Tag Archives: Zachary Levi

All The Legends & Lore That Inspired Shazam

20 Apr

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Amongst Baby Boomers, The Adventures of Captain Marvel defined the pulp-action superhero who would later be known as Shazam. For Gen X’ers, The Shazam/Isis Hour was a maligned television show of the mid-70s and it has its cult appeal. Jump to 1981, The Greatest American Hero showed how Stephen J. Cannell developed a fun, purposeful superhero sporting a different kind of symbol who wants to do what’s right in a cop buddy sitcom formula. The problems the character faced as the series progressed include learning how to use his powers, talking to the aliens in why he was selected and trying to keep those he loved safe.

To bring all those previous iterations of a superhero sitcom movie, Shazam, took several decades of storytelling in the television world to experiment with and the payoff is terrific. Ignoring the troubled property when it was first introduced in the ’40s to its reinvention by DC Comics, this 2019 movie borrows on many comedic tropes from the small screen as Billy Batson (Asher Angel) tries to figure out what being a superhero means. He has no book to guide him. He only has a comic book superhero obsessed foster brother Freddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) to offer tips and his own moral compass to keep him pure. The only misfire is in how nothing new is added to make it stand out.

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