The movie, best described as a "Big" superhero adventure, is being called by some the greatest DCEU film yet, better even than "Wonder Woman" and "Aquaman."
It looks like good news for the new character-focused direction of what used to be known as the DC Extended Universe, as early critical reactions to "Shazam!" have dropped and they are as filled with enthusiasm and excited exclamation points as the title itself.
The story of a young boy who becomes an adult superhero when he says the film's title -- in the comics he was the first hero to be dubbed Captain Marvel, making early 2019 the battle of Captain Marvels in the cineplexes -- has been an uncertain entry into the darker DC Universe of films with its much lighter and more childlike tone.
The original Captain Marvel comics from the 1940s were filled with talking tigers, villainous worms and an entire family of Marvels, including an overweight, middle-aged, balding Uncle Marvel. Could a modern film possibly capture that whimsy and still appeal to a wider audience raised on the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
This film is still a month out, hitting theaters April 5, so it's a little unusual for it to get screened so early. But the likely strategy is that DC and Warner Bros. were hoping for some good word of mouth to build buzz for this unlikely film.
And then they set their embargo for social reactions to expire just as "Captain Marvel" was launching its preview screenings. That's bold confidence right there. And it looks like their faith in the quality of their product was well-founded.
Critics seem to have absolutely adored it, from its childlike wonder to its genuine emotional heart the film is looking to continue DC's much-needed winning streak. The most common reaction from critics seems to be a sense of joy that pours out of the screen and into the audience, which is exactly what the original Captain Marvel was all about.
Check out this early enthusiasm for DC's "Shazam!" as we await its official Rotten Tomatoes score. We're predicting a pretty high number.
#Shazam was damn near PERFECT in my book. My FAVORITE DC movie (DCEU? What are we saying now?) by far. Pure of heart, incredibly funny, full of in-jokes and references. Brought me a childlike joy to watch. This role was MADE for @ZacharyLevi... & Jack & Asher & the entire cast pic.twitter.com/rVrxjcwvCe
#Shazam was shockingly good! Reminds of me of when kids' movies were legitimately scary (in a good way). An absolute blast from start to finish, full of heart and hilarity. My face hurt from smiling so much. Amazing deep cut DC references in there too. pic.twitter.com/ZXJOI5lcsM
Shazam! is the superhero film that you never knew you needed. Zachary Levi was born to play this role. Ridiculously entertaining & non-stop fun from start to finish. Loved every character & all of the pop culture references. This is what going to the movies is all about. #Shazam pic.twitter.com/SxCcCTy2ZB
Shazam! is another win for DC. Sure, the humor & action you'd expect from a superhero film are there, but #ShazamMovie stands out because of the emotional, family story at its center. I had some small issues with the hero/villain aspects but the family stuff is dynamic & powerful pic.twitter.com/FYM3QVp5hu
In fact, I'm gonna go out on a limb and call #Shazam my favorite DCEU movie. It is really well balanced, gets the magical wonder of the character and his world right, and somehow never feels like it's trying too hard.
#Shazam is parts Home Alone, parts Big, a crowd pleasing family-friendly joy-filled wish-fulfillment superhero film which gets a bit over the top and cheesy at times. It's fun and funny, and I was surprised at how much it wears it's heart on its sleeve.
#Shazam is such a brilliant movie. It's so tremendously fun, and incredibly scary at some points (thanks, David F. Sandberg!). It blows away every expectation and is my new favorite DC movie. pic.twitter.com/DlpymCukTP
#Shazam is an absolute delight! Super vibrant, tons of heart & a great fun-loving vibe. The family element is a big charmer & so is the humor that comes with watching @ZacharyLevi explore his new powers. Said this after IT but it's worth repeating - @Jgrazerofficial is a star.
DC is finally building a solid run: #Shazam is a delight! Its familiar origin structure is forgivable because of all the new it brings to the table - primarily it's gleeful, childlike enthusiasm, & heartfelt perspective on family. It's also the role Zachary Levi was born to play. pic.twitter.com/5zXtfFDBGm
#Shazam is big, goofy, lovable, and unlike anything DC has done before. Definitely in the vein of Tom Hanks' BIG, but with superhero action & lots of Batman and Superman references. I dug this film so much I wanted to give it a bear hug at the end. DC's movies keep getting better pic.twitter.com/WQJgo61gMg
#Shazam is a laugh-out-loud funny romp that captures the innocence and challenge of being both a superhero and a kid at once. It's clever, fun and heroic with an obvious nod to 80s classics like Big, Ghostbusters, The Goonies etc. @joblocom @ShazamMovie
Shazam showcases Zachary Levi's charm and charisma as an actor and has a heartfelt and inspiring message at its core. Despite the dark tone in parts, it ends up bringing about lots of laughs and fun for all. #shazam #shazammovie pic.twitter.com/nyK1fWgykE
#Shazam is a super-powered BIG & I LOVED every second of it. A colorful, vibrant, vital addition to the DCEU. Vivid character-driven action, heartrending central relationships & fully earned, totally satisfying emotional moments. Super hilarious. Super thrilling. Super awesome! pic.twitter.com/KelHZ5YzFq
There are so many hilarious and absolutely clever moments in #Shazam that I lost track. There's no other superhero movie like this in existence. You never feel been-there-done-that with this one, even if some of it falls into the realm of stereotypical character tropes. @joblocom
The #Shazam social embargo dropped, so I can say that I really liked this movie! Lots of laughs, some real heart, and a great classic superhero story. I think audiences are gonna love it and DC fans are REALLY gonna love it. Unquestionably atop the DCEU with Wonder Woman for me. pic.twitter.com/9JsGPSJU6Z
I absolutely loved #Shazam! It's my favorite DC film yet. Zachary Levi as Shazam was perfect casting and the kids absolutely steal the show. It's an amazing family movie with dope fight scenes and great humor! You guys are going to love it. pic.twitter.com/pZd5oORVA3
#Shazam is a BLAST! @ZacharyLevi is perfect as Earth's Mightiest Mortal and the film has such heart. Very unique take on genre that doesn't take itself too seriously & embraces the weirdness of comics. Mindblowing easter eggs for hardcore fans! 👊⚡️ pic.twitter.com/PbLGNXCkKy
The #Shazam score by Benjamin Wallfisch harkens back to a John Williams Superman type hero score, which is fitting given the material. It plays well throughout, especially the ending, which is sure to bring audiences back again and again for…reasons. @ShazamMovie @joblocom
Zachary Levi was born to play #Shazam He delivers lots of laughs alongside co-star Jack Dylan Grazer. The film packs some big surprises for comics buffs and offers enough mainstream appeal to win over new fans. Shazam's strengths definitely outweigh its weaknesses. pic.twitter.com/kfFMW01jfO
I've seen #Shazam. I LOVED Shazam. It's an absolute blast, very much carried by a strong cast of kid actors and an awesome performance from @ZacharyLevi. There's so much heart and humor in this film -- not to mention a positive message and great twists. It's a needed burst of joy