Shazam! (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

I remember seeing the first production stills of Shazam! online and thinking how awful/embarrassing our hero’s inflated muscle outfit looked.  Surely this was a joke and they were keeping his real superhero suit under wraps or inserting it digitally later in post.  Wrong!  Then something happened and I was like whoa this actually looks not only legit, but fun and hysterical as well.  That moment I speak of was when the film’s first theatrical trailer dropped.  Not only was the inflated muscle bound costume the real thing, but for the first time since I saw those stills I breathed a somewhat sigh of relief.  This feature looked like a blast on the cover.  Couple that with the initial wave of early reviews that were not only favorable, but claiming this was one of the best DCEU movies yet and you had my attention dripping whet with anticipation.  So here we are!  It’s Shazam! on 4K time!


Needless to say Shazam! has been in development hell for a very long, long time.  Many attached names have come and gone over the years, but here we are in 2019 and Shazam! is officially the seventh installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).  After the rocky reception of Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad I’m surprised we actually made it to a number seven here.  I guess we have Wonder Woman to thank for all that initially, but I digress.  Our superhero feature here is directed by David F. Sandberg from a screenplay by Henry Gayden.  The film stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, a teenage boy who transforms into our adult superhero, played by Chuck‘s Zachary Levi.  Actors Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer and Djimon Hounsou round out the package.  It’s also the first live-action film version of the character since the 1941 serial Adventures of Captain Marvel, which believe it or not is the character’s original name.  However, I digress too.  I’m not here to start a Marvel versus DC war.  We all know who the clear winner there is.

According to online research I conducted Shazam! takes place one year after Steppenwolf’s failed invasion in Justice League.  We follow troubled 14-year-old orphan Billy Batson as he moves in with the Vazquez family and their other five foster kids.  One fateful day, while riding on a subway car, young Billy finds himself transported to a different realm where he meets a wizard.  No this is not the Harry Potter universe.  Thank you New Gods for that!   This particular wizard gives Billy the power to transform into a godlike adult superhero simply by speaking the word “Shazam!”  The fun and games of this includes Billy and his new foster brother Freddy Freeman discovering Billy’s new powers and how to use them.  They better hurry though if they are to prevent the villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong), who has “seven” treacherous powers…um I mean “sins” of his own.

Here’s the deal folks.  I initially went into Shazam! both wanting and expecting to love it like I did every other DCEU film thus far (although I was initially not fond of Suicide Squad truth be told).  I left feeling utterly meh about the overall feature here.  I like my DCEU dark and brooding.  This one felt like I was watching a movie made for kids like maybe they got the Pokemon plot mixed up with this one.  I know.  I am not getting any younger and maybe the bah humbug in me is coming out here.  The crux of my story though is while there’s nothing to seriously harp on or ding this one in the story department the overall execution did very little to excite me.  I loved the fact that this takes place in the DCEU, but every chance they get I feel like the filmmakers belittled the 7 picture franchise.  If this is their idea of paying homage, then I’d rather they leave Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman as fictional characters in this tale.  The coolest Easter egg for me wasn’t DCEU related, but actually Annabelle affiliated.  Yes!  I went there.  Go figure!

While the story didn’t ultimately do it for me the performances are all splendid.  Zachary made a likable hero and Mark Strong took over the villain reigns like he never really died in Kick-Ass all those years ago.  The stars of the film for me weren’t even the heroes, but instead the foster kids.  They cracked me up (especially the adorable little girl), but outside of them I couldn’t help but feel that all the best parts of the film were all shown prior within the theatrical trailers.  Production-value was spot on and VFX looked solid, but those agonizing fights between Strong and Levi went on forever and like a novocaine shot numbed me after ten minutes or so.  I’d rather watch a half hour of Superman v. Zod crashing through buildings than watch another fight between Strong and Levi’s characters.  Yawn!

Again, for me the real star of Shazam!were the kids and the comedy.  Come to think of it though that brings me back full circle to my Harry Potter/wizard comment from a few paragraphs ago.  I guess one could logically collate the two and declare Shazam! the “Harry Potter” of the existing DCEU franchise (this one is for the kid in all of us).  It certainly fits the bill.  It has wizards, magic, monsters and above all else diversity in today’s PC world (not that there’s anything wrong with that…just pointing it out).  I was hoping a second viewing on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format would win me over a smidge more.  For now I’ll just settle on a score slightly above average.  It still feels like a kids movie to me.

P.S.  There’s a middle and end credits sequence here too.  You’re welcome!  Also, truth be told…I do feel like the minority here.  Everyone I know absolutely loves this one.  Maybe I’m just an old fart.  Bring on the Harley Quinn Birds of Prey movie.  Next February can’t come fast enough!


The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Warner Bros. Shazam!.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Dolby Vision: Yes
  • Resolution: 2160p
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.4:1
  • Clarity/Detail: Shazam! is all about clarity and textures here on 4K.  Things look exceptional.  Closeups, of course, bring out the best in everything.  However, I want to focus on the textures here like rust, gloves, corduroy and that Shazam costume itself.  It’s obviously chiseled, right?  Well duh!
  • Depth: There’s a lot of depth to be found throughout here like inside the “lair” where our wizard is first found and the doorway that takes you all there to the city streets, residential neighborhoods and more.  There’s also a crowd pleasing three-dimensional pop to the onscreen characters throughout.
  • Black Levels: The black levels are deep and natural here.  There are a couple sequences where things are a bit dark like when we first meet the wizard, but for the most part like at the carnival and whatnot sequences outside look crisp and prevalent.
  • Color Reproduction: There’s a bright and colorful look to everything here that’s very easy on the eyes and quite striking.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones all look natural in appearance.
  • Noise/Artifacts: This 4K presentation is completely clean with zero debris.


Like I mention up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of Warner Bros. 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Shazam!.

  • Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos – TrueHD, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French (Quebec) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
  • Dynamics: Make no mistake about it this one is all about the bass.  Oh sure things immerse you within this surround track, but it’s the bass that’s the real star here throughout.  As loud and rowdy as things do get nothing ever gets lost in the shuffle and actions onscreen go down with discreet priority across the soundstage here.
  • Height: The Atmos surround audio moments are noticeable in the score, the wizard slamming the staff down, a ceiling collapsing, a truck being thrown down from the sky, lightning and most importantly…whenever the word “Shazam” is muttered.  Boom!
  • Low Frequency Extension: As I made mention before the bass is pretty heavy hitting here in the score department, car crash, gun shots, window breaking and more.  However, it’s one event that happens many times that will make your jaw drop and take notice.  That is when the Seven Sins statues speak.  Holy wow!  The bass will rattle your house…in a very good way.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: There’s a lot of good stuff packed into the rear channels that immerses you such as ambiance, effects, score, random voices action and so much more.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue levels are all loud, clear and intelligible throughout the 4K presentation.  There are absolutely zero complaints here.  I never had an issue understanding a single spoken word.


The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release arrives with some really great supplemental material to tackle.  In fact I had a better time with enjoying the extras down below here than I did with the movie itself.  I always love the behind-the-scenes banter and visuals of how movies come together and these are no exception.  Heck just take a look at how many deleted and alternate scenes are below.  You could have made another movie there.  Ha ha.  Well anyway you have some materials to watch below, which if you’re a fan of this film, I strongly encourage you to make an hour or so of your time for.  I wouldn’t steer you wrong at all there.  Finally, yep there’s a Movies Anywhere Digital Copy to redeem as well that also features an audio commentary.  So let’s step through the supplemental features here on the Blu-ray Disc one-by-one and let you get acquainted with them all.

  • Shazam Exclusive Motion Comic (HD, 4:05) – “Superhero Hooky” is the name of this motion comic here.  I love this gimmick and even the drawings looked spot on with the actors here, but ultimately this one for me is the weakest of the bunch.  I just could not get into the 4-minute story here.  However, that’s on me.  Your mileage with this one may vary.
  • The Magical World of Shazam (HD, 27:09) – There’s a lot of green screen, wires and pre-visualization going on here.  Because of who the director is here and where he comes from explains why there is an Annabelle doll in plain sight within this movie.  It was interesting to learn that Zach originally auditioned for a much smaller role here.  We also get a look at the creation of the suit and how its a homage to the original character.  This was shot for three months of nights in Toronto’s wintertime.  It’s kind of funny to witness a suit malfunction too.  The bus in that one scene had its weight reduced to 18,000 pounds and that’s actually Zach underneath it all too.  The shopping mall segments and Philadelphia art museum sequences were interesting to learn about here.  Listen…there’s so much more cool stuff to talk about here, but I’ll let you all take it in.  If you watch only one extra, make it this one.  It’s incredible!
  • Super Fun Zac (HD, 3:19) – Apparently Zachary had a lot of fun playing Shazam and it shows in this extra.  He’s like a big kid with his enthusiasm and energy.
  • Carnival Scene Study (HD, 10:23) – This extra is all about the very big climax scene at the…duh…carnival!  It’s all about how big they made this one with the tremendous amount of action that goes down here.  They even bring in the stunt coordinator for Aquaman to help out.
  • Shazamily Values (HD, 6:06) – Obviously this one is all about the kids and the Shazam family they make up.  What I like about this extra here is how it takes the time to look at each family member and their superhero adult counterpart.
  • Who is Shazam? (HD, 5:42) – This one goes over the history and characteristics of the superhero of the hour here.  I never even knew the name Shazam is actually an acronym.  Wow!  Go figure!  This one also introduces our villain here Dr. Sivana who has also been around since the 1940’s.
  • Deleted & Alternate Scenes (HD, 37:27) – There’s is like another movie worth of scenes here.  Wow.  There’s even an option to play these with Director’s Intro and without.  The sequences here consist of Wizard Prologue, Alternate Beginning, Billy on the Subway, Alternate Intro to Group House, Alternate Dr. Crosby and Dr. Sivana Interviews, Billy Sneaks Out, New School With Darla, Sivana Christmas Party, Shazam and Darla Tea Party, Alternate Lightning With My Hands, Additional Montage Beats, Freddy Hung From Locker, Alternate Carnival Fight, Freddy Flies By Airplane, Family on Thrones and Alternate Ending Family Beats.
  • Gag Reel (HD, 3:16) – There are some funny moments here, but really it’s your usual gag reel stuff.


I believe this is one of those superhero films you either love for the goofiness and playfulness of it all, or you despise.  However, I did manage to find middle ground with it because of my love for the DCEU franchise of pictures.  There’s no denying what’s an extraordinary job Warner Bros. did with the audio and video presentations in this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Shazam!.  Really though was there ever any doubt?  Nah!  So you know who you are.  You’re a completist like me probably.  This movie belongs in your home media collection as much as it does in mine.  It also doesn’t hurt either that the extras are pretty darn entertaining.  Whatever your reasons are just say his name.  Shazam!  And oh yeah…hit up that pre-order link down below because how else you going to bring this one home?


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.  The images used above within the review are not actual 4K screenshots.  They are for illustrative purposes only.  



Brings All The Kids to the Yard on

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

July 16th





Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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