SHAZAM!, opening on April 5, is the next big movie in the DC superhero universe. It has a really appealing and simple hook: It’s basically the Tom Hanks movie BIG as a comic book movie. Asher Angel plays Billy, an outcast teen who is granted the ability to transform into a powerful superhero (Zachary Levi) when he says the word “Shazam!”
Unfortunately, grown-up powers come with grown-up problems, and it’s not long before our young hero attracts the attention of a mysterious villain named Dr. Sivana. The trailers have mostly focused on Billy as he hilariously learns the ropes of being Shazam, leaving movie fans in the dark about the sinister Dr. Sivana. Who is this guy, and what does he want with Shazam? We’ll tell you!
But First, the Story
Billy Batson is an orphaned 14-year-old kid who just moved in with a new foster family (his seventh!) and their five adopted children. Played by Asher Angel of “Andi Mack” fame, Billy is a bit of an outsider. He finds a kindred spirit in his new foster brother, Freddy (IT’s Jack Dylan Grazer) — a superhero superfan with a disability and a great sense of humor. One day, after getting in a fight with some fellow students, Billy hops on the subway and finds himself transported to another realm, where he encounters a powerful wizard (Djimon Hounsou).
The wizard chooses Billy as his “champion” and gives him the ability to transform into a grown-up superhero whenever he says the phrase “Shazam!” With Freddy’s comic book knowledge, Billy learns how to master his superpowers. Oh, and another thing: SHAZAM! takes place in the same universe as the other DC movies, where heroes like Wonder Woman and Batman are very real. In fact, the new film is set just a couple of years after the events of JUSTICE LEAGUE.
With Great Power …
It might be a line from a Marvel movie, but it’s relevant to every superhero’s journey: With great power comes great responsibility, and with every hero comes a villain to fight him. Enter Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, played by the great character actor Mark Strong (KINGSMAN). We’ve only seen Sivana briefly in the trailers for SHAZAM!, but he plays a crucial role in the film.
Based on the DC Comics character, Sivana is a brilliant and successful inventor and the head of Sivana Industries. When he was a kid, Sivana was also transported to the other realm to meet the wizard Shazam. Unlike Billy, however, he was not chosen to become the wizard’s champion. In the years since, Sivana has dedicated his life and skills to obtaining superpowers through science, but his grudge against the wizard has led him down a much darker path.
The Bad Guy Has Friends, Too
Billy isn’t the only one with a helpful friend (or two). If Shazam were just fighting Sivana, it would be a piece of cake, but his new archnemesis has help in the form of the “Seven Deadly Sins.” This is a team of superpowered demons trapped in statues and guarded by the wizard Shazam. The demons — Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony and Sloth — break free of their prisons and team up with Sivana to fight the young superhero.
Faced with not one, but eight powerful enemies, Billy will have to summon immense courage and strength if he hopes to save himself — and the people he cares about.
SHAZAM! powers up at AMC® on April 5.