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'Shazam!' Director Compares the Movie to 'Ghostbusters'

By all appearances, Shazam! is going to be a pretty funny movie. The most recent teaser for the upcoming DC Extended Universe film has in particular highlighted that aspect with its "not so serious" tag and some genuinely funny moments featuring the titular hero. However, even with all of the lighthearted humor, Shazam! will have depth according to director David F. Sandberg, touching on darker subject matter without ever becoming too bleak.

It's that balance between the two, director Sandberg told reporters during a visit to the film's set, that gives it a feel similar to that of '80s movies -- including Ghostbusters, a film that it was recently announced will be getting a new sequel.

"It's a fun movie," Sandberg explained. "It sounds like a pure comedy, but it touches on some pretty dark subjects... I like to compare it to 80s movies like Goonies, like Ghostbusters and Back to the Future. Like, it's a family kind of movie, it's not dark and grim."

That description actually makes quite a bit of sense, considering that the film follows Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a foster kid whose life gets turned upside down when he's given the magic powers to turn into an adult superhero (played by Zachary Levi). The idea of foster care has some less than pleasant implications to it, especially for Billy as Sandberg has previously described the character's goal in the film to be finding his family.

"He's trying to find his family... His mom is still out there," Sandberg told ComicBook.com at San Diego Comic-Con. "But once he gets these powers, he's just trying to figure out what to do with them and how it works. For that he needs his friend Freddie, who is like a superhero expert, who helps him to discover his powers and how to be a superhero."

The family theme also makes it very much the family movie that Sandberg describes, something that carries over to the setting of the film.

"Yeah, it's all about family and like Christmas time and this family holiday," Sandberg said. "It's about finding your family ... with these foster kids and everything. So yeah, it's very appropriate for the story."

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Shazam! stars Levi, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Ron Cephas Jones, Grace Fulton, Asher Angel, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Caroline Palmer, and Andi Osho.

Shazam! releases on April 5th. Upcoming DC movies include Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020 and Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020.