Action Adventure

Review: ‘Shazam!’ is a Big Time Blast of Fun on 4K Blu-ray

July 23, 2019Ben MK

Call it the Marvel Cinematic Universe's brooding younger sibling, but the DC Extended Universe is perhaps best known for having a generally dour overall tone. That, however, began to change with Aquaman, and now with Shazam!, the DCEU has fully embraced its comedic side.

Starring Zachary Levi as the titular superhero, Shazam! follows 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel), an orphan who finds himself transformed into an awkward, super-powered, adult version of himself in order to save the world from the villainous Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong). Yet, despite being the franchise's most lighthearted entry by a mile, it's clear that the filmmakers have also invested the time and effort into making these characters relatable, with the young cast doing a superlative job holding their own against their grown-up counterparts, who are tasked with keeping the story in line with the prototypical superhero movie framework.

That said, Shazam!'s occasional reliance on comic book archetypes by no means undecuts its effectiveness. Let Gotham have its Dark Knight and Metropolis have its Man of Steel. Shazam is the people's champion — and he's here to remind moviegoers that you can have your cape and still have fun being a kid too.

Shazam! electrifies on 4K, thanks to a terrific technical presentation that compares quite favorably to the DCEU Ultra HD releases that have come before it. Picture quality is nothing short of top notch, with bright, vibrant HDR colors that pop nicely off the screen, while image detail (such as the texturing on Shazam's costume) is never lacking. At the same time, the included Dolby Atmos sound mix does a great job immersing viewers in the experience, from crackles of lightning to the punches and kicks of super-powered scuffles.

Warner's two-disc 4K release includes a digital copy and a Blu-ray copy of the film. There are no special features on the 4K disc, but the following extras can be found on the Blu-ray disc:

  • Superhero Hooky (4:05) - An exclusive motion comic.
  • The Magical World of Shazam! (27:09) - A look at what director David F. Sandberg brings to the movie, the pre-visualization process, Zachary Levi's physical transformation for the role, shooting in the Canadian winter, the costume and set design, the stunts, the visual effects and more.
  • Super Fun Zac (3:19) - The cast and crew talk about how fun it is working with Zachary Levi.
  • Deleted & Alternate Scenes (37:27) - Sixteen scenes, playable with or without audio introductions from director David F. Sandberg ("Wizard Prologue," "Alternate Beginning," "Billy on the Subway," "Alternate Intro into Group House," "Alternate Dr. Crosby and Dr. Sivana Interviews," "Billy Sneaks Out," "New School with Darla," "Sivana Christmas Party," "Shazam and Darla Tea Party," "Alternate Lightning with my Hands," "Additional Montage Beats," "Freddy Hung from Locker," "Alternate Carnival Fight," "Freddy Flies by Airplane," "Family on Thrones" and "Alternate Ending Family Beats").
  • Gag Reel (3:16)
  • Who is Shazam? (5:42) - A look at the comic book origins of Shazam and his arch-nemesis, Dr. Sivana.
  • Carnival Scene Study (10:23) - A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film's climactic action set piece.
  • Shazamily Values (6:06) - The cast reflect on their roles.

Shazam! is available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as of July 16th, 2019. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 2 hrs. 12 min.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on April 5th, 2019.

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