The 14 year old hero has finally come to Indonesia! Billy Batson aka Shazam has been airing since April 2, 2019, and the enthusiasm of superhero movie fans has started. Reviews began to appear everywhere, some praised how Shazam broke the dark DC hero stereotypes, some were blasphemous for the color tone and story type similar to Marvel films.

Well, for me personally Shazam! is a very enjoyable film. I left feeling satisfied, because in general a Shazam! managed to meet my expectations. But still, Shazam! haven’t been able to quench my dry and pessimistic thirst about the DCEU starting off so badly. Let’s try to dissect, why Shazam! only able to give a ‘sip’ of optimism for the DCEU in the future.

Full Shot-To-Shot Modification
As I expected, Shazam! will take the plot of the story in accordance with the way the comic came out in 2013. But what I didn’t expect was how the Shazam! it will take many shot-to-shot scenes that are true to the comics. For example, we can see the scene when Billy Batson ‘goes’ to the Witch’s realm with the train in the movie trailer .

 

For those of you who read the comic, the Shazam! this will really make you guess whether the scene in the comic will appear in the next second. I do that, and often smile when the scenes I see and imagine in the comics are able to be shown and executed well by the director. But like other comic adaptations, the Shazam! will also change some elements and other details so that the plot of the story can be told densely.

But unfortunately, this change in the plot of the story more or less has an impact on the story being less weighty when compared to the comics. One of the things that bothered me the most was the emotional arc that little Billy Batson had before he was chosen to be Shazam. In the comics, Billy Batson was chosen after the Witch saw his potential goodness.

 

In the comic, the reader is shown the potential of the pure soul possessed by Billy in detail based on previous experiences. Unfortunately, the process of choosing Billy Batson to be Shazam in the film only because the wizard had no other choice, because only Billy was closest to him. In my opinion, this is a big plot hole , they say you can’t just choose a Champion, but how come you just give them a stick for power transfer? What if it turns out that Billy Batson is not a good person, so there are two criminals?

Indeed, Billy Batson’s emotional arc was built in another way because this film takes a grand plot that is very different from the comics. All audiences will also feel it at the end of the film, where in the end Billy finds and gets his main motivation. But yeah, it doesn’t feel great if Billy changes just for trivial reasons like no-anyone-other-yes-you-are-a-Shazam . Cliche.

Oh yeah, I’m also a little disappointed why the film Shazam! instead took the main villain Sivana instead of Black Adam. The plot of adding stories like ‘magical‘ eyes also doesn’t make much sense to me, and maybe to all readers of Shazam comics. Maybe the villain was deliberately not made over power so that this film is child-friendly, or maybe there are other motivations related to the DCEU in the future. I don’t know, what’s clear here is that I’m disappointed that I can’t see the handsome and handsome action of Black Adam, who was said to be playing by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Touche.

Perfect Protagonist, Messy Antagonist
When we talk about character design, there are several things that I pay attention to. There are things that are a plus, but there are also things that I really love because they have changed so drastically and are so different from the comics.

What I love about the Shazam movies! is the character design of Shazam itself. I think that Shazam would not be suitable to be played by Zachary Levi because he is too young and lacks muscle, not in accordance with the image of Shazam in the comics who are old, muscular and mighty. But apparently, Warner Bros. really knows its market share, so Shazam is made into a film full of laughter, so it requires someone who can bring humor spontaneously and naturally like Zachary Levi.

The selection of costumes from Shazam also in my opinion is right. Even though it looks very synthetic, the red and yellow color choices that are very contrasting really catch the eye of anyone who sees it. Not to mention the lightning symbol that can light up on his chest, really simple, striking, immediately able to instill the gimmick and characteristics of Shazam in the audience. Because if I look at it, Shazam’s costume in the comics is less prominent, more complicated and much different from the film version.

 

In addition to Shazam’s character design which looks better and simpler than the comic version, I also really like the quality of acting given by Jack Dylan Grazer as Freedy Freeman. For me, Freedy is the ‘motor’ driving Shazam’s film humor from the beginning to the end of the film. All turning points in the story plot are caused by Freddy, from the development of the characters Billy Batson and Shazam to the overall atmosphere of the film.

Jack Dylan Grazer is an actor with high potential and a bright future in film. He is really capable of expressing, acting, and interacting with other characters without any difficulty at all. Every joke, every expression, emotion, and every narration was delivered flawlessly. Especially when Freddy Freeman ‘transformed’ into an adult and was played by Adam Brody, their personalities and faces were so similar that I immediately googled to see if they were brothers!

 

Even though Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer have played very perfectly in this film, I’m still annoyed with the designs of the antagonist characters. Almost all of them are ugly, seem cheap, and very much different from the comics. I’m not talking about Black Adam, yes, but the performances of 7 Sins and Doctor Sivana are disappointing.

Doctor Sivana’s character design and background story are actually good, story-solid and have a very strong motivation. But after he became the main antagonist, his performance was far from what I imagined. He wasn’t wearing a costume, just dressed like an ordinary person but had super powers and could fly to and fro. I don’t know what you think, but I think it’s weird and it doesn’t seem like I want to be a villain at all .

Not to mention if we look at the design of the 7 Sins. Whoops. duh. Why not stick with the comic version? It’s definitely much cooler, far more varied and far more memorable than the film version. Try it for those of you who haven’t watched it, look at the 7 Sins form in this comic and compare it with what you see in the movie. I guarantee, you will like the comic version more than the film version.

By Kania