When I was a kid, I loved the TV show Shazam! It was fun to see a kid who could transform into a superhero just by saying one word. So when the trailers for a film version looked fun and funny, I was excited to see the movie. The movie has problems, however. There is a really fun, funny side to the movie that I really enjoyed. But there’s a very scary dark side to the movie that makes me question whether it’s for kids at all. The PG-13 rating doesn’t adequately signal a couple of scenes that are truly horrifying. And while I don’t expect superhero movies to make complete sense in terms of plot, there should be some consistency in the world that the movie builds. For example, Billy takes quite a while to learn how to use his powers. When those powers are transferred (in part) to others, they seem to immediately be able to control them. This wouldn’t be such a big deal except that the plot is heavily reliant on Billy’s difficulties and then becomes heavily reliant on the others not having difficulties. There are other problems like this as well. I wish the filmmakers could have trusted that making a fun, funny movie without the heavy-handed darkness (and brutality in some situations) would resonate well with audiences.
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.