Shazam! (2019)

B SDG Original source: National Catholic Register

If you’re an ancient wizard responsible for keeping the demons of Pride, Envy, Greed, Anger, Sloth, Gluttony and Lust in check, and your power is waning and you have to pass on your mantle to a young successor, it’s a good idea to prioritize, above all, that your chosen champion be pure of heart.

I mean, purity of heart alone isn’t enough, but then your gift goes a long way in other departments, in principle.

Directed by Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou, Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans, Grace Fulton, Cooper Andrews. Warner Bros.

Artistic/Entertainment Value

Moral/Spiritual Value

+2 / -1

Age Appropriateness

Teens & Up

MPAA Rating

PG-13

Caveat Spectator

Much comic-book violence and a few gruesome images; brief sexual humor and very brief underage drinking; at least one profanity and some cursing and crude language.

A champion should also be wise, but the wisdom of Solomon is among the gifts you will give him. And he’ll need to be strong, but the strength of Hercules is also in your gift — along with the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury.

If you couldn’t give him those things, your name wouldn’t be Shazam. Who would come up with such a name, except as an acronym?

All of this is well-known to some, I guess. But this seems to be a new wrinkle: What about all the potential champions you examined who turned out not to be pure of heart? Have you considered the possible effects of peremptory rejection for unworthiness on the unworthy and the paths that might start them on?

It’s a little bit about the Seven Deadly Sins and a lot about how a 14-year-old boy would react if he were suddenly bequeathed with superpowers beyond imagining and also an Adonis-like adult physique in a bright red super-suit.

What if one of them became the problem your hypothetical champion had to oppose? What if you wound up creating the problem before coming up with the solution, and you were forced to settle for a champion whose purity of heart was less total than you’d like?

Shazam!, directed by David F. Sandberg, is about all of this, and, of course, much more.

Action, DC Comics, Superheroes & Comic Book Movies