LEGO DC: Shazam–Magic, Mayhem and Monsters!

1 May

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available on digital:
April 28, 2020

Coming to Blu-ray/DVD on
June 16, 2020.

The ever-expanding LEGO DC universe has a new hero! The past couple of years have seen the Justice League take on various threats, but we’ve never seen the ethereal realm get examined. Shazam: Magic and Monsters is a very welcome addition which re-introduces the mystical superhero (voiced by Sean Astin) and hopefully sets the tone for what else to come.

The worm Mr. Mind (Jonny Rees) has plans for the Justice League in his bid to rule Earth. When he becomes much too powerful, enter Shazam’s rival Black Adam (Imari Williams), and a nastier scheme which shows not even Mind has thought of plotting.

Just like prior films in this franchise, the story is about either the Justice League or a particular character. I much prefer the solo efforts. While the League are around, most of these films often have one character as the principal protagonist. I’m still waiting for a solo LEGO DC Heroes Cyborg film, and that won’t be happening for some time. From Aquaman to Flash to Shazam, these new Leaguers help round out the team so they can defeat any foe that threatens them. At the same time, to see how well they function teaches younger viewers the value of trust and teamwork.

Billy Batson is a kind kid at heart, hence why he was chosen to become Shazam, but yet he has problems with responsibility. The team doesn’t know his secret identity yet, and part of the story is more about how the lad can go from expanding his tight-knit circle of one mentor to many. He looks up to the Justice League, and is not ready to let them know he’s just a kid.

Superhero Bits: LEGO DC: Shazam! Magic and Monsters Trailer, Jim ...

The silliness typical for these films is amped up. When we’re dealing with everyone being turned into kids, a bit of that juvenile humour goes without saying. The plot is altogether not original. We’ve seen it before in many science fiction television shows. Perhaps one of the most well known is Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s episode, “Rascals” where Picard, Guinan, Ensign Ro Laren and Keiko O’Brien become tweens because of a transporter malfunction. Aliens are the reason behind why there’s a younger version of Jack O’Neill in Stargate SG-1 (“Fragile Balance”). Not everyone looks forward to reliving puberty. This animation putting Shazam into the fore of taking charge when everyone else has turned into kids is no different.

This film works well enough to keep fans of LEGO products and the DC Lego Universe entertained. It feels more like two one hour TV episodes stitched into one and it doesn’t always transition well. Also, there’s minor pacing problems. I was more invested in the latter half when Black Adam is finally put into the tale–origin story and all.

Like previous LEGO DC Universe films, we see the team having to “build” a new vehicle so they can deal with the enemy at hand. I enjoyed how everything is coming together. In LEGO DC Heroes, Flash, we met Zantanna and Doctor Fate. They should have had a role in this latest entry and sadly did not. By the end, there’s a galaxy of wonders to be found, and I won’t say who made a cameo during the credits.

When we get to see more of this mage in these direct to home video releases, I’ll be hunting the website for the appropriately matched toy set. DC’s answer to Doctor Strange is a far more cooler. Plus, he deserves a special all his own!

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