point. Still, we think you can definitely say the training montage and 'rise of a hero' narrative of 'Shazam!' are inspired by 'Rocky', right?