SHAZAM! is a 2019 superhero comedy movie based on the DC Comics superhero of the same name (once known as Captain Marvel). It is the seventh film to be set in the DC Extended Universe. Unlike the other entries of that setting which are produced by Warner Bros.' main unit, it is produced by their subsidiary New Line Cinema. It was written by Henry Gayden and directed by David F. Sandberg, of Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation fame.
Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is a 14-year-old foster kid who wants nothing to do with his new group home in Philadelphia — all he wants is to find his mother after they were separated at a country fair when Billy was a young child. But one day, after defending his foster brother Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) from a pair of bullies, he finds himself summoned by the ancient wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou). In need of a successor, the wizard grants Billy the ability to transform into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi).
Now endowed with amazing magic powers, Billy enlists Freddy's aid in learning the ropes of superheroics, reveling in the fun he can have with his powers and the fame it brings him. But it's not all fun and games, as Billy soon finds himself targeted by the demonic forces of the Seven Deadly Sins and their sinister champion, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).
The Captain Marvel/Shazam mythos has been in the comics since the 1940s; however, the movie is actually an adaptation of Geoff Johns' Shazam! (2012) reboot in 2012 that was a backup feature in the Justice League comic, and subsequently collected into its own graphic novel. Although Johns' story clearly draws from Shazam's rich history, it is a fresh take on the character and it is this interpretation that serves as the basis for the movie.
Shazam!, the 70's TV show, is another take on the character, but based from the then-current comics, and does not share any continuity with the film. Ditto for the 1941 film serial under his original name, Captain Marvel. Because the Marvel Family had been written out of the 1974 series and came after the 1941 one, it marks the first live-action appearances of Freddy Freeman and Mary Bromfield (played by Grace Caroline Currey) as well as the later expansion-team members of the family.
The film was released on April 5, 2019. A sequel, SHAZAM! Fury of the Gods, was released on March 17, 2023. The movie Black Adam is part prequel and part sequel (while not directly referencing this film or characters), with Dwayne Johnson as the title character and having already executive produced SHAZAM!.
Previews: Trailer 1 Trailer 2.
Shazam contains examples of:
- 11th-Hour Ranger: During the battle at the carnival, Billy figures out the best way to protect the foster kids and give himself an edge is to give them access to his powers. He has them repeat the same process he underwent to become Shazam and they all gain his power set too. This gives everyone a fighting chance against the Sins as well as allowing his friends to keep the other six Sins busy at the carnival while he separates Sivana from the group and tries to draw out the seventh and final demon.note
- Aborted Arc: We never find out what decision Mary finally made with regards to her Cal Tech admission.
- Adaptation Amalgamation: While taking much of its foundation from the New 52 Geoff Johns-penned miniseries, the film also includes some pre-Flashpoint elements of Captain Marvel.
- Adaptation Deviation:
- A big logistical weakness of changing the hero's name from Captain Marvel to Shazam is that he can't introduce himself without transforming back to Billy. The New 52 comic directly addressed this by setting up the requirement that Billy has to say the magic word "with purpose, with belief, with good intentions" to invoke the transformation and showed several times where Billy or Captain Marvel says "Shazam" without changing. The movie adaptation has, for the time being, removed that safeguard.
- In the New 52 comic, Shazam shares power with his foster siblings by casting forth lightning at them while saying "Shazam" which transforms them into the Marvel family. Later, he improperly casts a spell on a tiger which causes the Marvel family to weaken and eventually transform back into their normal selves (without saying Shazam), implying the Marvel family was temporary. In the movie, Shazam holds the Wizard's staff and calls for an "all hands on deck", after his foster siblings all take hold and say "Shazam", they are transformed into the Marvel family. Shazam then breaks the staff, implying the power transfer is permanent.
- In the New 52 comic, the two bullies, Brett and Burke, who assault Freddy and chase Billy into the subway, are shown to be the sons of Mr. Bryer, a rich douche-bag who makes donations to the school and uses his wealth to intimidate the principal into turning a blind-eye to his sons' delinquent behavior. Mr. Bryer is such a wretched human being that the Seven Deadly Sins are able to make him their human host without being invited in. In the movie, his character appears uncredited and has no significant screen time establishing his identity which leaves the audience confused on how the Breyer [sic] brothers are getting away with such repugnant behavior and invoking Refuge in Audacity and Adults Are Useless.
- Adaptational Badass: The New 52 comic included both Dr. Sivana and Black Adam. The adaptation removes Black Adam to make Sivana the primary antagonist and gives him superpowers, including flight, super-strength, invulnerability, and able to shoot bolts of electricity from his hands, thanks to being imbued with power by the Eye of Sin.
- Adaptational Location Change: In the comics, Shazam's traditional hometown is Fawcett City, located in the Midwestern United States. The DCEU film instead has Philadelphia as the stomping grounds for the Red Cyclone.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Billy Batson has black hair in the original comics, but has brown hair in the film.
- Adults Are Useless: None of the staff stop the Breyer Brothers' bullying nor even punish them — beating a kid with a crutch should've got them expelled, let alone hitting him hard enough with their truck to leave a scratch on the paint, right in front of the school in front of dozens of witnesses.
- All for Nothing: After Billy spent over a decade searching for his mother, when they finally reunite he learns that after being lost at the fair and then found by the police his mother decided to leave him with them because she was too overwhelmed with her own issues regarding her parents kicking her out of the house and her husband walking out of the marriage. Ultimately, she felt Billy would receive better care from the police than she could provide. Billy tearfully walks away to return to his foster home.
- Alliterative Name: Movie characters: Billy Batson, Freddy Freeman, Darla Dudley, Pedro Peña. Cast member: Asher Angel playing young Billy Batson.
- Almost Dead Guy: By the time Billy is summoned, the Wizard is on the verge of death due to a combination of his own old age and being attacked by Sivana moments prior. He survives long enough to hastily explain the situation to the boy and, in a last action of desperation, forces him to take his powers, crumbling into dust immediately afterwards.
- An Aesop: Sometimes, your biological family may not be the right family for you. The right family is the ones who genuinely treat you with care and affection.
- Ancient Grome: The Wizard Shazam tells Billy that Zeus, Atlas, Achilles, Hercules, and Mercury are some of the beings providing him power. The first three are Greek figures, while the latter two are Roman figures (their Greek equivalents would be Heracles and Hermes).
- And Starring: Djimon Hounsou gets the honor in the credits.
- Animal Motifs: Even as a small child, Billy has always been drawn to tigers. At the fair, he wanted the tiger plush doll; as a teen, his backpack is emblazoned with a roaring tiger patch; the links attaching Shazam's cape to his shoulders have tigers on them; and in the climax, he gives a tiger plush to a scared little girl to reassure her. All of these are a reference to Captain Marvel/Shazam's longtime supporting character Tawky Tawny, an anthropomorphic tiger.
- An Asskicking Christmas: Takes place shortly before Christmas, including a very stressed (and distressed) mall Santa.
- And the Adventure Continues: In a deleted scene, Billy and his foster siblings, having gained their powers, decide to take action after seeing a hostage situation on the news.
- Arc Number: Seven comes up a lot throughout the film.
- The Seven Deadly Sins, obviously.
- The Council of Seven Wizards and their seven thrones.
- By the end of the film, we have been exposed to seven Champions, Billy and his five siblings as well as the Fallen Champion
- There are seven symbols needed to enter the Rock of Eternity and it must be repeated seven times.
- When Billy, as Shazam, and Freddy went to a home realtor office to try to purchase a lair, the realtor asks how many rooms they'll need. Billy wants one room while Freddy wants seven.
- When Billy meets his mother at her apartment, she lives on the seventh floor and her room number is 707.
- Mister Mind mentions the Seven Realms to Sivana.
- Meta example: the film happens to be the seventh DCEU film to be released.
- Arc Symbol:
- Billy has his compass from the fair, while Doctor Sivana has his magic eight ball. Both of them feel they can't turn to adults for help and instead seek guidance from their trinkets.
- The stuffed tiger at the fair. Besides being a Mythology Gag to Talky Tawny from the comics, it signifies Billy's journey, when he first asks his mother to get him the tiger as a boy. Later on, after he realizes that his mother deliberately abandoned him at the fair, during his fight with Sivana at that very same fair, he finds an identical tiger toy and gives it to a scared little girl to comfort her.
- Arc Words: "All hands on deck."
- Artistic License: Given that the setting of the film is established as Philadelphia, the scene where Billy buys beer from a convenience store in his adult Shazam body is unlikely. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's rules regarding the sale of alcohol are some of the strictest in the US and the red tape required to obtain a retail liquor license means that generally only dedicated beer distributors and the largest gas stations and grocery store chains put forth the effort to get them, and even then a portion of their facilities have to be dedicated towards seating to qualify as a "restaurant". Therefore, it is doubtful that a small convenience store like the one Billy and Freddy visit would have actually had alcohol for sale.
- Asshole Victim: Sivana's father and brother are both thoroughly unpleasant and unsympathetic figures, so when they are killed by the Sins, the audience is unlikely to feel bad for them.
- Atrocious Alias:
- Billy laughs at first when the Wizard reveals "Shazam" is the name he has to say but after shouting for him to say it Billy obliges. However, the "alias" part is played with, because while "Shazam" is treated as his superhero name in promos and merchandise, the movie instead makes a Running Gag out of the matter with Freddy coming up with a series of terrible, terrible superhero names for him... everything except "Shazam".
- After discovering Billy has the Shock and Awe superpower, Freddy tries to introduce him as "Thundercrack". Billy immediately objects because it "sounds like a butt thing."
- Freddy later dramatically introduces Billy's superhero form to a rather attractive lady as "Captain Sparklefingers". Billy is quick to tell her that it isn't.
- Badass Boast: Delivered in The Stinger by Mister Mind after Sivana asks "What in God's name...?" and he replies "I named the gods, Doctor, not the other way around."
- Badass Bystander: The first crime Billy stops was actually already thwarted by the potential victim, who maced the mugger before he could even take her purse.
- Badass Longcoat: Here, Dr. Sivana trades his white lab coat for a rather stylish leather duster.
- Bad "Bad Acting": Billy when he attempts to hijack a police car to find information about his mother's supposed address ("Walkie-talkie? How old are you kid?"), and Freddy when he tries to prevent the Vasquezes from seeing Shazam. Billy does it again when he transforms into Shazam at school and pretends to be Freddy and Billy's father in order to sneak out of the school.
- Bad Santa: A mall Santa promises a young girl that Santa is there for her all year 'round, then ditches her as he flees in terror when a Shazam and Sivana crash through the mall's roof. The mall Santa reappears at the end, forcing his way into a TV news crew interview after witnessing the climactic battle. At least 90% of his dialogue is bleeped-out.
- When a young Sivana is teleported back into his dad's car, he desperately tries to open the door and go back to the Rock of Eternity, causing his dad to become distracted and swerve into the path of an oncoming car... only to miss it at the last moment. Once they're stopped and Sivana's father yells at him "you nearly killed us!" it's subverted when another car immediately T-Bones them.
- Billy knocks on the door of a woman he thinks is his mother, explaining how he's the son she lost...only for the door to be opened by a middle-aged black woman.
- The movie teases but doesn't deliver a reference to the character's original name, when Freddy introduces a transformed Billy as Captain... Sparklefingers.
- This interaction is itself kicked off when Billy and Freddy hear a high-pitched feminine scream and rush to see what looks like a woman getting mugged. When they get up close, they realize that the woman already has things under control, and the scream they heard was from the mugger after she pepper-sprayed him.
- After removing the Eye of Sin from Sivana, Shazam holds it up and says "What's that? I can have anything I've ever wanted?..." When Shazam moves the orb closer to his eye the others start to panic and yell at him to stop. Shazam then replies "Ha! You should hear yourself. What? Did you think I was going to put a demon ball in my head? That's disgusting."
- Beam-O-War: During the climactic fight, Shazam and Sivana's lightning bolts collide and push against each other as the pair charge.
- Berserk Button:
- Billy was willing to let the bullies beat up a helpless Freddy and walk away, until one of them mocks Freddy for not having a mom.
- The Sin Envy avoids getting directly involved until Billy calls him a cowardly runt who's too afraid and weak to fight.
- Better than a Bare Bulb: Freddy is so knowledgeable in superhero tropes that a lot of levity comes from him lampshading and trying to predict the use of those tropes in this movie.
- Big Bad: Thaddeus Sivana is the cause of the villainy and conflict here with the Seven Deadly Sins serving as his minions. Although they are crucially responsible for corrupting him into villainy, they obey his orders.
- Big Brother Instinct: All of the Vasquez foster kids have this for each other:
- Everyone towards Darla, the youngest. Freddy is quick to try to cheer her up after Billy accidentally upsets her, Mary holds her close the whole time Sivana is holding them hostage, and when Sivana orders the Sins to kill her first, all the other kids struggle and yell for him to stop while Billy quickly submits.
- Mary, in general, takes care of and looks after all of her siblings this way. When Sivana arrives at their house, her first response is to shield Eugene and Pedro (who are standing behind her), and she also shoots at him with a carny gun to stop him from drowning Billy.
- Though Billy is younger than at least Mary and and maybe Pedro in his normal form and the same age as Freddy, he particularly falls into this role in his Shazam form, in which he's older than all of them. He's willing to submit to Sivana in exchange for their safety because "it's what a good brother would do." It also shows up when they're escaping from Sivana and he makes sure they all keep up and don't fall behind, and also after rescuing Mary from being hit by a truck (not realizing it was her until afterwards), wherein he sees that she's upset and tries, in his own socially-awkward way, to comfort her. Even in his teenage form, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss it moment when the Breyers start menacing Freddy again (right before the latter claims to know Shazam personally), and Billy instinctively moves closer and looks ready to defend him.
- Eugene gets a moment of Little Brother Instinct during Brett's and Burke's bullying: they have Freddy on the ground, Billy jumps in to help, and he gets knocked down too. Eugene steals the bullies' nunchuks to try to defend his brothers, though he only succeeds in hitting himself upside the head with them. Still, it serves as an effective distraction for Billy to get away.
- Big Damn Reunion: Subverted. Billy fully expects his reunion with his mother to go like this. Unfortunately, she does not share the sentiment and even makes a point to refuse a hug from him.
- Bloodless Carnage: At one point one of the Sins bites a man's head off and throws him through a skyscraper window without a drop of blood. In fact the only two times blood appears in the movie are when Sivana first punches Shazam and a tiny bit of blood is seen in one of his nostrils, and when Sivana takes a small scratch to the back of the head after one of the kids throws a batarang at him (and that heals almost instantly).
- Board to Death: Thaddeus Sivana has the whole board of Sivana Industries, his brother and father included, killed by the Seven Deadly Sins.
- Both Sides Have a Point: Freddy gets mad at Billy because he seems to take his Shazam powers for granted and mess around being a showoff and coerce people into giving money instead of actually using his powers to help people, while Billy rightfully calling out Freddy for wanting Shazam to stick around with him for selfish reasons that could've risked exposing his true identity and that he needs some personal time as well.
- Bowdlerise: On TNT, Dr. Sivana's "What a shithole" line is re-dubbed as "What a stinkhole".
- Brand X: After dispatching robbers in a store, Billy and Freddy buy and drink sodas from a brand named "Cola". Subverted later on when they're shown hitting a Dr Pepper vending machine.
- Broken Pedestal: Billy is left heartbroken when he realises that his mom hadn't lost him or been looking for him. She'd left him on purpose because she couldn't take care of him and even now doesn't want to be part of his life.
- Brutal Honesty: Billy's social worker point-blank tells him that, even if he did manage to track his mother down, it's apparent that she made no effort to find him. She's completely right about this.
- Bullet Catch: Mary tries to shoot out Sivana's "Eye of Sin" with a gallery rifle, only for Sivana to catch the shot.
- The Bullies: Brett and Burke Breyer hit Freddy with their truck then brutally pummel him on the ground. When Billy intervenes they then chase him into a subway station where Billy narrowly escapes by getting onto a subway car just as the doors close.
- Bully Brutality: The bullies don't just beat up a crippled kid, they outright side-swipe him with their truck and use the fact that the impact scratched the paint as a reason for the beating.
- Bully Hunter: Billy stands up to the Breyer Brothers in defense of Freddy, with the implication that this is why he gets chosen. Later, he gets further revenge by trashing their car. When Billy's family later becomes the Shazam Family, Freddy "saves" the bullies from the collapsing Ferris wheel by carrying them to safety... via double suitcase-wedgies.
- The guy in a Santa Claus costume. He has the unfortunate luck of being caught in the middle of the two fights between Shazam and Dr. Sivana, all in the same day.
- Batman in the animated ending credits becomes the butt of humiliation from the SHAZAM! family.
- By the Power of Grayskull!: Billy Batson turns into a superhero by saying the word "Shazam". Lampshaded by Freddy referring to it as "verbally triggered body-manipulation properties".
- Billy's story began with him wanting a toy tiger from a carnival game - when he faces Dr Sivana again in the present, he's at another carnival and comes across a similar toy tiger again. This time he decides that someone else needs it more.
- When he first attempts to have lunch with him, Freddy asks if Billy would prefer flight or invisibility. Later, when first testing out his abilities, Billy and Freddy test for those exact same powers.
- After Freddy tells the Breyers that he can get the new superhero to show up during lunch, one of them snarks that Superman could show up for dessert. When Shazam does show up at the very end to the cafeteria, he brings Superman along as an added surprise.
- When Freddy fails to have Shazam show up for lunch the Breyers dish out suitcase wedgies on him. In the climax, Superhero Freddy rescues the hapless Breyers from a toppling Ferris wheel...by giving them suitcase wedgies.
- The Cameo:
- Superman appears in the final scene as a callback to Billy promising (and failing) to make Freddy look cool to their school while in his superhero form. However, he's not portrayed by Henry Cavill, and is pointedly only shown from the neck-down in the scene.
- The social worker at the start of the film played by Andi Osho plays the same role in David F. Sandberg's previous film Lights Out (2016).
- Cape Snag: Wrath grabs the cape of Billy-as-Shazam and inflicts a Metronomic Man Mashing on him in the climax.
- Captain Superhero: In a nod to Billy's original superhero name, Freddy christens him Captain...Sparklefingers.
- Car Cushion: After Sivana punches him into the air, Billy lands on the hood of a police car.
- Casting Gag: John Glover appears as the emotionally abusive billionaire father of a bald DC Comics supervillain. Smallville's Lionel Luthor, anyone?
- Caught Up in a Robbery: Billy (as Shazam) and Freddy head to a convenience store to buy beer now that Billy looks like an adult and is likely to not be carded. Two robbers enter and begin to hold up the store. However, instead of being roped in, Freddy encourages Billy to directly intervene so he can film his heroic feat and post it online. Billy does and learns he is completely bulletproof and then proceeds to toss the two robbers out a window.
- Celebrity Paradox: The sheer number of pop culture references in the movie expands this trope to previously unseen levels for the DC Extended Universe. See for yourself.
- Central Theme: Inadequacy, both on a personal level (feeling incomplete and like you're not good enough) and on a larger scale (people just generally not being as good as one might hope). Self-sufficiency versus belonging.
- Changeling Fantasy: Billy is sure that his birth mother is amazing and all he has to do is find her to fix everything in his life. It becomes inverted when it's Billy's biological mother who's living a mundane, less-than-stellar life and Billy who is (secretly) extraordinary for being a superhero.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The bullet which hit Superman. Billy steals it early on and uses it later to prove to Freddy that he is Shazam when he has no idea how to revert to his young self.
- The Batarang replica. When Shazam's siblings try to fight Dr. Sivana, a cut made by the thrown weapon makes them realize that Dr. Sivana can only be hurt if all Seven Deadly Sins leave his body. This becomes key to defeating Dr. Sivana, as they spend the rest of the film trying to figure out a way to separate all seven demons from their host.
- Chekhov's Lecture: Before officially giving his powers to Billy, the wizard Shazam mentions he couldn't share his powers with his siblings because they had already died. When Billy remembers this conversation during the Final Battle, he has the idea to share his powers with his foster siblings.
- The Chosen Zero: In a twist, The Wizard Shazam had been searching for a new champion for decades and had selected hundreds of people trying to determine their worthiness. When the Seven Deadly Sins are released, the Wizard was forced to go with his very next test subject, Billy, due to a lack of time. Billy for his part has to confront the idea that he really wasn't worthy and is just a selfish kid given superpowers.
- The Chooser of the One: The Wizard Shazam, leader and last surviving member of the Council of Seven. As his power is fading, threatening the release of the Seven Deadly Sins, he is constantly seeking out a successor to wield his power and guard the Rock of Eternity. He even has a spell with the specific function of searching for a worthy soul. Deconstructed in that his pure of heart criteria was so strict that he was unable to ever find a worthy champion because Humans Are Flawed and was forced into a not perfect but hopefully good enough scenario. In addition his harsh method of evaluation caused Sivana, who failed the test when he was a child, to hold a grudge against him such that he ends up releasing the Seven Sins.
- Cluster Bleep-Bomb: The man in a Santa Claus costume interrupts a news broadcast and breaks into a passionate speech on how Shazam's battle against Sivana was bleeping awesome.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The group home kids have color-coded jackets: Billy and Mary's are red, Freddy's is blue, Eugene's is grey, Darla's is purple, and Pedro's is green. This color scheme transfers over to the tights on their Shazam forms.
- Comedic Work, Serious Scene: This is a mostly lighthearted and comedic superhero flick, but the scene where Billy finds out his mother abandoned him and she is implied to be living with an abusive boyfriend is Played for Drama.
- Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames:
- Played with. The movie has the Running Gag where Freddy keeps giving Billy a number of truly terrible code-names to use (such as "Thundercrack" and "Captain Sparklefingers"), none of which stick. He is also never addressed directly as "Shazam" or "Captain Marvel", but in the final act when he gives his foster family powers, he tells them to "say my name" to invoke the transformation, which indicates, albeit indirectly, that he has accepted "Shazam" as his hero name. Also, the end credits refer to Billy's adult form as "Shazam".
- The Ancient Champion never gets called Black Adam nor Teth Adam and is only called the Ancient Champion. Though this makes more sense when the Black Adam movie reveals that Adam himself was not directly chosen as the Champion; his son was, and gave the powers to his father to save his life, at which point he died and Adam went berserk in response.
- Composite Character: In movie adaptation, Sivana is a blend of himself and elements of Black Adam from the New 52 comic. His Start of Darkness is caused by being a rejected champion and the Seven Deadly Sins give him Shazam-like superpowers.
- Conspicuous Consumption: After gaining superpowers, Billy/Shazam after making (at least one) ATM spit out money with his lightning, buys a wide array of luxuries such as 2 iMacs, video games, 2 widescreen TVs with one of them still unopened and while house-shopping, asks the realtor for a location with a waterfall.
- Conspicuous Trenchcoat: As part of a scheme to allow them both to skip school, Billy turns into his Shazam form and dons a trenchcoat over his superhero suit to pretend he's the father of Freddy so he can take him outside. Despite Billy's bumbling attitude as an adult, it works.
- Continuity Nod:
- Freddy Freeman has a Time magazine with Black Zero on its cover, a Batarang replica, a drawer full of newspapers including issues of the Daily Planet (one of them dating back to Superman's Senate hearing) and some from Gotham, as well as a Daily Planet cover about Superman's return from Justice League on his room's wall and a book titled The Bird and the Plane which is a scholarly-looking tome about superheroes' effect on society (which is a Central Theme to both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman).
- When Billy escapes the Breyer brothers on a subway train, inside the car there's an advertisement for the Reef World Aquarium young Arthur Curry visited with his classmates.
- At the end of the film, when Shazam is playing up Freddy to the cafeteria, he mentions that he invited another friend and Superman enters (although his face is not shown).
- Conversational Troping: Freddy actually talks to Billy about Bad Powers, Good People (and variants), citing invisibility as something that's ultimately quite creepy to use.
- Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: When the kids teleport back to the strip club, Mary walks out holding Darla while covering her eyes with her hand. She's far too young for such a place.
- Create Your Own Villain: The Wizard's harsh treatment of young Thaddeus Sivana sets him on the road to villainy.
- Creative Closing Credits: The closing credits are in the form of Freddy's notebook doodles, animated to music of The Ramones.
- Creator Cameo:
- Director David F. Sandberg portrays the Crocodile Men and lent his voice to Mister Mind.
- The talking Batman action figure is voiced by the film's sound design supervisor, Bill Dean.
- Credits Gag: In keeping with the issues over the Captain Marvel title, the closing credits just refer to the members of the Marvel Family are listed generically as their superpowered forms (Super Hero Freddy, Super Hero Mary, etc).
- Crowd Hockey: While visiting the winter fair as a young child with his mother, Billy drops his compass and darts after it into the crowd where it is kicked away several times until Billy finally manages to retrieve it. However, Billy now discovers he is hopelessly lost and can't find his mother.
- Destination Defenestration:
- Dr. Sivana kills his brother by tossing him out the top floor window of the Sivana Industries skyscraper. One of the Sins tosses the corpse of another executive the same way.
- Billy tosses a couple of convenience store robbers through the window...then apologizes to the owner for the damages.
- Inverted when Billy sees if he can "leap tall buildings in a single bound", ending up in him trying to leap over a skyscraper — and crashing through an upper floor window instead. Cue screaming.
- Didn't Think This Through: Freddy and Mary figure out that, once the Sins are separated from the Eye and leave Sivana's body, he's an ordinary man who's vulnerable. Mary then calls out to Sivana so he'll send all the Sins out after them and leave himself open to counterattack from Billy. While they're right about what needs to be done to beat Sivana, this clearly forgets that they're a bunch of powerless kids going up against powerful magical demons who are much faster than they are, and once she's gotten Sivana's attention and he sends the Sins out (only six of them, for that matter) all the kids except for Mary are captured almost immediately (and she eventually gets caught too).
- Die or Fly: Although Shazam is invulnerable, it's played straight after Sivana drops him from high above the city. Shazam panics, unaware he'd survive the impact, and tries desperately to figure out the trick to flying, culminating with him shouting "I DON'T WANNA DIE!!!" seconds before impact. After a Smash to Black, he finds himself floating a few inches above the pavement, realizing he somehow finally figured it out. Then, ironically, is smashed into by a truck as he hovers above the ground.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Young Thaddeus's older brother pushed him around, and his father coldly refused to help him and didn't give him any support. They are certainly not good people. However, the adult Dr. Sivana murdering them over it seems kind of an overkill response, and Dr. Sivana also kills all the other company members in the board meeting, none of whom ever did anything to wrong him as far as we can tell.
- Domestic Abuse: It is strongly implied that Billy's mother's new boyfriend is, at the very least, extremely controlling and manipulative, given how his only lines are angrily demanding to know who she's talking to when Billy visits her.
- Don't Try This at Home: Freddy places this before the video montage the testing of all of Shazam's abilities. What they are seeing is an actual superhero and shouldn't be attempted by normal people. It's somewhat of a case of Leaning on the Fourth Wall as it also is implied to be directed towards the audience of the actual movie due to how deadly most of the tests actually are.
- Dramatic Irony: A few different ones concerning Billy's biological mother, Marilyn:
- First, she abandoned him with hopes that he'd be in the good hands of foster parents, unaware that the lack of closure would drive Billy to continually try to locate her and thus never fully accept foster care. Second, she doesn't want to be a part of Billy's life, completely unaware of what an extraordinary superhero her son has become.
- Billy's motto is to "look out for number one" and "go at it alone." Ironically, this sort of thinking is what led Marilyn to abandon him in the first place.
- Early-Bird Cameo: When child Thaddeus first enters the Rock of Eternity upon the summons of the Wizard Shazam, the audience is given a close-up of a glass jar containing a rather unusual caterpillar. By the time Billy comes along, the glass jar is empty. We see its inhabitant much, much later on.
- Easily Forgiven: Victor Vasquez invokes this after he and Rosa think Billy has run away from their foster home. Unlike Billy's previous foster families, they are going to welcome him back "with open arms" to prove that they care about him and are serious about being his parents.
- Easter Egg: There's an Annabelle doll in the pawn shop during Billy's first scene. David F. Sandberg previously directed Annabelle: Creation, which is also produced by New Line Cinema.
- Eat the Rich: Literally. Thaddeus feeds his wealthy businessman father and his board of executives to his army of the Seven Deadly Sins. Thaddeus specifically tells Greed to finish his dad.
- Elevator School: Fawcett Central has elementary, middle and high-school-age students in the same building.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- The police arrive to a small store responding to a call, Billy politely greets them and explains that he saw something suspicious and called them straight away. They go in to find the store empty, while Billy locks them in, uses the computer database in the car to get an address for his potential mother, and takes their lunch. This boy is clever but definitely not pure of heart.
- When introducing him to Billy, Freddy's foster mother asks him not to say something weird. Freddy then immediately says something weirdnote and then pranks Billy by making up a series of obvious lies about his foster home, like that he was thrown out the window, his foster family secretly hate each other and that he actually has terminal cancer.
- The other siblings get smaller ones: Eugene is glued to a video game to the point where he's not even aware what time of day it is, Mary is on the phone with a college admissions office and doesn't have time to talk, Darla is cheerful and chatty, and Pedro walks past Billy with barely a mumbled word of greeting.
- The Breyer brothers quickly establish what they are when they sideswipe Freddy with their truck, then beat him up.
- "Eureka!" Moment:
- Sivana has been trying for years to replicate the symbols needed to access the Rock of Eternity. It's when he sees video from someone approached (and rejected) by the Wizard that Sivana realizes that the seven symbols need to be written on a door seven times. He does so and reaches the Rock.
- In the final battle, Billy recalls the conversation he had with the Wizard Shazam, who mentioned that he ruled the Council of Seven along with his brothers and sisters and that their thrones are waiting. This makes Billy realize that he can use the Wizard Shazam's staff to share his powers with his foster siblings.
- Evil Counterpart: Dr. Sivana is powered by the Seven Deadly Sins, enemies of the Council of Seven Wizards; he comes from a rich, privileged family who held little else but disdain for him and eventually this becomes mutual. Billy receives his boons from the virtues of six gods and demigods, granted by the last surviving Wizard; he lost his parents and, despite running away from a succession of loving foster families, desperately longs to find his own.
- Evil Gloating: Sivana mocks Billy in their final confrontation, saying that his own victory is inevitable and the world will eat out of his hands. This backfires as he and Shazam are some distance apart from each other while flying, with the result that his enemy can't hear what Sivana's saying and eventually decides to just get back to the fight.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: At one point during their final showdown, Sivana goes on an extended Motive Rant mixed with Evil Gloating while he and Billy are hovering above the city. Unfortunately for him, they are so far apart that Billy can't make out what Sivana is saying, which turns a potentially dramatic scene into another hilarious one.
- Fake Shemp: While Superman has a brief cameo, Henry Cavill does not appear. Instead, he is played by a stand-in (Zachary Levi's stunt double) whose face isn't shown.
- Family of Choice: Billy is initially dismissive of this idea, calling it "make-believe". Indeed, it takes him a long while, but by the end of the movie Billy has finally come to accept the Vasquez foster family as his own. It helps that this is after he learned that his own mother actually abandoned him at the fair.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The film, like the comics freely mixes Classical Mythology and Abrahamic Religion; the villains are the Seven Deadly Sins and Shazam has the wisdom of King Solomon, but his other powers come from figures found in Greco-Roman Mythology: Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury.
- Ferris Wheel of Doom: In the climax, Dr. Sivana unleashes the Sins in a crowded amusement park which inevitably had them target the Ferris Wheel, causing the supporting beams to collapse. By that time Billy had granted his powers to his siblings, so that Darla, Pedro and Freddy were able to save the civilians stuck on the wheel.
- Finger Poke of Doom: Due to his Super Strength, a single flick from Billy's finger is enough to send a metal barrel smashing into a wall.
- Flat-Earth Atheist: Sivana's psychologist does not believe in magic and insists everything is a shared hallucination, even after seeing a recording of supernatural events and after Silvana's drawn chalk symbols start to glow.
- Flat "What": Santa at the fair gives one of these when Darla saves him, looking like an adult, and then tells him she's been a very good girl this year.
- In Billy's first scene at the fair, he tells his mom that he wants the stuffed tiger, but she doesn't respond to his comments. This is an early hint that she's not really thinking about her son's feelings in that moment.
- The first shot of the Eye of Sin is in the reflection of young Thaddeus's glasses, in the same eye that it later ends up in when he takes it for real as an adult.
- The Wizard shows Sivana and Billy via his magic what happened the last time he chose a champion and the mistake it was doing so. Though he never mentions his name, the images conjured are obviously of Black Adam.
- Freddy tries to get Billy to discuss superpowers, specifically invisibility and flight, and Freddy argues that flight is the iconic power for a "hero". When he and Billy's foster siblings are transformed, the first thing he does is fly.
- When young Thaddeus enters the Rock of Eternity, we see what looks like a caterpillar in a glass jar. When Billy enters following Sivana's rampage, the jar is now shattered. This sets up Mr. Mind's appearance in The Stinger.
- The Wizard, who sits on one of seven thrones, says his siblings are all dead so he cannot pass on his magic to them. Billy is later reminded of this conversation when he's fighting Dr. Sivana, making him decide to share his powers with his siblings.
- Knowledgeable comic fans, or even perceptive viewers, will notice that the foster kids are all wearing color-coded jackets in the cold weather - Billy and Mary red, Freddy blue, Darla purple, Eugene grey, and Pedro green. Those are the colors of their powered-up adult costumes in the comics, and sure enough, that's what they turn into in the climax.
- Foul First Drink: Billy transforms into Shazam to buy beer. When he and Freddy try drinking the stuff, they spit it out, and Billy declares that it "tastes like actual vomit".
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Even as a child, Sivana wears thick, round spectacles; later he adopts nearly identical sunglasses.
- Also applies to Sivana Sr., who is shown to be heartless toward his younger son when the older son bullies him.
- From Shame, Heroism: Billy Batson was given the powers of the wizard Shazam, but since the wizard gave him no further guidance, Billy initially used the power only in minor, self-serving ways. For that, (but also for refusing to use his new, famous persona to make show off on Freddy's behalf at school) he gets a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Freddy Freeman and Dr. Sivana. Realizing that Freddy and Dr Sivana were right after he reunites briefly with his long-lost mother, he calls to apologize, only to find that Sivana has taken Freddy and the rest of his foster family hostage. Billy becomes a true hero as he goes off to save them.
- Funny Background Event:
- To escape Sivana who is chasing him in the shopping mall, Shazam transforms back into Billy to hide among the crowd. As he is merging into the flow of people he passes by a kiosk on his left that is displaying "Vad Test Dey Blev" (aka "All Quiet Now") a rather risque animated short made by David Sandberg.
- As Billy and his newly transformed foster siblings prepare to confront Dr. Sivana at the end, the music swells and the characters are taking on various dramatic action movie poses — with the drama somewhat mitigated by Freddy Flipping the Bird (with both hands) at the villain.
- Fun with Acronyms: "S.H.A.Z.A.M." is an acronym. It stands for the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury.
- Fun with Foreign Languages: The first thing Billy thinks to do with the "adult appearance" part of the powerset is buy beer, branded "Bärs" which is colloquial, rednecky Swedish for "beer" (director David Sandberg is Swedish).
- Genre Savvy: Freddy knows the entire catalog of super abilities, making him ideal for helping Billy learn what he can do. He's also able to identify Dr. Sivana as a supervillain on first sight.
- Genre Throwback: The film is often considered a throwback to the 1980s "Amblin Entertainment School of Coming-of-Age Tales".
- Good Parents: Victor and Rosa Vasquez are clearly loving parents to their six foster children. Even when Billy tries his hardest to offend them, they regard it as him still trying to adjust to a new environment.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Dr. Sivana's Fatal Flaw, as he envies Billy for being chosen while he was rejected. Out of all the Sins, Envy is the one that constantly remains inside of him.
- Groin Attack:
- When the local bullies attack Freddy, Billy uses his crutch to deliver a nasty one to their leader.Billy: Man, sorry about that...
- This is Billy's response to Sivana monologuing about how only magic can extinguish magic. The crowd watching them groans like it's a wrestling match.Billy: Ohhh-ho-ho-ho! Oh, you did not see that one coming, did ya, grandpa?
- When the local bullies attack Freddy, Billy uses his crutch to deliver a nasty one to their leader.
- HA HA HA—No: Shazam-Billy, after being shot in the chest and then numerous times in the face by the convenience store robbers only to No-Sell it, spends a few seconds giggling in delight with Freddy about the fact that he's bulletproof while the thieves stand there flummoxed...only to then turn to the thugs with a Death Glare and flatly tell them, "You're dead." Cut to them being thrown through the store windows while bound up with Christmas lights.
- Hate Sink: It's not hard to cheer when a pre-Shazam Billy attacks some bullies for beating up the disabled Freddy. Particularly since they first enter the movie by side-swiping him with their truck and then complaining about the scratch on the paint.
- Healing Factor: When the siblings manage to inflict a cut on the back of Sivana's head with Freddy's batarang, Shazam sees the wound close up in seconds as soon as the Seven Sins return to their host. This power essentially grants the villain Nigh-Invulnerability when coupled with his Super Toughness, but was also key to help the heroes figure out that Sivana is rendered powerless should all the Sins leave his body.
- Henshin Hero: Generally considered to be the Ur-Example of this trope. Normally a powerless teen, but when he says "Shazam", he's transformed into a powerful Flying Brick. The plot even takes advantage of his ability to instantly transform.
- Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": The film's Creative Closing Credits show an animation of Freddy's notebook doodles. In them, Shazam and the Shazam family face exaggerated versions of challenges from the movie, and easily outshines Superman, Batman and The Flash as well as getting to date Wonder Woman.
- Hero's Evil Predecessor: The Wizard Shazam, in explaining the purpose of his summons to Billy, recalls how the Council of Seven Wizards once chose a mighty champion to wield their powers, but the champion turned on them and humanity and unleashed the Seven Deadly Sins to cause millions of deaths. This led to the strict purity test for future chosen.
- Hero Insurance: Invoked by Freddy.Billy: (excited) Dude, did you see that?!
Freddy: Yeah. You electrocuted a bus and almost killed these people!
Billy: And then I CAUGHT it!
- Hidden Purpose Test: Played for Laughs when Freddy has Billy hide in a cardboard box, obstensibly for the purpose of testing whether Billy can teleport into a nearby box. Freddy's notebook then reveals that he is actually testing whether Billy is immune to fire, which he does by setting the box on fire.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Sivana's father cared more about his money and his company than he did about his sons, eventually trying to bribe "Thad" to let him live by offering him the company. Thaddeus scorns his greed and allows the literal incarnation of Greed to tear his father to shreds.
- Hostage for MacGuffin: Sivana originally tries confronting Billy directly to beat him up and force him to hand over his power, but once that doesn't work and the latter escapes from him, Sivana resorts to taking Billy's foster siblings hostage to make him give it up for their safety.
- How Do I Shot Web?:
- Billy has no idea what his powers even are at first. He and Freddy figure it out by trial and error, complete with tests and video records. His first attempt at flight doesn't go so well, and he finds out he's bulletproof by being shot.
- He doesn't even figure out how to change back into his teen self until he's trying to explain the bizarre situation to his foster sister, Darla.
- He also has troubles mastering his Flying Brick powers once in the sky, at first.Billy: I believe I can fly! I believe I can fly! [keeps freefalling] Superman! SUPER-MAN! WHAT ARM IS IT?! [desperately tries to imitate the Man of Steel's flying gestures]
- Hypocrite: In the elevator of Mr. Sivana's company, a tiny television screen advertises how the company is so family-orientated. When Dr. Sivana was a boy, his father refused to help him deal with his older brother, disdaining "Thad" for "crying to others." When Dr. Sivana comes to the company to take revenge in the present day, he not only smashes the television screen while in the elevator, but his father first tries to bribe him to leave with the money and then cries for someone else to save him.
- I Have Your Siblings: Sivana pulls this on Billy twice:
- The first time is the most classic example; he abducts Freddy, brings him home and captures the rest of the siblings, and holds them there. Billy receives a phone call seemingly from Freddy, but it turns out to be Sivana using his phone, with Freddy yelling in the background. He then states that he'll only let them go if Billy comes with him to the Rock of Eternity and surrenders his powers, though the rest of the kids follow them and attack Sivana Just in Time.
- The second time, the Sins manage to catch the kids at the carnival, and Sivana makes it clear that he'll have all of them killed in front of Billy—starting with Darla, the youngest—unless he surrenders. Billy is able to save them by remembering the Wizard's words and sharing his powers with them.
- I Know Mortal Kombat: Although claiming he is not a hacker, Eugene admits that he does play Watch_Dogs and Uplink and may have picked up some skills that got him "into federal databases most people can't get into". He then provides Billy with detailed information about his parents.
- I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: The now very elderly Wizard chooses Billy Batson to absorb all his powers out of desperation, without even testing him if he’s pure of heart, because he's rotting away and needs a successor to ward off evil and stop the Seven Deadly Sins from unleashing themselves upon humanity.
- Immune to Bullets: Billy when using the Power of Shazam, to his immense relief. And just to be sure that he's really bulletproof, Billy and Freddy ask the robbers to shoot him again, and Billy even returns the gun to one of the robbers (although he did object when Freddy asked the robbers to shoot him in the face in case it was just the suit that was bulletproof).Freddy: You have bullet-immunity!
Billy: I'm bulletproof! [giggles] You're dead. [throws robbers tied up in Christmas lights out the window]
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Shooting gallery rifles are far from anything one could call accurate, yet Mary would've inflicted a Moe Greene Special on Sivana with her first shot if he hadn't caught the bullet an inch before it hit the Eye of Sin in his head.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Subverted. The Wizard Shazam meant to make this a requirement for his champion, but couldn't find anyone who had it and so had to make do with someone less pure. It's implied that it's just not possible for a real person to be this perfect.
- I Never Told You My Name: One of the things that clues in Mary to deduce Billy's superhero persona is the fact that he calls her by name during their first meeting. While he almost pulls off an explanation that it's his name-reading superpower, he then proceeds to mention that she lives in a group-home which implies he personally knows her.
- Informed Attribute: A challenge in having the adult form of Shazam housing the mind of 14-year-old Billy is that not all of the ancient gods and heroes (Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury) provide qualities that directly fuel being a Flying Brick. When Shazam is behaving like a foolish teenager, tossing lightning into the air or having an emotional spat with Freddy, he is the antithesis of the Wisdom of Solomon and the Courage of Achilles is nowhere to be found when he's shown fleeing Dr. Sivana in fear.
- In the Back: As Sivana prepares to drain Shazam's powers at the Rock of Eternity, Freddy hurls his batarang and manages to hit the back of the villain's head. Sivana then turns away to face the siblings, prompting Shazam to pick up the batarang, electrify it and stab Sivana's shoulder.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: The head scientist for Sivana thinks she's taking part in a project about "mass hysteria" of the various people rejected by the Wizard to bear his power. She's jarred to find Sivana has been using this research to figure out how to get that power himself. She snaps on how "you think this is actually magic?" as she slaps a hand on a door marked with carvings...which then lights up and turns her to ash.
- Ironic Echo:
- In an early flashback, we see Dr. Sivana as a boy asking his father for help in dealing with his older brother. His father refuses, saying "You can't always go crying to others". In the present day, when the now super-powered Dr. Sivana shows up at his father's company meeting seeking retribution, his father cries out for help and Dr. Sivana mockingly throws these words back at him.
- In the same flashback, the young Sid takes his brother’s Magic 8 Ball and mockingly asks it a question about Thad, replying “Outlook not so good.” When confronting Sid as an adult, Sivana makes him take the Magic 8 Ball to ask if Sid is man enough to throw Sivana out of the room. Sivana throws Sid out the window and says “Outlook not so good.”
- I Shall Taunt You: Billy gains an advantage over Dr. Sivana by taunting and goading Envy until it emerges to try and kill him...leaving Sivana completely powerless and allowing the Sins to be beaten and sealed away.
- It's All Junk: Billy keeps the compass his mother won for him at the fair the day he got lost as his only link to her. When he finds out she willingly abandoned him, and she doesn't recognize it, he leaves it with her.Billy: You might need it more than me.
- I Will Find You: Billy spent most of his life trying to find his missing mother, going to extreme lengths such as breaking the law and never giving foster families a chance because of his goal to find her. He goes through seventy-three possibilities. At the start of the movie, the foster-care worker tells him to stop because his mother is obviously not looking for him. The Deconstruction follows in that when he did finally reunite with her, the happy reunion he had been hoping for didn't happen. He found out his mother had knowingly abandoned him because she didn't feel capable of caring of him. And despite seeing her lost son, his mother held back her affection when he tried to hug her.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As adapted from the New 52 version, this Billy is kind of a cynical jerk, yet is a good kid who will help others if needed. This is shown when he deals with the two bullies. After getting superpowers, he reverts to being a jerk, even abandoning Freddy at a critical moment, and it takes him a while to remember who he really is.
- Jump Scare: Not unexpected given David F. Sandberg's horror film roots.
- When Sivana unleashes the Seven Sins on his father's employees, the scene goes quiet as a man approaches the office door to investigate. Suddenly, a poor employee abruptly slams into the door.
- When the kids find themselves in a room full of inter-dimensional doors, Pedro opens one and is greeted by a bizarre, tentacle-like creature. Seconds later, it opens up its terrifying maw and screeches in his face.
- Kick the Dog:
- Sivana first calls the Vasquez Foster home "quaint", and then negates his back-handed compliment and outright calls it a shithole. That's just petty.
- The school bullies seem to make it their life's ambition to ruin someone's day. Heck, they make it a game to loogie on a baby from atop a Ferris wheel.
- When Billy finds his mom after spending ten years looking for her, she coldly brushes him off as he tries to give her a hug.
- Kid Hero:
- Billy is a young teen, but he takes on the appearance of an adult in his superhero form.
- This also applies to the rest of his foster siblings when he grants them his powers in the climax. Special mention to Darla, the youngest of the group.
- Kidnapped by the Call: This is how the summons by the wizard Shazam works. Without warning, candidates are whisked away from wherever they are, often at considerable distress, and then returned to the exact moment they left when they are rejected.
- Kill It with Water: Billy can't transform into Shazam if his scream is muffled. Sivana attempts to exploit this, holding the boy's head underwater in hopes of having him either pass out or suffocate to death. Thankfully, Mary—the only one of the siblings not yet captured—rescues him by trying to shoot Sivana in the Eye of Sin, and him using his hand to perform a Bullet Catch requires him to let go of Billy, giving him the small window of opportunity he needs to revert to his superhero persona.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- Dr. Sivana's father calls him a "miserably whiny little shit" and this is implied to only be the start of abuse for causing the near-wreck that preceded and the actual wreck after it. This leads to his eventual death.
- The boys who bullied Freddy at school are rescued by him once he becomes a superhero; he takes the opportunity to give them a super-wedgie as he picks them up by their shorts.
- Later-Installment Weirdness: Wonder Woman, Justice League and Aquaman all have the DC media logo with DCU characters in it (it was introduced in 2017 with Wonder Woman) before the film opens. SHAZAM! doesn't have it.
- Left Hanging: Mary's attempts at getting into Caltech, the college of her dreams, comprises her arc for the first half of the movie. Later, it's revealed that she's been accepted but is now experiencing torn emotions about the idea of leaving behind her foster family. By the end of the film, it's unresolved if she decided to take the opportunity or not.
- Legacy Hero: This film is about the Wizard Shazam passing the mantle of champion onto Billy Batson. However, the Wizard didn't intend to limit the mantle just to Billy, he wanted to fill the empty thrones of his long gone brothers and sisters at the Rock of Eternity. At the film's climax, Billy-as-Shazam realizes this and turns his foster brothers and sisters into superheroes to carry on that legacy.
- Lighter and Softer: The film certainly lives up to Captain Marvel's traditional "Big Red Cheese" moniker, and is by far the most humorous and light-hearted in the DCEU.
- Look Both Ways: At one point in the movie, Shazam saves his foster sister Mary from getting hit by a car when she was walking across a street distracted with something else. He then warns her to watch both ways before crossing. This becomes a CallBack when Shazam himself gets hit by a car because he becomes distracted after discovering he could fly and hovers just above the highway.
- MacGuffin: The combined might of Shazam's powers constitute the film's MacGuffin, because Sivana wants to absorb them for himself to become even more powerful.
- Magic Must Defeat Magic: Shazam and Sivana can only be hurt by each other's magic.
- Manchild: Billy certain acts like one because, well, he literally is one.
- Meaningful Background Event: When Billy and Freddy are arguing after the former saves a bus, you can see a news crew behind them filming the whole thing. This becomes important in the next few scenes as it alerts Sivana to Freddy's connection to his enemy and makes their foster siblings realize that Billy and the Red Cyclone are one and the same.
- Meaningful Echo: Billy is able to convince Darla to keep quiet from the rest of the family about his Shazam identity by telling her that "good sisters don't tell secrets." Once Sivana has taken all of the foster kids hostage in exchange for the Shazam powers and Darla begs Billy not to go with him, he tells her that he has to, because "that's what a good brother would do."
- Memento MacGuffin: Downplayed. Billy treasures the compass trinket he receives from his mother when she won it from the fair when he was a child. It's the only link to his mother that he still has and he believes that it will eventually lead him back to her, but the compass itself doesn't play an important role in the story, and Billy found his mother through other means. He eventually gives the compass back to his mother after he learns that she deliberately abandoned him at that fair, telling her that she needs it more than him.
- Misplaced Retribution: When Dr. Sivana is seeking his vengeance, he ends up killing many innocent bystanders who have never wronged him. Sivana rationalizes that Billy/Shazam's hiding amongst the crowds is why, claiming that if he does not come out of hiding and finally show himself for the battle, Sivana will punish the civilians for his cowardice.Thaddeus Sivana: (floating above carnival-goers looking for Billy) CHAMPION! You don't deserve that name! Hiding behind innocent people, who will now die! Because deep down, you're still just a scared little boy.
- Mistaken from Behind: When Billy was separated from his mother and trying to find her, he confronted someone who looked like her from behind, but turned out to be a woman wearing an identical jacket.
- Money Is Not Power: After seeing Thaddeus Sivana unleash the Seven Deadly Sins on the board of Sivana Industries, his father thinks giving his son total control of the company will appease him and make him spare his life. To which Thaddeus answers that it's just greed. Then Thaddeus appropriately lets Greed kill him.
- Monumental Damage: A twofer. When Billy and Sivana fight in downtown Philadelphia during the climax they manage to destroy the iconic statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia City Hall... which then lands and crushes the "LOVE" sculpture by Robert Indiana in John F Kennedy Plaza.
- Mood Whiplash: The scene in the board room is extremely violent and dark when the rest of the movie is goofy or at least fun.
- Mundane Utility: Billy uses his electricity powers to charge random peoples' phones, and by peddling for change by showing off "lightning from my hands" to tourists. Unfortunately, he goes a little overboard and blows up a phone, then one of his larger lightning bolts arcs down into a city bus.
- Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
- Never My Fault:
- Sivana's brother and father blame him for the car accident that left Sivana's father in a wheelchair. Sivana was 10 at the time; his father was the one who got distracted and wasn't wearing a seatbelt.
- Marilyn Batson refuses to acknowledge that her abandonment of Billy may have caused him to become emotionally damaged. She desperately tries to have him assure her that he was fine without her and just wanted to check up.
- Sivana blames the Wizard Shazam for rejecting him as a champion and being told he would never be worthy made him who he is. He conveniently forgets that he gave in to temptation of the Seven Deadly Sins and was reaching for the Eye of Sin when Shazam stopped him.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Billy/Shazam means well, but his lack of foresight of his strength and inexperience with his superpowers makes him create a lot of detrimental problems. In his first attempt to help people, he tries to stop a mugger, only to badly freak out and scare away the victim (who had already pepper-sprayed her assailant and needed no help). Later, he nearly obliterates a bus on the freeway, forcing him to save it.
- Also, the wizard SHAZAM wants to give his powers to someone pure of heart so that the Seven Deadly Sins are kept in check, yet it is his blunt treatment of Sivana as a kid that eventually causes them to be freed.
- At the climax, when Sivana is approaching where he knocked Billy down, Mary distracts the former by attracting his attention, hoping that she and the other foster kids can "divide and conquer" to separate the Sins from the Eye and leave Sivana vulnerable to a counterattack from Billy. All this does is get all of the other kids captured pretty much immediately, and Mary doesn't last too much longer before also being caught, since they're all just kids with no powers who can't hope to outrun the Sins; Sivana then has all five of them to use as leverage against Billy once again, the same situation they were in at the foster home. What's more, this plan wouldn't have worked anyway because Sivana only lets six of the Sins out to go after them and keeps the seventh (Envy) inside of him, so he's still invulnerable.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
- The wizard could have spent an eternity trying to find someone to meet his impossible standards. By releasing the Seven Deadly Sins, Sivana made the wizard desperate enough to simply bestow the power on the next candidate.
- At first Billy was just using his powers to show off and had no interest in genuine heroics; Sivana and the Sins could have done pretty much anything and he probably wouldn't have interfered. But the Sins insist that Sivana eliminate the only person who could challenge their power, forcing Billy to become a hero for real to defeat him, and later share his powers with his foster siblings as well.
- Nominal Hero: At first, confused by his sudden powers and with no pressing threat to deal with beyond the occasional thief or mugger, Billy uses his superhero form to goof around and have fun, taking selfies or impressing tourists.
- "Not So Different" Remark: Billy attempts to invoke a heroic version of this with Sivana to try and get through to him due to their circumstances being similar. It doesn't work.
- Not the Fall That Kills You…:
- The bus on the freeway full of passengers is saved by being caught 6 feet off the ground. It does a full impact landing on Shazam instead of the ground yet no one suffers damage beyond a few cuts and a little bleeding. It doesn't even collapse the already severely cracked front windshield.
- Sivana is saved from falling off a skyscraper by being caught by Shazam... by grabbing the clothing around his neck... 6 inches off the ground, complete with an abrupt stop.
- Off with His Head!: One demon bites off and devours the head of a corporate executive of Sivana Industries, then throws his headless corpse out the window.
- Older Alter Ego: The entire premise of the character is how Billy can become an adult by shouting "Shazam!"
- Ominous Crack:
- Cracks appear in the stone statues encasing the Sins as the magic holding them weakens.
- Near the end of the film, a Ferris wheel tilts over on its side, straining one of its anchor cables. After a shot of the cable starting to fray, we see the concrete around the bolts holding the mooring plate in place beginning to crack as the plate starts to come loose.
- Once More, with Clarity!: The scene where Billy is separated from his mother is replayed before the climax. It is revealed that, despite initially being established as a patient mother, Billy's mother was still reeling from the breakdown of her marriage. She actually saw Billy when he was secured by the police, but decided to abandon him, thinking that this would leave him in better hands.
- Orphanage of Love: The Vasquez household technically qualifies as they're considered a group foster home by the state. The members of the household consider themselves a Family of Choice.
- Otherworldly Visits Youngest First: Thaddeus Sivana is the youngest member of the Sivana family. As a child, he was transported to the Rock of Eternity, where he met the Wizard Shazam, and was declared unworthy of possessing the power. He is able, years later, to return to the Rock of Eternity, seize the power of the Seven Deadly Sins for himself, and then demonstrate to his father and older brother that his claims of supernatural events were quite real...to their detriment.
- Overly-Long Tongue: Lust has one as its most distinctive feature. It looks disturbingly like an octopus arm, to boot, suction cups and all.
- Parental Abandonment: We learn that Billy was being raised by his single mom once his father had left and, when he was very young, became lost at a fair. After being found by the police, his mother decided he would be better off with the police than her.
- Parents as People: The film does not shy away from showing the combined toll of being abandoned by her partner, teenage pregnancy, and getting kicked out of her house for said pregnancy on a young mother and how it can lead to poor decisions. Feeling completely overwhelmed, Billy's mother decides to abandon him to the police after he got lost at the fair, thinking that they would be able to take better care of him than she could.
- Parking Payback: The Breyer Brothers try to run over Freddy, a handicapped kid. After Billy gets his powers, he gets revenge by destroying their truck. It is very satisfying.
- Patricide: Thaddeus orders Greed to execute his father as retaliation for all the abuse he had suffered at his hands throughout the years.
- Pet the Dog:
- Billy, after failing to help Freddy at school by not showing up as his superhero alter ego when the latter told other students the knows him (which makes Freddy even more an outcast), makes up for it in the denouement by surprising Freddy at lunch in superhero form, even calling him his best friend in the whole world and crediting him to the other students as the person who told Billy everything he knows about being a hero. As an added bonus, he even got Superman to agree to have lunch with them and their the rest of of their foster siblings, allowing Freddy to meet his biggest idol.
- The fact that Superman agreed to have lunch at a school cafeteria with Billy Batson and his foster siblings at the former's request, for the sake of Freddy, a big fan of his, counts as well.
- Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Billy and Freddy's friendship is strained after Billy doesn't show up as Shazam at the school cafeteria and Freddy gets ridiculed and bullied by his schoolmates, and Freddy calls out Billy for being a showoff and taking his Shazam powers for granted, which Billy doesn't really care to refute. It's only when Shazam is faced with an actual dangerous villain who tries to kill him and Freddy gets kidnapped along with his foster siblings by the said villain that Billy finally mans up and becomes a true hero to save the day.
- Portal Door: The Rock of Eternity has a network of doors opening on other worlds akin to that of Monsters, Inc..
- Power Perversion Potential:
- Discussed by Freddy. He tells Billy how in a survey, most of those who were told their answers would be anonymous chose invisibility as their preferred power, to which Freddy theorizes is because of this trope. Invisibility is considered a creepy "villain power".
- Billy experiments with the perks of having an Older Alter Ego, first by purchasing alcohol and then by going to a strip club.
- Pretending to Be One's Own Relative: Billy pretends to be his and Freddy's father by switching into his older alter ego form so that he and Freddy can skip school.
- Product Placement:
- Billy steals a policeman's lunch that he just bought from Geno's Steaks, an actual restaurant in Philadelphia, PA.
- Billy as Shazam uses his superpowers to release and drink all the sodas from a Dr Pepper vending machine.
- Billy and Freddy are playing Mortal Kombat X on an Xbox One. Billy is naturally playing as Raiden.
- Protagonist Title: Played with. While Billy Batson's superhero persona is called Shazam in the comics, he is never referred to as such in this film proper. Those who are unfamiliar with the character would be led to believe that the film's title was related either to the magic word he says to transform or to the wizard who grants him his powers.
- Punch Catch: Sivana catches a punch from the super-strong Captain Marvel/Shazam. Later, when Billy realizes his full heroic potential, he repays the favor.
- Rage-Breaking Point: Near the end of the prologue, after Thaddeus Sivana was returned to his family's car and almost got his family killed from his meltdown from being rejected by the wizard, his father calls the soon-to-be Big Bad out for said meltdown.Mr. Sivana: Stop. Stop! STOP IT! You miserable, whiny, little shit! You could have killed us! Do you understand that?!
- "Rashomon"-Style: Billy's memories of the last time he saw his mother are a lot more idyllic and happy than how it plays out in his mother's retelling. Justified since he was a very young child when it happened.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- As Billy begins to take the superhero gig for granted, busking for money by performing stunts with lightning, hacking ATMs or enjoying adult-only leisures, Freddy, after being forced to fend for himself against two bullies, complains to Billy that he's being selfish and only cares about the money he's making off his superpowers.
- Sivana gives this to Billy when he holds his siblings captive at their home. After seeing how pathetic he was during their first clash, he finds it hard to believe that the Wizard gave Billy his powers and calls him a coward and not a hero.
- Billy gives one to Envy, calling him a weak, worthless, ugly runt who the other Sins won't let out to play, in order to goad him into leaving Sivana's body, rendering him powerless.
- Recursive Canon: A scene takes place in a shop with toys of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman... and Harley Quinn. It is perfectly understandable that the Justice League, heroes who saved the Earth, are celebrated with merchandise... but why would there be toys of the Joker's girlfriend, a notoriously psychopathic murderer?!
- Refuge in Audacity: The two Jerk Jock bullies spend the majority of the film doing wildly immoral things in plain sight, including assaulting a handicapped boy and spitting on a baby. Thankfully, they do get their comeuppance when the Sins terrorize them while they are trapped on a ferris wheel, followed by Freddy taking advantage of their vulnerability to give them both a wedgie as he flies them to safety.
- Refused by the Call: As a child, Sivana was once summoned by the Wizard Shazam to wield his powers. However, Sivana was tempted by the Seven Deadly Sins and Shazam rejected him. He then spent decades tracking down and studying other people who were also summoned and rejected by Shazam, so he could learn how to reopen the gate to the Rock of Eternity.
- Room Full of Crazy: In the mid-credits scene, Sivana has covered the walls of his cell with symbols, as he tries to create another door to the Rock of Eternity.
- Save the Villain:
- Shazam hurries to save Sivana from falling to death after expunging Envy.
- Freddy saves two bullies from falling by using suitcase wedgies, thereby getting back at them for an earlier "prank" they inflicted on him.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Billy hears a scream, sees a woman being mugged and rushes in to save her, only to discover that the scream actually came from the mugger (having gotten a face full of pepper spray from his intended victim).
- Searching for the Lost Relative: Since Billy Batson got lost from his mother when he was a small child, he has been looking for her and running from the social services and foster groups he is sent to. He eventually finds her, just to learn that his mother abandoned him on purpose because she was too young, single and no longer could take care of a small child. She doesn't want to have anything to do with him in the present, either, and he finally understands he already has a warm family with his foster parents and the other abandoned kids they took in.
- Secret-Keeper: For the first half of the film, Freddy and Darla are the only people who know about Billy's superhero identity. Through a bit of deducing, the other orphans figure it out as well.
- During the climactic battle, a child is playing with Batman and Superman action figures and smacking them against each other. Upon seeing the battle outside his window, he's so in awe over Shazam that he drops both dolls to the floor.
- The Creative Closing Credits poke even MORE fun at the expense of Batman.
- Self-Serving Memory: Played for Drama. Billy's memory of the day at the fair is bright and happy, and his mother doting and affectionate, because it was seen from the perspective of an excited young boy. However, his mother's own recollection is much more dull and realistic, showing how worn-out and regretful she was. Even certain costuming details, such as the gloves she's wearing, are different.
- Sequel Hook: The Stinger has Sivana being contacted by Mister Mind, and there is still the reference to the earlier Champion left dangling. Ironically, the sequel addresses neither of these things and has completely different villains, since the latter (Black Adam) is instead fleshed out in his own movie, while the former is reduced to just a Brick Joke in The Stinger.
- Seven Deadly Sins: Their physical manifestations were originally imprisoned by the Council of Seven Wizards. When Dr. Sivana frees them by taking the Eye of Sin, they use him as their channel back into the real world.
- Shared Universe: Along with taking place in the DCEU, Ms Glover (Andi Osho of Mock the Week fame) from Lights Out cameos in this film as the foster care counsellor, thus putting that film into continuity.
- Shock and Awe:
- One of the powers bestowed upon those chosen by the wizard is the ability to cast electric streams from their hands. The lightning that transforms the hero can also be used offensively.
- The Sins can also manipulate electricity and grant this power to their host, solidifying Sivana's role as Shazam's Evil Counterpart.
- Freddy mentions Game of Thrones during his and Billy's first meeting when Freddy pranks him by saying dark things to scare his new foster sibling (like his disability coming about the same way as Bran Stark).
- One of the patients that Dr. Sivana interviewed compared the Wizard Shazam's appearance to that of someone straight out of Harry Potter.
- As Freddy and Shazam are watching the Philadelphia skyline from the top of the stone steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Arts, Billy mentions that the view is pretty good, it's no wonder why Rocky loves to run up the steps here. Later in the movie, Shazam is also performing lightning hands trick in the same location in sync with "Eye of the Tiger", a popular song from the Rocky series.
- Shazam claims that the "looking out for number one" advice he gave to Mary was spoken by Gandhi. Mary doesn't believe it, so he tells her that it's probably someone like Gandhi who said it, probably Yoda.
- Watch_Dogs and Uplink are mentioned by Eugene when he explains how he tracked the whereabouts of Billy's mother.
- Eugene shouts out "Hadouken!" when he zaps one of the Seven Deadly Sins with his lightning ability. He also says "Fatality!" a bit later.
- A few of the nicknames Freddy has for Billy's transformed state are "the Red Cyclone" (the official nickname for Street Fighter's Zangief) and "Zap-tain America".
- The first half of the movie about two juvenile boys in which one instantly becomes an adult while the other remains the same age is a play on Tom Hanks' Big. The movie itself acknowledges it is a partial retelling of Big by having Shazam (during his fight with Sivana) step on a gigantic floor piano inside a shopping mall.
- After zapping a vending machine, Shazam drank a whole bunch of Dr. Peppers and had to pee.
- One of the interdimensional doors at the Rock of Eternity leads to a room where some crocodile men are playing cards; the scene is made to look like one of those infamous paintings of "Dogs Playing Poker".
- Pedro opens one of the doors at the Rock of Eternity to reveal a bizarre, tentacle-like creature emerging from a thick mist. Seconds later, it opens up its terrifying maw and screeches in his face which is an homage to the tentacle creatures from The Mist.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer:
- The trailers went out of their way to avoid showing that any of Billy's foster family become adult superheroes.
- Downplayed with the Seven Deadly Sins. While they do appear in one of the teasers, they only appear in their statue forms.
- Spiritual Successor:
- Zachary Levi has summed up the premise as "Big with superpowers". This is given a Shout-Out in the form of finding a Floor Keyboard, which adults can press down with their feet.
- SHAZAM! is also the closest thing there is to a Chuck movie: Both are comedic and self-deprecating and referential stories featuring normal people who essentially have super powers forced upon them, have to learn how to use them, and eventually step up to become a hero. Bonus points for both starring Zachary Levi.
- Squick: In-Universe example when the only way to De-power Dr. Sivana is to remove the Eye of Sin by hand.
- The Stinger: Two of them.
- The first shows Sivana in prison being approached by Mr. Mind.
- The second is a quick gag poking fun at Aquaman.
- Stumbled Into the Plot: Billy gains the powers to become Shazam because he got randomly abducted by the wizard.
- Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Sivana is able to duplicate the Wizard Shazam's portal door spell by watching a video of it being used and then copying the symbol pattern.
- Superhero Origin: The film tells how Billy Batson got his powers and how he became a hero.
- Super Empowering: The wizard Shazam bequeaths his power to Billy just before dying. Billy later shares his power with his foster siblings, creating the Shazam Family.
- Super Smoke: The Seven Sins' main power is turning into a cloud of black smoke. They use this as a means of transportation and to phase through physical blows.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: When Sivana threatens Billy during the climactic battle, Billy can't hear him (and neither can we for some of it) because they're at least a city block away from each other, and super-hearing isn’t part of the Shazam skill set.Billy: Are you making some big evil guy speech right now or something? You're like a mile away from me right now... All I see is mouth moving... Ah, screw it.
- Take a Third Option: Once Sivana captures his foster family, he gains leverage over Billy and offers him two choices: give over the power of Shazam, or watch his family die in front of him, starting with Darla. Fortunately, Billy remembers the Wizard's final words: "With your heart, unlock your greatest power. The thrones of our brother and sisters await!" and manifests a third option. He realizes he can share his power with his foster family, turning them into the Shazam family and immediately granting them Invulnerability to keep them safe from the Seven Sins.Billy: If a superhero can't save his family, he's not much of a hero.
- Takes One to Kill One: Billy thinks he's invulnerable as Shazam until Sivana, empowered by the Seven Sins, punches him and makes him bleed. Sivana explains that Shazam's powers render him immune to mortal threats, but magical threats can harm him.
- Teleportation: At one point, Freddy and Billy test to see if Billy can teleport; the test ends inconclusively, since Freddy was actually testing to see if he could survive being lit on fire. It turns out that Shazam can teleport to and from the Rock of Eternity.
- Tentacled Terror: Sloth has numerous tentacles, which he uses to grab Mary.
- Train Escape: Billy escapes from a set of bullies by running into a subway train just before the doors close.
- Training Montage: Billy as he tries to fly and discover the additional superpowers he has while playing to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now".
- Two Girls to a Team: The groups of six Vasquez foster kids and their Shazamily Super Team counterparts formed at the end consists of two girls (Mary and Darla) opposite four boys (Billy, Freddy, Pedro, and Eugene).
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Billy strolling around in broad daylight in his superhero form doesn't draw the same kind of attention that Clark and Diana did, which is understandable considering most of the Justice League would be household names by this point and Freddy was using social media to promote Philadelphia's hometown hero.
- Villain Ball:
- After Sivana opens a door to the Rock of Eternity using his magic and takes Shazam through it, he leaves the door open, which allows Billy's siblings to follow them and stop him from getting Shazam's powers.
- The Seven Deadly Sins initially use their ability to scatter into dust and reform at will to simulate Intangibility, though they eventually just stop doing it for no clear reason, allowing them to be attacked normally.
- Villain Has a Point:
- When Sivana returns to the Rock of Eternity, he rightfully calls out the Wizard Shazam for putting him through his test of character while he was a child and then saying he would never be worthy when he failed. This drove him to spend years seeking a way to return to the Rock of Eternity where he immediately takes the Eye of Sin and releases the Seven Sins.
- When Billy and his siblings hide among the attendees at the carnival, Sivana calls him out for endangering innocent peoples' lives. Do they really think the villain cares about collateral damage?
- Wanting Is Better Than Having: Billy spent years envisioning the perfect reunion with his mother and breaking the law several times to find her, only to be faced with the reality that she knowingly abandoned him and she currently didn't want to be involved in his life.
- Wham Line: "I saw you". Billy learns from his mother that she saw him being found by the police and deliberately abandoned him to their care.
- Wham Shot:
- Or rather, Shazam shot — The Reveal of all the other foster siblings in adult form after Billy bestows the Power of Shazam upon them too.
- At the end, Shazam says that he's invited a "friend" to join Freddy at the lunch table. A familiar theme song plays as we see the man himself step up to the table holding a tray of food.
- What the Fu Are You Doing?: Eugene steals the Breyers' nunchuks out of Burke's pocket while they're whaling on his older brothers Freddy and Billy, and attempts use them to get the bullies to stop. It doesn't go well:Eugene: Back off, assbags, I know how to use these things! (Promptly smacks himself in the back of the head with the nunchuks) Ow.
- Where It All Began: Our hero Billy's story began when his mother tried to win him a stuffed tiger at a Christmas Carnival and was later separated from her. The climax of the movie takes place at the same Christmas Festival, right down to a stuffed tiger.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The few glimpses we get from Dr. Sivana's backstory make it clear that his life just plain sucks. After being summoned, he's offered a glimmer of hope that he could become the wizard's champion, but fails the "temptation test". Being told by the wizard that he is unworthy before being summarily cast back is the final straw that makes him embrace his inner darkness.
- Would Hurt a Child: Sivana has zero compunctions about threatening to murder Billy's foster siblings to force him to give up his powers, and proves that he's not bluffing when he orders Lust to kill Darla, who's only nine, until Billy submits.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Played with. The brief glimpse of Thaddeus Sivana's childhood shows his cold and emotionally abusive family relationship and invokes some sympathy for him being snatched away, given a faint hope of being the champion and then tossed back so abruptly. However, he did genuinely fail the "temptation test" and was not treated any more harshly than the other people that were summoned by Shazam's spell and also failed.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: When a candidate is summoned to the Rock of Eternity for testing, the flow of time at the point they are pulled from seems to slow to a stop since their return seems instantaneous. This is shown when young Thaddeus Sivana was summoned as neither his father or brother were aware of his disappearance.
- Younger and Hipper: The movie is this to the whole DCEU, given all the kids in major roles including Billy Batson himself who is only "adult" when in superhero form. Compare this to the previous movies, which were entirely focused on adults, the youngest being Barry Allen/Flash in his mid-to-late 20s.