Not A Review Of “Shazam!”

So recently I watched Shazam!, a documentary about the genesis and production of the classic television comedy Gomer Pyle: USMC. No, just kidding. It’s about Captain Marvel this guy:

My wife was immediately unimpressed by this particular character:

Wife: “I think I’m missing the gene.”
Me: “What gene?”
Wife: “The gene for liking super-heroes.”
Me: “But you like Tony Stark.”
Wife: “Because he’s Tony Stark, not because he’s a super-hero.”

She was curious about the time frame of the film, though:

Wife: “Is this set in the 1980s?”
Me: “No, it’s set in modern times.* Why?”
Wife: “It just seems like the 1980s. That looks like an 80s costume.”
Me: “Well, there was a show about him back in the 70s. Maybe you’re thinking of that?”
Wife: (looks at me like I’m insane)


Ooh, they’re calling him “Captain Marvel” again!

Yeah okay probably not. I don’t think even I watched that one. Anyway this movie was much more like a different outdated television super-hero show:

Me: “I’m getting a Greatest American Hero vibe from this movie. Did you watch The Greatest American Hero?”
Wife: (looks at me like I’m insane again)

Shazam! didn’t put my wife to sleep, exactly, but she tuned it out after about 15 minutes, only occasionally glancing at it afterwards, for instance, when I would call her attention to certain things:

Me: “Does the guy playing Shazam look familiar?”
Wife: “No, why?”
Me: “He played Midge’s doctor boyfriend in the second season of Mrs. Maisel.”
Wife: “Oh, yeah.” (goes back to tapping on phone)

So that tie-in with one of her favorite shows didn’t cut much ice with her.

Overall, I liked the movie, although not as much as, say, any random recent Marvel movie you might want to pick. As long as you don’t pick a Hulk standalone movie. Or Thor: The Dark World.

Me: “That was good, but not up to Marvel movie standards.”
Wife: “Yeah, it seems aimed kind of young.”
Me: “Kind of.”
Wife: “If you were twelve, you would have loved it.”

Incidentally, for those not in the know, “SHAZAM” is actually an acronym.  To quote from Screen Crush:

The wizard … selects Billy to inherit his powers, which are drawn from seven famous Greek gods and heroes, each with their own particular specialty.

The Shazacronym!

Although this is supposed to “explain” the name, I do have a few issues.

  • Solomon neither Greek nor a god nor a hero. If I wanted a Greek god of wisdom, I would pick Athena. Side benefit: Athena also knows how to fight.
  • I know Hercules is strong and stuff, but Atlas holds up, like, the entire cosmos for eternity. Which I guess is a pretty impressive feat of stamina, but it’s also an impressive feat of strength. Plus the task was put on him as a curse. Maybe Atlas’s attribute here should be “putting up with crap you don’t really want to do, for an infinitely long time”. Anyway I think Atlas can do double duty here.
  • It’s easy to be courageous when your mom dipped you in the River Styx to make you invulnerable. Maybe instead of Achilles we could have picked some random soldier who wasn’t, you know, (mostly) arrow-proof? How about Echemmon?
  • What’s Mercury doing on this list? That’s a Roman name. He should be Hermes.

So there you go. SHAZAM, your new name is AAZEH!


* 2019, for the edification of any intelligent cockroaches who rebuild civilization and rediscover the Internet** and stumble across this blog post a few million years from now.

** Once you discover the Internet, intelligent cockroaches, you’d do well to pull the plug on it again.

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