Shazam! Is the most recent DCEU movie to come to theaters. Like its predecessor, Aquaman, Shazam! Is full of light-hearted humor to break up the action sequences. Overall, I thought it was a really good movie. And, surprisingly, I found it to have some very conservative values.
In the film, the main character Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is chosen to wield the powers of the wizard Shazam. His powers allow him to become an adult (Zachary Levi), and the first part of the film centers around Billy as he learns to use his powers. In the beginning, Billy abuses his powers and uses them to goof off instead of using them for good.
Eventually, Billy realizes that he must use his powers to defeat the major villain of the movie, Doctor Sivana (Mark Strong). Sivana makes a deal with seven beings who are the physical manifestations of the Seven Deadly Sins: Greed, Lust, Pride, Anger, Gluttony, Sloth, and Envy. They are based off of the Christian sins of the same names.
The movie has the underlying theme of good defeating evil, as Billy was chosen due to his “pure heart” and the fact that he fights the physical embodiments of sin. In addition, the movie strongly focuses on family.
Billy is a foster kid and he constantly runs from home to home in his attempts to find his birth mom, whom he lost when he was a small child. Eventually, he moves in with a large family in Philadelphia, PA. The family is made up of married couple Victor (Cooper Andrews) and Rosa Vasquez (Marta Milans), and the many foster children who live with them: Mary (Grace Fulton), Eugene (Ian Chen), Darla (Faithe C. Dudley), Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), and Pedro (Jovan Armand).
Rosa and Victor do their best to make each child feel welcome in their home. When Billy first arrives, it is obvious how much the family all cares for one another and how welcoming they are to Billy. The kids try to befriend Billy and make him feel welcome, while Victor and Rosa try to make him feel understood by telling him about their own time in the foster system. Rosa and Victor tell Billy that they take in so many foster kids because they knew what it was like to feel as if they didn’t have a home and as if no one really cared about them. The couple tells him that they want to make their house a true home for the kids and to always make them feel welcome. They want to create a true family for the kids whom they take in.
The family theme is incredibly important throughout the film. In the climax, the foster-siblings all work together to defeat Silvas and the Seven Deadly Sins, in a drawn-out action scene that is peppered with funny moments and quips.
Another important theme in the movie is self-improvement. When Billy first gets his powers, he uses them to cut class and to goof off. His focus turns away from his family and friends, and turns toward his own selfish desires. Throughout the movie, however, Billy learns to put others before himself. This makes him a true hero with a compelling character arc. He grows from a somewhat selfish boy who desperately wants to find his mother to a hero who saves lives—not because it is easy, but because it is the right thing to do.