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Headscratchers / SHAZAM! (2019)

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    Six powers? 
  • Seven is a clear Arc Number in the film. Seven wizards, seven thrones, seven sins, presumably seven Shazams (once Black Adam comes back). So does Shazam really only have six powers?
    • His powerset has always been a little fuzzy regarding what he can do. There could be another ability that may just not have manifested itself.
    • It could be that flight is the 7th power that took some time to manifest itself. The six powers were said to be wisdom, strength, stamina, lightning bolts, courage and speed.
    • Basically SHAZAM has six letters thus there are six gods/heroes that give Captain Marvel his abilities (ie Solomon, Heracles, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury). It turns out that Seven as an arc number came about in Geoff Johns "Shazam" reboot mini-series. In the OG Shazam/Captain Marvel mythos, it's not as prevalent. While there were always the Seven Deadly sins, there was only one wizard, Shazam, not a council of seven. The original Marvel Family was only three people (Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr) and even adding the the Lieutenant Marvels (3) only brought the powered champions of good to six (unless you also include Hoppy the Marvel Bunny). Also, Mary originally got her powers from six different set of goddesses/heroines: Selene for grace, Hippolyta for strength, Ariadne (later changed to Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt) for skill, Zephyrus for fleetness (and flight), Aurora (later changed to Greek goddess Aphrodite) for beauty and Minerva for wisdom.
    • One incarnation of Mary Marvel had her get the powers of Jewish heroines: Shiphrah, Huldah, Abigail, Zipporah, Asenath and Miriam. Black Adam himself got his powers from six Egyptian gods: Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton and Mehen.
    • There is history in Captain Marvel history that relates about a seventh member. One history relates the story of Oggar, who was formerly a member of the gods that granted power to Marvel (SHAZAMO).

    Sharing Power Using the Staff 
  • I had the impression that when someone with the Shazam powers holds the staff with somebody else, the recipient is the one to say "Shazam" to receive those powers. If so, when Billy and Dr. Sivana are holding the staff in the barn at the carnival, shouldn't it be Sivana, not Billy, who has to say "Shazam"?
    • The difference is that Sivana is trying to force Billy to surrender the powers as opposed to willingly give them. Since Billy is the one who has to make the decision, he's the one who has to say Shazam.

     The gas station scene 
  • Just WHY would Freddy allow the criminals to shoot Billy in the face like that? Yeah, Billy-as-Shazam turned out okay in the end due to his bullet immunity, but it just seemed extremely risky and dangerous. Keep in mind that this was when they were just trying to discover what powers Billy-as-Shazam has and they didn't know at this point that his superhero persona has godlike powers. It seemed like Freddy was taking a huge life-threatening chance with that and they should be really lucky that his persona turned out to be invincible.
    • I guess it's really just supposed to be one of those "they're kids who've let the whole thing go to their heads and they're acting kind of dumb" things.
    • Yes, surprisingly enough, young children are not known for fully and rationally thinking out every possible outcome to their actions, and are in fact prone to getting overexcited and making rash decisions. Shocking, but true.
    • Shazam realized it wasn't such a good idea and started objecting, albeit a moment too late.

     Billy-as-Shazam’s good publicity sticking after the bus scene 
  • I'm curious at how people didn't get pissed at Billy-as-Shazam for the bus incident. He clearly caused the bus to malfunction and handled the situation pretty poorly, only being able to save those people with no casualties out of luck. Even one of the bus riders seemed pretty distraught over the fact that he was standing there like an idiot and trying to use an old mattress to cushion the fall. Yes, it's because Billy-as-Shazam is new to his powers and didn't know how to fly at that point, but wouldn't that have cause people to catch onto that and realize that he's just some amateur superhero who doesn't know what he's even doing?
    • There was a brief shot of a news program where someone was questioning Shazam's motivations after the bus thing. It appears that the DCEU has such a high opinion of supers that everyone just assumed he was a hero, until the bus when people said "Wait a second, has he actually done anything heroic?" Then he saved the city from Sivana and the Sins before anyone could get too angry.
    • Nobody in the bus had any idea Billy caused the accident. It could be argued that somebody watching Billy's lighting show perhaps could make the connection, but that somebody wasn't be there when the press arrived.

     Shazam criminally misuses exposition 
  • After giving Billy his powers, the wizard decides to tell him about a former champion who turned to evil, so he can set up the upcoming Black Adam film. But he somehow fails to mention that Sivana is at large right now and has the Sins' powers. Come on, man, it was the whole reason you needed Billy in the first place! Why didn't you spend your last few moments talking about the immediate threat?
    • Sivana and the Sins can be defeated, what matters is making sure the Champion will be good.

     And then what, Thad? 
  • Sivana's whole motivation was to prove he was worthy of Shazam's power. What exactly was he hoping to do with it? Everything we see suggests he wants to outdo his father and older brother, but instead he just kills them. If the implication is that he wanted to improve the world in some way, it was never actually elaborated on.
    • That's not his motivation at all. His motivation is to spitefully get back at everyone who told him he wasn't good enough.
    • With Sivana, it seemed it was all about him proving a point and getting the power he was denied in 1974 (both the sin power and Shazam's power). However, Sivana might have only had the illusion of control over the power, with the sins ready to unleash themselves on the world once they had Shazam's power (the only thing they knew of that could stop them. Arguably the Justice League could stand up to them, but the sins are unlikely to know much about them whereas they knew exactly the danger Shazam posed to their agenda).

     Tell me where this champion is and then in a few weeks I'll track him down 
  • Sivana commits to finding Billy, asking the Sins to tell him where to find the kid. He then pretty much disappears until confronting Billy after the bus crash. What was he doing for all that time? And could he really not have tracked down the not-bothering-to-hide-himself-whatsoever-social-media-celebrity superhero before then?
    • Sivana didn't show up till after the broadcast where Billy saved the bus, which was legal. Whatever news beforehand were videos on YouTube, which can't be conclusive proof.
    • Sivana also doesn't seem like the kind of person who'd be looking for a "Champion" by searching the internet for videos of recent phenomena.

  • They go to an Inner City School with metal detectors and multiple security guards. Surely the school resource officer would be outside at dismissal time and available to throw the book at one of the few students who has a car when he knocks a kid over with it?
    • They go to a school that apparently combines elementary, middle, and high school into one campus (how else does Darla go to the same school as Mary?). Adults, even well-meaning adults, can’t be everywhere at once, especially if there are that many kids in one space. And, as we see in the film with Sivana’s dad (which unfortunately can also be true in real life), not all adults care about bullying or react appropriately to it.
    • This wasn't something that happened in the back rooms somewhere without witnesses. This happens literally on the front yard of the school, while the entire student body is walking out. There is absolutely going to be teachers and aids and crossing guards there, who are supposed to be watching out for things like people running over students with cars. The scene makes no sense as staged.
      • I went to some schools where this sort of thing absolutely happened, with no adults there to watch. It was the result of the district being severely underfunded, meaning manpower was scarce all around. My high school, in particular, had an average classroom size of 85 when I graduated. All sorts of nasty behavior was going on because there weren't enough adults to watch every corner of the school everywhere, not even the main entrance at times. This was especially true if some trouble was happening elsewhere that diverted adult attention. As a result, I absolutely believe that, in an improperly managed school, whether at the school level or the district level, a pair of bullies with a lot of audacity could run a student over as the school day is ending and not be found out.
    • In the New 52 comic that serves as the source for the movie, the two bullies, Brett and Burke, 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.

    Billy and Freddy at school 
  • For that matter, Freddy as Billy's guide to the school. Freddy probably is allowed extra time to get between classes, most likely written into a formal Section 504 plan but at least on an ad-hoc basis, while a student with Billy's record of running away would be the subject of a serious search if they were that late.

    Why still have the inferior complex? 
  • The movie version of Dr. Sivana is a handsome, rich, successful psychologist. Those things alone should be enough to prove to himself (and his family) that he's not a loser. Having his own office and people calling him "sir" isn't enough for him?
    • He is successful by most standards, but he's comparing himself to his brother and father.
    • I think it was less of a inferiority complex and more of him being immensely resentful of the years of abuse and mistreatment. It was obvious that Sivana wasn't exactly the most loved kid before the car accident, and things got much worse after that. Any need of simply proving them his worth most likely was replaced several years prior the events of the film by pure hatred and desire for revenge, which the sins increased when they took over.
    • His resentment and envy were no doubt exacerbated after his initial encounters with Shazam ("The wizard rejected me and chose him?")

    Freddy hanging out with Shazam in public 
  • I get they are kids having a good time, but isn't hanging out in public places and uploading Shazam-related videos on social media risky? What if some journalist wants to find out more about Shazam? I doubt Freddy is smart enough to mask his IP address. Dr. Sivana is in prison (for now), but any hacker or detective could track them down if he wanted to.
    • Some journalist did. In Freddy's Guide to Superhero-ing it's revealed he was contacted by the Daily Planet. Given what happened later in the movie, that contact was probably Clark Kent looking to contain the situation before Freddy and Billy attracted attention they didn't want.

    Billy abandoned 
  • How did Billy's mother just abandon him without hearing from the police? You typically get in trouble for that. Even if his birth wasn't registered, he knew his mother's name- couldn't be hard for the police to find her, given that a 10-year-old managed it.
    • The notebook of various names suggests Billy only knew their last name was Batson, not what his mother's first name was. The woman's door he knocks on in the beginning is named Rachel, while his mother's name is actually Marilyn. Doesn't really answer your overall question, though.
    • Related to the above, at the time of his abandonement, Billy was around three years old, which would make it difficult to provide the police with any useful information to link him to his mother. He didn't know her full name, probably didn't know their adress, either, he may have still not be attending school, etc. So unless he was walking around with his birth certificate and medical records inside his jacket, there was no way the police could identify who he was, and therefore, who his mom was. Especially if his mother or family never reported him as missing, which apparently, they didn't. There was just no way to link him to her, barring a DNA test.

     Sins' Battle Tactics 
  • Early on in the climactic battle, one of the Sins avoids Billy-as-Shazam's physical attacks by alternating between smoke and physical forms, so that punches, etc., pass through it. None of the Sins use this power for the rest of the battle.
    • It could be done early in the battle against a naive rookie, but it couldn't be done later on with the Shazam family.
      • It never failed, so there was no reason to stop using it. Besides, Billy-as-Shazam was not a rookie, and the Shazam family was.

  • So the wizard Shazam needs someone with a pure heart. Wouldn't the innocent, all-loving Darla make for an obvious candidate?
    • She does seem to fit, however, we don't know the full criteria of the summoning spell. It could have a minimum age requirement so Darla didn't qualify. Also we don't know the mechanics of how the spell conducts its search. Darla may well have been a potential candidate but the spell's "sorting algorithm" got to Billy first.
    • Part of the point was that the Wizard's methods were inherently flawed. Anyone would have failed the test; Darla might have lasted longer than Thad, but it wouldn't have been enough. Likewise, it's made clear that Billy would have failed if he had been given the opportunity, since he immediately starts using his powers for personal gain. But he has his family to help him improve and work past his flaws.
  • Darla would be ideal, but she's too young. The Captain Marvel mythos brings up the fact that a child isn't supposed to wield the magic, and in recent years the characters have been aged to being angsty teenagers.

    Achilles and Freddy 
  • I can understand how the powers of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus and Mercury go to Billy (wisdom), Pedro (strength), Mary (stamina), Eugene (lightning) and Darla (speed), but how does the courage of Achilles enable flight to Freddy?
    • Nothing in the story said that Billy split his supernatural patrons among the Marvel Family and they only got a single god/hero to empower them. They share the power of SHAZAM and have the full Flying Brick power-set. It's just that their SHAZAM forms are idealized representations of their characters so they tended to easily/immediately manifest powers that resonated with them. Darla is a cheerful, kinetic child so hyper-speed came easily to her. Eugene loves his electronic video games so the lightning powers are easy for him. Pedro was interested in lifting weights so he immediately shows off his strength. Freddy has a disability regarding mobility and mentioned earlier that flight was the trademark power of a Superhero so, of course, he is the first to fly.
    • Right, consider that it took Billy a couple days of testing to figure out all of his powers, while the rest of the family has to figure it out in seconds at the start of the fight — therefore, they just do what comes naturally to them.
    • Assuming you have to assign one letter per family-member, I would have gone with Courage for Billy (who despises bullies and stands up to them even though he's usually fairly self-centered) and Wisdom for Mary. I'm still at a loss to explain how Stamina equates to flying, unless he can do it for a really long time.

    Sivanna's goal 
  • The Sins tell Sivanna to kill the Champion in no unceratin terms, simply because he's the only one who could stop them. Sivanna finds Shazam and quite confidently kicks his ass - we see that Shazam is not invincible against him. But then the plan suddenly changes to "coerce Shazam into transferring his power into Sivanna". Why? What powers was Sivanna previously lacking that necessitated this change?
    • None. But remember which of the Sins is in Sivanna the most — Greed.
      • It was Envy that was the last to leave Sivanna, not Greed.
    • Oops. Still applies, though — he's envious of Shazam's power and wants it for himself.
    • It's both god and demon power, would the two conflict?
    • Who knows? Maybe? It doesn't really matter as to the question.

    Sivanna vs. the wizard 
  • Why were both Sivanna, Sins and the wizard so inactive during their altercation? The wizard lets Sivanna grab the Eye (it's not like he has no powers - he tries to zap Sivanna immediately afterwards), and neither Sivanna, nor the Sins think of killing the wizard to ensure he doesn't transfer his power to anyone. Sure, the wizard might've had impossibly high standards before that, but with the Sins unleashed, you don't need the benefit of hindsight to realise that he'll get desperate and choose the next shmuck the seeking spell brings him, just to have a chance. So why keep him alive?
    • The Sins just wanted out of the Rock of Eternity. And both the Sins and Sivana felt that the Wizard was never going to find anyone good enough, so the odds were good that he'd die without passing on his power. The power'd die with him, but it couldn't be used against them at least.

     Random disintegration 
  • How come Dr. Crosby seems to be the only one effected by the door?
    • She's the skeptic who touched the magic, right? At least Sivana kept some distance from it.
    • Watching the scene again, she puts her hand directly on the runes that Sivana had just written, activating them and disintegrating her at the same time. Sivana had the good sense to avoid touching the runes and only touched the doorknob (and even then with some hesitation).

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