Follow TV Tropes


Fridge / SHAZAM! (2019)

Go To

Fridge Brilliance:

  • How can you get a hint that Billy's memories of his mom aren't entirely reliable? The filtering on that memory is extremely bright. When we see most scenes in the movie that play in reality, it is a bit of a blue or grey tone, and when Billy's mom recounts that memory to him with what really happened, the scene takes on that color. It also makes sense since as a child, Billy wouldn't really recognize the stress and anger his mother was going through (she was also visibly red-eyed from crying) and his young mind would reimagine the memory as something more cheerful.
  • Advertisement:
  • Envy is a short, hunched-over bald figure with pointy ears, a big head, and nasty teeth. He basically looks like a more monstrous version of the comic version of Sivana.
  • Billy manages to outsmart and play Envy to defeat Sivana. The Wisdom of Solomon was likely very useful in doing so.
  • Bordering on Stealth Pun, while Freddy trains Billy/Shazam, we hear "Don't Stop me Now". Who's that song by? Queen, with lead vocals and piano by Freddie Mercury (who also wrote the song). And what was one of Shazam's powers? The speed of Mercury. Also counts as Foreshadowing that Freddy would also gain the powers of Shazam.
  • Sivana figures that after so many candidates (and rejects) he's gone through, Shazam the wizard would probably have forgotten he summoned him, given it's been 45 years and he was just a boy then. Surprisingly, he remembers him as though it were yesterday. How is it possible? Because from Shazam's viewpoint, that day was a close call, given he almost chose someone tempted by the Seven Deadly Sins. It was the day he became paranoid that not even a child could be trusted to be "pure".
  • Advertisement:
  • The possible reason why Billy was the only one found worthy of the wizard Shazam’s powers? Even without the test of the seven deadly sins tempting him, he likely did the one thing none of the others did. He didn't want to be special like the others, especially Sivana, did and refused the power, only taking it because Shazam had no choice but to force it on him. Billy was also the first one questioning his worth, while the others considered it their right. Of course they failed the test: that's pride, the father of all deadly sins.
  • In the post-climax, the Eye of Sin didn't shrink down to fit unlike Sivana when he was supposedly tempted. It's because Billy was faking the whole thing.
  • Sivana's toy of choice as a child was a Magic 8 Ball; foreshadowing his involvement as the eighth member of the Seven Deadly Sins (if being the carrier of the Eye counts as being a member).
  • The superpowers mainly used by the kids' Shazam forms, and the role they play, in the finale, match their personalities, backstories or main character trait:
    • The Wisdom of Solomon. Billy's introductory scene also has him outwitting cops, and he's managed to take care of himself for a long time, as well as done "detective work" for years. (He has courage and stamina too, to keep searching for his mother for so long)
    • The Strength of Hercules. Pedro is somewhat standoff-ish, and uses weights, trying to increase his strength; not only does his Shazam form interact least with the rest of the family, but he also uses his strength to hold up the Ferris Wheel.
    • The Stamina of Atlas. Mary is harder to decipher, but one interpretation could be that she is more or less "the rock" of the family, always looking out for her siblings, and dealing with her own issues as much as she can. Therefore, come the final battle, she continually grapples with one of the Sins, holding it down and tanking its attacks. She also counts as having the Wisdom of Solomon due to her college degree.
    • The Power of Zeus. Eugene loves video games; he uses the lightning, taking advantage of the power that is most like a video-game attack.
    • The Courage of Achilles. Freddy's use of flight is more or less a given. See: his dialogue, character arc, etc. Also, the obvious connection of Freddy's leg and the myth of Achilles' heel.
    • The Speed of Mercury. Darla was friendly, well-meaning, talkative, and immediately runs to meet her family members every time she encounters them; she uses superspeed to save individual people from the sins, rather than fighting anyone.
      • Technically, courage, stamina and wisdom are traits any human being can possess. What matters is how these abilities are used, as seen in the film. Billy just wants to find his mother and later on have fun with his abilities, while Sivana doesn't care how he uses his abilities as long as they make him superior to all around him.
  • Who's the best foil for an age-shifting Kid Hero who's Wise Beyond His Years? A petty Psychopathic Man Child who refuses to move beyond slights received when he was young. In a dark way, Sivana represents the logical conclusion of Freddie's warning to Billy.
    • This is accentuated in the mall when the two briefly have a standoff in the toy shop. Sivana is framed with the sign for "Boys' Costumes" right behind him. Because that's what both of them are at that point. Children wearing costumes. Neither of them have grown beyond one event from their childhood and both are using gifts given to them selfishly as a result.
    • They are also foils in terms of backstory. Sivana came from a background of great privilege, yet was stuck with an abusive and demeaning family that pushed him towards revenge rather than focusing on his own merits, while Billy came from poverty and abandonment but got many chances to have a loving family, that he rejected in favor of an ultimately nonexistant ideal.
  • The Shazam family is comprised of 6 members even though there are 7 thrones and there were 7 wizards. Why? Because there is a 7th champion - the Ancient Champion from the Wizard's opening monologue is likely Black Adam, who is still alive in most other DC continuities.
  • After the New 52 changed the superhero's name from Captain Marvel to Shazam, his powers were adapted so the magic word would only transform Billy if he specifically intended to. This was done for obvious reasons, as it enabled him to say "I am Shazam" without giving away his secret identity immediately after. In this film, even casually saying "Shazam" in a sentence triggers the transformation. In other words, Shazam can't even introduce himself without unwillingly morphing back into a 14-year old boy. This may explain why he goes the entire film without referring to himself as such, instead resorting to increasingly more bewildering nicknames. Also, it's possible that Billy can learn to control the transformation word in such a manner, but since this is only his first few days with the power and is still learning to use them, he hasn't mastered it yet.
  • Each of the kids' Shazam forms are color coded for convenience. A subtle hint of foreshadowing, is the kids primarily wearing the same colors as their super suits: Billy and Mary in red, Eugene in grey, Freddy in blue, Pedro in green, and Darla in purple.
  • Trinkets:
    • There's an interesting bit of visual symbolism in Billy and Sivana's personal trinkets, the compass keychain and Magic 8-ball respectively. Both are small black orbs associated with finding a desired outcome. One shows you what you need, while the other just tells you what you want to hear at best.
    • The compass fits Billy very well, as a compass requires that you know the place you want to go for it to be of any use. Obviously, it highlights his helplessness in finding his family since he doesn't even know where they are, but him giving it back to his mother also shows character development; at that point he knows exactly where he's supposed to be (with a family that loves him, rather than his blood family), and doesn't need the compass to help him find it. However, he bestows it to his mother, recognizing she needs help finding her way in life.
  • Freddy doesn't want invisibility not just because he feels it's more associated with villains but because he already feels ignored and invisible to most people, so it would be a redundant power.
  • When Freddy and Billy play Mortal Kombat X pay attention to their character selection. Billy picks Raiden, the Thunder God, mirroring his powers. Freddy picks Johnny Cage, a cocky movie star, which appeals to Freddy's desire for attention.
  • The use of "Do You See What I See?" in the opening scenes may just seem like Soundtrack Dissonance, but consider: Everything that happens after Thad gets sent back is because he's seen something that no one else has seen.
  • When Mary uses the power of Shazam, she is portrayed by a different actress despite her usual actress already being an adult in real life and visibly older than the other kids. This is probably because all the Marvel/Shazam Family actors were cast to match Zachary Levi's age, late 30s to early 40s, while Grace Fulton is only in her early 20s.
  • Throughout the film before the big reveal, you were probably wondering why despite all the effort Billy underwent to look for his mother (his notebook has over 70 female individuals with the same surname as him), his mother never seemed to bother filing a missing person's case with his name from her end, which would have immediately got him found and returned. It is a sign that the abandonment was not accidental.
  • During the climax, Captain Marvel/Shazam reverted to Billy in the middle of a crowd yet no one noticed. Why? Because he was engulfed in smoke.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames actually makes sense here, as the word Shazam itself is the transformation phrase.
    • Not to mention as far as anybody knew, Shazam was only the Wizard's name. There was no indication that his champions would share it.
  • Billy/Shazam was unable to hurt Wrath, who turned to smoke anytime he would have been hit. This is because you can't use wrath against Wrath. Pedro was able to block Wrath's shot and counter-attack, because this wasn't wrath, this was just defense.
  • Why are Billy and his mother's memory of the day they got separated different? Because Billy was only a small child who had an ideal image of his mother, while his mother was older with a more realistic memory.
  • When Billy shares his powers with his siblings, why is it that Mary wears a skirt while Darla wears pants like the others? Because pre-transformation, Mary was the only one wearing a skirt.
  • Why Billy called the Badass Bystander that defended herself from robbery a "grandma" despite being on her 30's at most? It's not just because of Billy being a teenager but also because of his mother, who was 17 the last time he saw her. So if a teenager barely older than him can be a mother, someone with the double of his age can be a grandma
  • The movie has a theme of people spending years desperately searching for something to the point of obsession and the tragic consequences of such. Sivana searched for the power he had been denied as a child, and ended up posessed by evil monsters and mentally broken by it in the end. The wizard Shazam was obsessed with finding someone "pure of heart" to pass on his power to, but his rigorous standards meant that he ended up rejecting everyone he came across, which ultimately led to Sivana's villainy and the sins being able to escape because his powers had grow weak over time. Billy was so obsessed with finding his biological mother that he rejected any attempts to bond with his foster families for years, but his mother left him because she felt that a foster family could give him a better life than a scared abandoned seventeen year old girl could. Sivana never gets over it, Shazam gives up only by necessity, but Billy gives up on his goal willingly once he realizes the consequences of his actions.
    • There is also the theme of being fixated on a goal/ideal that becomes detrimental to the person despite already having something good or better than said goal. Sivana is a rich, successful doctor/psychiatrist all on his own merit but his resentment and need to prove himself to his father and brother and the wizard Shazam eclipse that. The wizard Shazam had encountered many candidates who could have been trained into excellent champions but he rejected them all because they did not match his standards of perfection. Billy had several opportunities to be happily adopted by families who would have gladly taken him in but he ran away from them because he was chasing after the idealized memory of his missing mother.
  • Billy challenges Freddy to name one cool sidekick. In this universe, there was still just two sidekicks when he said that: One is dead and the other is insane.
  • Lex Luthor is typically depicted as tall and well-dressed with chiseled features, but in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice he was short and goofy-looking with twitchy mannerisms. Contrast that with Dr Sivana, who underwent both Adaptational Attractiveness and Adaptational Badass.
  • Freddy telling some robbers to shoot Shazam in the face is most likely poetic vengeance for losing his prized Superman bullet. Now Billy has compensated him with interest!
  • The Seven Deadly Sins possess Sivana through the Eye of Sin. A magic eye makes sense to use as a talisman:
    • Firstly, it allows the Sins to look through and see what its user sees.
    • Secondly, it embodies the Jade-Colored Glasses trope. The Sins chose Sivana because he was already cynical enough not to bother about any kind of goodness, or care that he was being used by them.
  • Billy Batson has had several hometowns throughout publication history, with Philadelphia being the most recent. But there are a few other reasons why Philly, rather than Fawcett City or San Francisco, happens to be the perfect setting for this movie:
    • Philly is famously known as the City of Brotherly Love. Billy's major arc involves learning to be a loving brother to his foster siblings.
    • Philadelphia's name comes from the Greek language, and another one of its (less well-known) nicknames is the Athens of America. Several of Shazam's gifts come from Greek figures.
    • Benjamin Franklin's legendary kite experiment (wherein he discovered how to conduct electricity) took place in Philadelphia. The first power Billy discovers is Shock and Awe.
  • Mary is the one with the Big Sister Instinct, implying that her specialized superpower is the Nigh-Invulnerability.
  • The Wizard uses the trapped Seven Deadly Sins as a test to prove whether his chosen candidates are worthy of the power of Shazam. He doesn't subject Billy to the test because Sivana had freed the Sins at that point, but later on, when Billy is holding the orb, he doesn't give into its temptations like so many others before him. So not only did Billy ultimately undergo the test, he passed it with flying colors, proving that he's worthy of Shazam's power.
  • Why are the members of the Shazam Family an Instant Expert? They already saw the resident superhero in action, so they would know what they can do once they get the powers. It's also notable that they all stick to one superpower, and the hardest one to master, flight, is used by Freddy, who had the most experience with the powers being a coach for Shazam.

Fridge Horror:

  • Secret identities:
    • The Shazam family basically all share the same secret identity and only really have increased ages to conceal who they really are, with their age differences from each other being relatively the same across both forms. Of the two villains Shazam is lined up to confront next, Mister Mind is a mastermind who would be able to spot this pattern easily, and Black Adam knows how the powers work and would thus already be looking for a group of kids/young adults with the same profiles as the family. Ultimate point: because the Shazam family are dead ringers for the Vasquez kids in the eyes of these villains, Billy sharing powers with his siblings has essentially painted a giant target on Victor and Rosa's heads.
    • Made worse by the fact that if anything happens to those two, the family would likely be split up and sent to new homes, giving the villains opportunities to pick them off one by one.
    • It's even worse than that. In the first stinger scene, Mister Mind visited the imprisoned Dr. Sivana to recruit him. Sivana already knew the real identities of the Shazam family, not to mention where they live, and there's nothing to stop him from spilling the beans to Mister Mind or other bad guys who wanted a piece of the Shazam family.
  • The old wizard has scarred and traumatized thousands of kids around the world because he doesn't erase the unworthy children's memories when sending them back to earth. Those people (now adults) will need serious therapy. Some will probably never function properly in society ever again due to their encounter with the wizard. What's worse is that the old man didn't care about his actions.
    • Worse, it's possible that Sivana wasn't the only one who had a post-dismissal freakout under circumstances where it caused a dangerous distraction.
  • The flashback to Billy's mother abandoning him was set in 2008, which was the year of the U.S. recession. Meaning even if she tried raising him, she would have had a very hard time nonetheless. Alternatively, she's already reeling from the effects of the recession, which lead her to what she did.
  • The scene when Sivana kidnaps Freddy. He slams him against a wall and states that Freddy is about to tell him everything... and the scene cuts away. Next time we see Freddy, he's taken Sivana to the house. Seeing how protective he was of his family, it's unlikely he'd lead a supervillain directly to them without a serious amount of pressure.
  • Billy pretending to be tempted by the Eye of Sin is funny and all, but imagine if he tried to pull that shit off with Shazam. Given the latter's personality, he probably would've taken that at face value.
  • The siblings opened quite a few doors in their attempt to escape the Rock of Eternity. Anyone familiar with Shazam's rogues gallery would recognise some of the villains who got brief cameos. Assuming those doors hadn't been opened in a while, they've now been alerted to the fact that there's been some changes going on and will probably be curious as to how they can exploit this...
    • Overlaps with Fridge Brilliance. The Rock of Eternity stands outside the Orrery of Worlds. There is only one. The only reason the kids didn't run into earlier versions of themselves was how inconvenient to the narrative it would be.
  • Billy broke Shazam's Magic Staff. As far as we know, that is the only means of transferring the wizard's power; the power keeping the Seven Deadly Sins sealed in their statues. What happens when he grows old and weak like his predecessor, and can't find a successor?

Fridge Logic:

On the headscratchers page.


Example of: