Friday, May 3, 2019

Review: Shazam!


Shazam! is the latest film to adapt classic DC Comics characters (or Fawcett Comics characters, in this case) to the big screen, and it's the most fun I've had at a modern DC film to date. Maybe that's because I'm not overly steeped in the history and lore of Billy Batson, the mystical wizard, or The Rock of Eternity (which is the name of my album). Maybe it's because I've sat the last few DC films out, exhausted after the CGI spectacle of mass destruction fueled by Zack Snyder's desire to make this universe full of muck and grime, inspired more by the likes of Frank Miller and Alan Moore than by Neal Adams and Julius Schwartz.

When Shazam! works, it's because it's having fun with its central premise. Billy Batson, a troubled orphan with a heart of gold, is granted magical powers when he utters the secret word and is transformed into a hero bigger than Superman. The wonder and joy of a kid who suddenly finds he has super powers allows this movie to have a different perspective than we've seen in most of these films so far, and the plot is almost entirely driven by young people. For some, this is a barrier. For others, this is the appeal. I appreciated the different focus, and I thought the filmmakers mostly kept things from becoming too saccharine or syrupy, though the story does occasionally drift into these areas. 

Censorship In Media (Streaming, Movies, Television, Disney Plus)


With streaming platforms like Disney Plus, Netflix, and Hulu becoming the primary way that millions of consumers are experiencing media, the issue of censorship is more relevant than it's been in years. Not only are entire movies falling into obscurity, but classic films are being edited and modified. In this video, Heath and Bree discuss Song of the South, Dumbo, George Lucas and the Star Wars special editions, and tons of stuff in between to explore the nature of film and entertainment censorship and what place--if any--it serves in today's society.