Watch the Movie, Read the Book!
Movie: Shazam! Starring: Zachary Levi
Book: Shazam! (New 52) by Geoff Johns
The movie was marketed as “Big meets superheroes.” I think that is a perfect summary of the movie.
“The movie follows Billy Batson, a troubled 14-year-old boy living in foster homes in Philadelphia. After running away for the 23rd time, Billy moves into a foster home with the Vazquez family and their 5 foster kids. One day Billy Batson gets on a subway car and he finds himself transported to a different realm. An ancient wizard gives him the power to turn into an adult superhero by uttering the word Shazam! Billy and his new foster brother, Freddy Freeman, have lots of fun learning how to use his superhero powers.” – New Line Cinema
“Shazam has been in publication at DC Comics 40+ years. The movie is based very heavily upon the 2012 New 52 era reboot of Shazam! Writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank reimagined the character’s entire world. There are also some big differences between the movie and the book. Much of the harder edge in The New 52 story is gone and instead the zany ridiculousness of the character’s Golden Age is present.” – ScreenRant.com
I decided to watch the movie because of the trailers, Zachary Levi, and good reviews from friends who had seen it. I was not disappointed. I really, really, hope they make a sequel. Shazam! was as advertised – a fun superhero movie that the whole family can enjoy. As in any superhero origin movie there was a lot of explaining, things happening in the past, characters introduced with no real depth (saving it for the sequel!), and a training montage. I LOVE montages. The one for Shazam explored his powers as a superhero and what a teenage boy would do if he could turn into an adult at will. Almost the whole family can enjoy this light fare. Although the villain is not that scary, he does kill people. In addition, the 7 deadly sins are represented in the flesh as demons. They are vicious and scary looking. Depending on the child, I would recommend this for ages 10+.
As with every superhero of DC comics, there are many Shazam books – from the old comics to present day, the children’s Billy Batson and the magic of Shazam! series, and kid’s early reader books. I only read the graphic novel the movie is based on (via hoopla because the book was checked out!) . (I prefer to read non-superhero graphic novels but really enjoy movies based off of superhero comics.)
The graphic novel was a quick read. As stated before, there are major difference in the comic and the movie but also a lot of the same story. Differences like there are two villains in the comics but only one in the movie and the 7 deadly sins are imprisoned in people not statues. The comic cleared up some questions that movie reviewers pointed out. For example – why Billy Batson is chosen and why the villain needed Shazam’s power. Depending on the child, I would recommend the comic to ages 7+. I think the killing and 7 deadly sins are less scary visually than in the movie.
The experience on my iPad in the hoopla app was different but nice. Last time I read a comic as an eBook it was on my 1rst generation Kindle Fire (which I miss greatly.). The viewing experience on hoopla is similar. It shows you one panel at a time or zooms into different parts of a larger panel/page of the comic like my Fire did. Although it does not show you the full page first and then the separate panel like my Fire. The hoopla app may have that capability but I did not search for it. The best parts about reading a comic as eBook is you always read the panels in the correct order, the words are bigger, and you can zoom. I am still requesting the graphic novel in hardback so I can peruse the pics in the regular way.
I hope you enjoy Shazam! in all its formats. Click to see all the Shazam!’s the library offers.