Shazam!: A Case for Kindess

Shazam! is good and fun and kind, and not lazy, and you should probably go watch it.

Die-hard Adam Wing fans will recall I used to run a different blog in which I pretty much only wrote long-winded and overly-wordy (and at times, rather shallow) movie reviews. Since starting this site, I’ve let that fall away, but I just came back from watching Shazam! and I wanted to write a few short words about it.

Shazam!.jpg

Shazam! is good. Not spectacular. Not ground-breaking in any real way. It’s a solid 132 minutes of entertainment. But that’s not everything it is. It’s also kind. It’s so wonderfully, damn kind.

How can a movie be kind? To be honest, I’m not really sure. But this one is.

Maybe it’s the kindness shown within the film. Because it is shown. Ultimately Shazam! is about family. And from what we see of family in it, there is ONLY kindness. Let me write that again: THE ONLY aspect of family we’re shown in the film is kindness. (Whatever family we see lacking kindness, is shown to be no family at all.) It not only equates the two, it essentially shows us they’re one and the same.

Or I could say, possibly, the film is kind in the extent of its diversity and inclusion. I mean, yes, it has a straight white male protagonist. And a straight white male sidekick. And a white male villain. But we’re also given a cavalcade of fleshed out, memorable and interesting characters, varying in race, age, gender, sexual orientation (subtly hinted at) and able-bodiedness. And none of them are wallpaper. They’re all fleshed-out, believable characters. And it feels pretty good to watch.

But I think the real reason Shazam! feel kind is because—without sliding into a morality tale—it requires characters to take converging roads in order to achieve their goals. At every impasse, the path to overcoming it is in sharing with others. Every setback results from selfishness. In one of the film’s key climactic moments, I actually teared up, so strong was this pattern. (Then I almost teared up again thinking about it on the drive home.)

Really, I don’t know. It just felt kind.

Now, I could go one about the film. I could break down moments when it allowed opportunities for greater tension to slip away unused. I could compare its use of comedy to other films both in and out of the DCEU, or write about how impressed I was with the acting. Or I could note how it managed to tell a solid superhero story without many/most of the common tropes we’ve come to expect. (No hint of a love interest—oh my holy, hell—THANK YOU!).

But as I said, I only wanted to write a few short words. So let’s leave it at this:

You should go see Shazam!. It’s good and fun and kind, and not lazy, and that’s more than enough reason.

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