LONDON – In an era defined by social media, “Shazam,” the latest teenage superhero to hit the big screen, documents his feats that soon become viral, the cast told EFE ahead of its launch on Wednesday.
“Shazam” tells the story of Billy Batson, a 14-year-old foster child who is suddenly empowered with a magic ability: the gift of being able to transform into an adult superhero after uttering the word “SHAZAM!”
“It’s about a 14-year-old boy who has a pure heart and therefore a wizard gives him the magic ability to transform into a superhero just by saying a word,” actor Zachary Levi told EFE in an interview.
“That is unlike any other superhero or superhero universe that I know of (...) and because it’s a 14 year old that is in an adult looking super-powered body but is still 14 inside that means there’s going to be tons of humor,” added Levi, who plays the adult version of Batson.
Levi was of the opinion that this was an innovation in the sector because the superhero, who is connected to a teenager, allows for a very different characterization.
“We are not reinventing the wheel, I just think we are providing people a slightly different take on the superhero genre for sure, and it’s a really fun one,” Levi said.
English actor Mark Strong agreed with this point.
“I think the humor that they have injected into Shazam is an innovation,” Strong told EFE.
“I think it’s unusual that you get a superhero who not only has powers that he’s unaware of, but that he doesn’t know how to use them when he does find out,” the actor who interprets the villain in the movie continued. “That of itself is a new idea and very funny.”
Strong, who played Sinestro the villain in “Green Lantern” (2011), recalled that the reception of the big cloud villain in Martin Campbell’s movie was too intangible for audiences.
“I don’t think you can make them (villains) too unusual, but when you do them, you have got to make sure that they are a match so that they are as funny or as brilliant or as capable as the superhero is; the villain needs to be the same, so Sivana actually has the same kind of powers as Shazam,” Strong added.
As the narrative unfolds a critique of contemporary society emerges, although it is paired throughout with lashings of humor directed at a young audience.
With each battle, passersby prioritize documenting the clashes on their phones and uploading them to social media over intervening and helping, hence the need for a selfless superhero.
“That’s kind of what’s happening in the world today, everyone is more concerned with uploading things to Instagram and Twitter than sometimes perhaps being in the moment,” David Sandberg, the director of the movie, told EFE.
“Shazam” will be released worldwide on Friday, April 5.