Shazam was a great movie. An instant classic, and by far the best film this year featuring a superhero named Captain Marvel
Okay, that was a cheap shot, but Captain Mary Sue deserved it.
But I’m not here to trash Marvel. I write this blog to discuss a theme I noticed in the film that never got completely explored, at least not in great detail but it’s there.
It was how Billy Batson faced his own version of the Seven Deadly Sins, not the demons but the temptation himself.
Pride. Vanity naturally comes into play when Billy becomes a hero and starts busking. So proud of his abilities he accidentally sends a school bus over a bridge. And after saving it, he brags in front of the news cameras, but it’s Freddy who brings him down to earth, reminding him he caused the accident in the first place.
Gluttony. Shazam buys beer because he can, and pays the price when he drinks it. He still has the taste buds and tolerance level of a 15 year old. So he indulges in candy with Freddy instead. Not a huge sin, but obviously one that he doesn’t continue indulging in.
Lust. It was obvious when I saw it. The strip club represented the forbidden fruit, and does Billy indulge in it. A little. See Greed below. He does rob an ATM machine with the intent on spending it on seeing naked girls. But does he? We don’t really find out. From the actors, it looked like they weren’t going to go though with it. Perhaps there should have been a followup scene like in the comics where the wisdom of Solomon tells them it’s wrong, or at least unhealthy. Mary later calls him on it, so he does get chastised. This is something they could have explored if they had more time, and if censorship laws didn’t get in the way, so it was handled all right.
Anger . Billy deals with anger in a very mature way. This is a “sin” that follows him throughout, When fighting Sivana, this was brought out more and more, but never too much. He’s not the Hulk, after all. Interestingly enough, he’s not even angry enough at the school bullies to really hurt them. This was a bit inconsistent. After all, if the school bullies were vicious enough to beat up a crippled boy in their first confrontation, why did they settle for giving him a wedgie in the second?
Freddy even accuses Billly of being a bully. Perhaps this could have been brought out more. But I have no complaints.
Greed. Some of this was seen in Billy’s stealing from the ATM machine, but greed was never part of his motivation. This sin was defeated and he obviously never indulges in it again, since he’s seen working for the money later, rather than just stealing it.
Sloth. This one doesn’t apply. Though Billy does stop patrolling and stopping crime. Batman he’s not, until he gets a real threat like Sivana.
And finally, the big one: Envy. This was Sivana’s motivation. In a way, Billy has envy himself. He envies the other children because they are a happy family. But he shuts them out until he realizes that they’ve become a real family to him. Perhaps he sees that when he calls out Sivana on his feelings of envy. And he realizes that’s the sin that is empowering him.
Though it’s very subtle, the theme of seven sins is there. And this extra texture of this film is what made it great.
This is why I believe this film will be an instant classic to be rewatched for years to come.