Zachery Levi spent obscure moments for years in the Marvel Universe as the bearded one… Fandral, one of Thor’s closest Asgardians. But this super nerd may have found a home in the DC Universe, and they need him whether they know this or not?
Zachery Levi has pedigree geek-dom due to his success with NBC/Universal’s “Chuck”. This casting may be the first step toward making Shazam one of the best recent DC efforts. The role required a light touch to handle the required work in his portrayal of a kid in a grown-up hero’s body.
Not only did Levi jump ship from Marvel’s universe but Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, Amistad) who was depicted as Korath in the MCU was well placed as the ominous wizard who transfers his power to the young Billy.
Shazam could have come off as a “Big” sized version of “Superman”. However, the pairing of Asher Angel as the young Billy Batson and Levi as the grown Shazam was a win for the new Aquaman-styled, lighter-side of the DC universe. The casting could have been laughable instead of humorous but I believe the gamble paid off.
Billy’s character would have been lost —-[TRAILER- Why so dark?]—without a good pairing in Freddie Freeman portrayed by Jack Dylan Grazer (IT, IT: Chapter 2).
The Freddie character was the largest child role within the Shazam storyline. Masterfully played by Grazer who lived up to his height from his portrayal in “IT”.
The one requirement for any superhero film is the connection between the hero and the anti-hero; however, Mark Strong (Kingsman) as the nemesis Dr. Sivana lacks the connective thread that the foster brothers possess. They have, and leave, the audience with a hurried and passive portion of the sub-plot. Which leaves the climax of the film with a lackluster final boss fight.
An interesting direction could have been to abandon the desire to tell an anti-hero sub-plot. Leaving Billy with a better connection to his foster family than Dr. Sivana had to the anti-hero sub-plot. What would have been wrong with a slow reveal of Billy’s powers and the growth of Shazam with his new foster family?