What was once just one of many superhero movies languishing in development hell is now being brought to life. Last week, DC Comics movie Shazam! kicked off production. Shazam, previously known as Captain Marvel, has been leading his own comic book adventures for nearly 80 years, and following all those tales and his TV and video game appearances, now the character finally gets to shine on the big screen, with Asher Angel playing the young Billy Batson, Zachary Levi playing Shazam and Mark Strong playing main antagonist Dr. Sivana. Now that principal photography is underway in Toronto, Canada, Warner Bros has released an official Shazam! plot synopsis that thankfully reveals that the movie will be hitting the same classic beats as the original comic book stories.
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson's (Angel) case, by shouting out one word---SHAZAM!---this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart---inside a ripped, godlike body---Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he'll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong).
Along with this synopsis, Shazam!'s main cast was officially confirmed, including This is Us star Ron Cephas Jones being brought on to play The Wizard. It was also mentioned that the story will be primarily set in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is where Billy Batson's New 52 reintroduction took place. While it will be a little while longer until we learn what's in store for Billy in Shazam!, it's good to hear that that the movie will be staying true to the spirit of the Shazam mythos, i.e. following a young boy who can turn into a mighty adult superhero. That being said, I suspect that in order to stop what ever sinister plot Dr. Sivana has cooking, Billy will indeed need to skip his social studies test.
Following four months after Aquaman's release, Shazam! looks like it will be an especially unique entry to the DC film franchise, blending the classic Captain Marvel material with the New 52 changes, like Billy Batson living with a foster family. It's also worth noting that although Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is no longer expected to appear as Black Adam in Shazam!, the Hollywood superstar is attached as an executive producer, so he's keeping a close eye on how the first cinematic venture into the Shazam world unfolds before the Black Adam solo movie is made.