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Recap / SHAZAM! (2019)

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This is a plot summary for the DC Extended Universe film SHAZAM!.

Plot Synopsis

In 1974, a young boy named Thaddeus Sivana is in the car with his uncaring, cold-hearted father and cruel brother Sid who both openly express disdain towards him. Sid picks on Thad for believing in the luck of a Magic 8 Ball. Suddenly, Thad finds himself alone in the car, which is moving much too fast, and is terrified and has no idea what's going on. When the car stops, he exits to find himself in a dark underground cave setting known as the Rock of Eternity, and is approached by an elderly bearded man, a powerful wizard named Shazam who seeks someone worthy to become his "champion". The elderly Wizard is being burdened by the Seven Deadly Sins, who reside right next to his throne, and must find someone before he dies to become his successor. However, Thad gives in to the Sins' temptations and takes the Eye of Sin instead of the staff; as a result, Shazam angrily tells Thad that he will never be worthy of becoming his champion, and launches him back into the car with his father and brother. There, Thad screams over being rejected, wishing to return, and his father is distracted, causing them to collide with another car and resulting in his father becoming paralyzed. Sid blames Thad for the incident. Thad then finds his 8 Ball telling him to "Find Us", coming from the Seven Sins.

Fast forward to present-day 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: a 14-year-old boy named Billy Batson tricks two police officers into walking into a store before locking them up so he can access their police cruiser’s database, finding and writing down information about a “Rachel Batson”. Billy has a flashback to the last day he was with his mother: he was begging his mother (whose first name he does not remember) to win him a stuffed tiger for a balloon dart game booth at a carnival, but she could only win a compass. After accidentally dropping the compass, he was separated from his mother while trying to get it back and couldn't find her at all, and eventually the police found him. They also couldn't find his mother, and send him into foster care. In the present day, we see that the woman named Rachel is not Billy's mom, and he is caught by the same police he deceived. Billy is running from every foster home he is sent to, with his record going up to 23 now. He is brought to a foster home run by the Vasquezes, and meets his new foster siblings: Eugene Choi, Mary Bromfield, Darla Dudley, Pedro Pena, and Freddy Freeman, the latter of whom shares a room with Billy. Freddy becomes the most interactive with Billy, showing him around the school that the foster siblings attend.

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A now grown-up Thaddeus Sivana, who has grown obsessed with returning to the Rock of Eternity, draws up equations that finally allow him to do so. There, he steals the Eye of Sin, allowing him to gain command of the Seven Deadly Sins so he may unleash them upon humanity. Gaining the Eye allows Sivana to collect magic powers of destruction (and as a minor bonus, it even cures him of his impaired vision that required him to wear glasses). As retribution for the Wizard rejecting him and setting him onto his dark path, Sivana shocks him with his own lightning, ignoring the Wizard’s pleas not to spread the Sins to humanity. Sivana retorts that, when it comes to finding a successor for the Wizard who is pure of heart, “No one’s worthy.”

At school, Billy and Freddy are attacked by the Breyer Brothers, two aggressive bullies who hit Freddy with their car and assault him. After Billy stands up for him and sucker-punches the bullies, they begin chasing Billy, who escapes into a subway station. In the subway car, Billy goes through the same experience Thad did and is met by the Wizard, who is now dying from the injuries he sustained from Sivana. The Wizard asks Billy to absorb all his powers and laments he has nobody else to turn to, fiercely pressuring Billy Batson to succeed him by absorbing his powers through the staff and saying “Shazam”. Billy reluctantly does so, and is transformed into an adult man wearing a strong red suit with a cape that has a lightning bolt insignia on his chest. The wizard offers him his staff, then crumbles to dust in front of him. Billy throws off the staff (not knowing why the wizard gave it to him) and returns to the foster home to tell Freddy about his transformation.

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Sivana arrives at his father’s workplace, an economically thriving conglomerate company called SIVANA INDUSTRIES, to exact his revenge on his rich, elderly father for blaming him for the accident and neglecting him as a son as well as giving special treatment to his brother Sid. As Thad starts chiding his father, Sid threatens to kick him out physically. With his newly gained powers, Thad throws his brother Sid out the window to his death, then unleashes the Seven Deadly Sins upon the Sivana Industries board of directors to devour and mutilate them. They save Thad’s father for last, who starts wailing for help. Unable to flee, Thad’s father attempts to bribe him with money and total control of the company in exchange for not killing him. Thad dismisses the bribe, chiding his father that money is what corrupted him in the first place, and allows Greed to tear his father to shreds. The Sins then tell Thad that the Wizard has chosen a Champion, and Thad is determined to hunt him down and take his powers, which he believes are rightfully his, for himself.

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Billy discovers newfound powers such as lightning bolts, super strength, immunity to bullets, durability, and speed, and that he can switch between his teenage self and superhero adult self by saying the word “Shazam!”. Billy tries using his powers to stop crime, but as a kid who doesn't really know what he's doing, he doesn’t handle it very well, rushing to the aid of a woman who didn’t need his help warding off a mugger after her purse, and then shattering the window of a convenience store by tossing two would-be robbers through it. Furthermore, Billy and Freddy also start skipping school to test the former's powers; Freddy films these tests and starts posting them on YouTube, earning Billy's superpowered form some moderate fame as Philadelphia's own superhero. They mostly use Billy's powers for personal gain, such as visiting adult-entertainment clubs, hacking ATMs for cash (buying luxuries such as televisions, strip clubs, buffalo wings and video games with the money), and emptying out soda vending machines; however, they also occasionally try to help other people by doing them minor favors such as charging their phones and stopping small-time criminals.

Unfortunately, Billy starts to let his newfound powers go to his head. Then, one day, Freddy—tired of the Breyers repeatedly picking on him—boasts to the whole school that he is best friends with the superhero and promises to bring him to lunch the next day to prove it. This leads to an argument between Billy and Freddy, since Billy feels that Freddy is becoming clingy and is annoyed that, after Freddy previously insisted that Billy keep his identity and associations secret to avoid anyone in his life becoming collateral damage, he went back on this as soon as it suited him. Billy skips school again the next day to goof off with his powers, leaving Freddy to fend for himself against the Breyers, who give him a “suitcase wedgie” after the superhero does not show up for lunch. After school, he finds Billy showing off his lightning powers, and as he confronts him, Billy accidentally triggers a lightning bolt that strikes a bus’s wheels, forcing him to catch the bus with his own hands and bring it down onto the ground, with the bus passengers too traumatized to thank him for it. Freddy calls Billy out on his newfound arrogance with his powers and how the latter is now much more concerned about busking money from civilians than actually using his powers to help people, and storms off.

As Billy tries to shrug this off, he is approached by Sivana, who assaults him with punches. Billy does attempt to fight back, but Sivana proves to have the upper hand. He carries Billy high into the sky and then drops him, but just as it looks like Billy will fall to his death, he develops the ability to fly. Freddy sees this as well, but their delight is short-lived before Billy is tackled into a shopping mall by Sivana. The shopping mall attendees flee, and Billy turns off his Shazam-mode and reverts to his teenage self to blend in with the fleeing crowd and avoid Sivana. Sivana then spots Freddy looking for Billy at the same time that he sees a TV news clip of Freddy and Shazam-Billy arguing, realizes that the two are friends, and captures Freddy. Meanwhile, Billy arrives back at the foster home, where Victor and Rosa, his foster parents, have learned that he's been skipping school and harshly scold him. The rest of Billy's foster siblings, having figured out that he is the superhero, come into his room to comfort him, and reveal that Eugene has used his computer skills to find the real name and location of Billy's biological mother: her name is Marilyn, and she still lives in Philadelphia. Billy immediately runs from the house to go find her, with Victor and Rosa pursuing him in concern; soon after they leave, Sivana arrives with Freddy, having forced him to give up Billy’s location, and takes the rest of the foster kids hostage as well to use them all as bait for Billy.

Billy arrives at the subsidized housing building where Marilyn lives and tells her who he is, but she shies away from his attempt to hug her and reveals that, after losing sight of Billy at the carnival and seeing him with the police, she deliberately didn't claim him and left him there because she felt she couldn’t parent him with all of her own problems and that he would be better off with the state. Billy is heartbroken, but accepts this and claims that he just came to let her know he's doing okay, returning the compass she gave him and stating that he needs to get back to his "real family". However, as he leaves, he gets a phone call from Sivana (with Freddy’s phone) revealing that he’s captured Billy's foster siblings and demanding that he return home if he wants to save them. Billy switches back into his Shazam form and flies home to find Sivana using the Seven Deadly Sins (in demon manifestation) to threaten the kids. Sivana forces Billy to return to the Rock of Eternity and pass the Wizard’s powers on to him. Just as Billy is about to do so, Freddy—who, along with the other kids, followed them to the Rock—tosses the Batarang at Sivana’s head, and Billy stabs Sivana in the back with it, allowing him and the foster kids to escape to the same strip club that Billy attended earlier, and then flee to a nearby Christmas carnival.

Unfortunately, Billy begins to attract unwanted attention at the carnival, so he reverts back to his teenage form; Sivana sees the lightning bolt from his transformation and arrives at the carnival to search for him. He mercilessly attacks the carnival attendees (which include the Breyer brothers) to force Billy to come out of hiding, as he figures Billy will fight for the innocent people, and Billy does indeed transform again to fight him. Sivana and the Sins once again catch the foster kids and hold them hostage, but just before Billy is forced to give up his powers, he remembers the Wizard's words to him about filling the other empty thrones at the Rock of Eternity; with this epiphany, he swipes the staff out of Sivana’s hands and instead shares his powers with his siblings, who are all given their own superpowered forms that enable to battle off the Sins and rescue the carnival attendees while Billy fights off Sivana. Freddy also saves the Breyer bullies in time by giving them suitcase wedgies. Billy manages to goad Envy—the one remaining Sin who still resides in the Eye of Sin—into leaving Sivana's body to attack him, which leaves Sivana powerless. Billy expunges Envy with lightning, saves Sivana before he falls to death, and extracts the Eye from him, using it to re-seal the Sins at the Rock of Eternity.

Billy fully embraces his foster parents and siblings as his family, and goes back to attending school regularly. In the final scene, Freddy's siblings all join him for lunch, and they're soon joined by Billy in his Shazam form, who confirms to the other students that Freddy is his best friend. They are also joined by Superman, Freddy's biggest idol.

In prison, Sivana repeatedly tries to write out the formula on his cell walls to return to the Rock of Eternity, but fails each time. He then hears laughter; it’s coming from a green caterpillar-like creature wearing an audio speaker, Mr. Mind, who assures him that there are other means to regain his magic and that together they can claim the Seven Realms.

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