Story

Fourteen-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is a streetwise foster kid, determined to find his mother, whom he lost as a small child. When a last effort to locate her goes wrong, Billy ends up in a group foster home with five very different siblings. They include studious Mary (Grace Fulton), tech wiz Eugene (Ian Chen), superhero-obsessed Freddy who also has a disability (Jack Dylan Grazer), silent and serious Pedro (Jovan Armand), and sweet little Darla (Faithe Herman).

After standing up for Freddy, Billy is chased through the streets by two violent bullies. He escapes on the subway and finds himself in a wizard cave where he’s presented with magical powers, transformed into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi), and charged with saving the world. Meanwhile the power-hungry Dr Sivana (Mark Strong) has released the seven deadly sins and will stop at nothing to defeat Shazam.

While coming to terms with his powers and abilities, Billy learns that sometimes the family you have been searching for is the one that you already have, and that unconditional love is the greatest power of all.

Themes

Family breakdown, bullying, misuse of power.

Violence

Shazam! has a lot of violence, including the use of guns and fighting. For example:

  • When Dr Sivana takes the eye to release the seven deadly sins, it looks like his own eye blasts out of the back of his head. When he stands up, he has a scar on his face and a purple glowing eye in the socket where a real eye used to be.
  • Two thieves who are robbing a convenience store repeatedly shoot Shazam.
  • The seven deadly sins have no regard for life. They murder and kill whenever they’re released.
  • There are numerous superhero fight scenes in which Shazam and Dr Sivana blast through buildings or destroy statues while fighting with each other.
  • Shazam accidentally zaps a bus wheel with his electric powers and the bus falls over an embankment. Numerous passengers are slightly injure,d but Shazam saves their lives.

Sexual references

Shazam! has some sexual references. For example, Shazam goes to a strip club with his foster siblings. The scene inside the club isn’t shown, but when the foster siblings come out of the club, Mary is covering Darla’s eyes while scolding Shazam. The boys look happy and dazed.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Shazam! shows some use of substances. For example, Shazam goes into a convenience store to buy beer for himself and Freddy. Both boys spit it out as soon as they taste it.

Nudity and sexual activity

Shazam! has one reference to seeing ‘boobs’, but none are actually shown.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in Shazam!:

  • A magic-8 ball is used as a conduit to connect a child to the seven deadly sins.
  • Numerous cans of Dr Pepper fly out of a vending machine. Freddy and Shazam drink them all.
  • There are repeated references to Batman and Superman, as well as some images of merchandise associated with these superheroes.
  • Apple products are used, and Eugene plays with a Toshiba laptop.
  • People eat snacks like Cheetos and Fritos.

Coarse language

Shazam! has some coarse language and crude behaviour.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Shazam! is an action-packed movie with some important messages and funny lines. Despite being presented as a child-friendly movie, this one is better for slightly older audiences.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • Families aren’t always made and bound by blood.
  • True power consists of sharing your strengths and raising others up instead of putting them down.
  • Goodness, selflessness and courage will triumph over evil in the end.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include gratitude, teamwork, determination, responsibility to the greater good, and unconditional love.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk about the real-life risks of behaviour like:

  • running away from home
  • playing ‘harmless’ tricks on police – for example, there don’t appear to be any consequences when Billy locks up two police officers and steals their lunches
  • trying stunts – for example, Billy tries to fly, which doesn’t go well but he isn’t injured. Likewise, he’s shot in the face repeatedly and isn’t injured. This wouldn’t be the case in real life.