David F. Sandberg (“Annabelle: Creation”) directs New Line Cinema’s “Shazam!,” the origin story that stars Zachary Levi (TV’s “Chuck”) as the titular DC Super Hero, along with Asher Angel (TV’s “Andi Mack”) as Billy Batson, and Mark Strong (the “Kingsman” movies) in the role of Super-Villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. Peter Safran (upcoming “Aquaman,” “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle” films) serves as the film’s producer.

We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong).

“Shazam!” also stars Jack Dylan Grazer (“IT”) as Billy’s best friend and ultimate superhero enthusiast, Freddy, part of the foster family that includes Mary, played by Grace Fulton (“Annabelle: Creation”); Darla, played by Faithe Herman (TV’s “This is Us”); Eugene, played by Ian Chen (TV’s “Fresh Off the Boat”); and Pedro, played by Jovan Armand (TV’s “Hawaii Five-O”). Cooper Andrews (TV’s “The Walking Dead”) and Marta Milans (TV’s “Killer Women”) play foster parents Victor and Rosa Vasquez, with Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou (“Blood Diamond”) as the Wizard.

Firmly set in the DC universe but with his own distinctly fun, family-centric tone, the screenplay is by Henry Gayden, story by Gayden and Darren Lemke. Shazam was created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck. Christopher Godsick, Jeffrey Chernov, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia serve as executive producers.

Sandberg’s creative team includes his “Annabelle: Creation” director of photography Maxime Alexandre, production designer Jennifer Spence, editor Michel Aller and costume designer Leah Butler.

A New Line Cinema production, “Shazam!” is set for release on April 5, 2019. It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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Something occurred to me yesterday as I was posting this.

Remember how Captain Marvel Jr.'s magic words were "Captain Marvel," meaning he couldn't say his own name without transforming? Not a problem addressed in the Golden Age (as far as I know), but one that was played to the hilt in the modern age as the height of absurdity. (He called himself CM3, and then something else for a time. I don't remember the details.)

Well, now DC has dropped the "Captain Marvel" appelation. Too much trouble. They're just calling the guy Shazam now. Which means ...

Now Shazam, like Captain Marvel Jr., can't say his own name, or he'll transform. Right?

I don't care, personally. This looks awesome! For the first time since Wonder Woman, I am excited about a DC movie, and actually plan to see it.

Oh, I'm with you on that, dude. And I hope he lives in Fawcett City, and eventually meets a talking tiger.

But it occurred to me that trading one problem just gave them another. Unless they (wisely) just ignore it. Let Billy say "Shazam" conversationally, and only summon the lightning when he means it.

This one looks interesting but I, for one, am disappointed in the dropping of the name "Captain Marvel." A theatrical motion picture might have been the one way to educate hoi poloi of the character's proper name. that will never happen now.

I've heard this described as "Big, with superheroes." I never thought of Captain Marvel that way, but that seems to be the prevailing approach in comics these days, and now with the movie. Zachary Levi seems well cast, and there's a hint that Freddy Freeman will get superpowers in the future.

I wish them well. 

They seem to have subtly modified his powers so he won't come across as a Superman clone.

Captain Marvel starred in a serial, The Adventures of Captain Marvel, in 1941. Whiz Comics started at the end of 1939, so he'd been around a bit over a year when the first episode was released. According to Wikipedia Republic had wanted to make a Superman serial but couldn't because Paramount had the rights. The Paramount/Fleischer cartoons must have taken longer to make, as they didn't commence until later in 1941.

The "Big" approach makes sense to me. The character has never made any sense to me when he is written as a different person when he is Captain Marvel.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, TOW is taking preorders on  a new hardbound collection of the Monster Society of Evil story, set to ship in February.

Is that the original MSoE story, or the modern update by Jeff Smith? And if it is the original, will it be bowdlerized? Inquiring minds want to know!

TOW link here.  It's advertised as the original.  No word on bowdlerization.

I may have to buy that one.

I definitely will.  I've been waiting years to read that story.

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