Shazam! showed off about 20-minutes of never-before-seen footage at the Warner Bros. lot, with ComicBook.com in attendance for the special look.
Warning: Spoilers from the Shazam! movie's first act follow!
While trailers and footage have not transparently explained to casual moviegoers what Shazam! is all about. However, upcoming trailers, including a new featurette which launched on Monday, will make it very clear that this is the story of an orphan granted the powers of Shazam and burdened with saving the world -- however, unlike most heroes, he is looking forward to the opportunity.
This will all be tremendously clear in the first act of Shazam!, as well. While the footage was incomplete in terms of visual effects, it was also chopped up to preserve a few surprises and spoilers. However, Billy Batson's journey was clearly set up to be a grand and fun time at the movies if this footage was any indication.
Shazam! will start off to the tune of Eminem's "Slim Shady" and Billy and his diverse family of orphans head into school. Classroom banter quickly establishes Asher Angel's Billy Batson as the introverted outcast, while his buddy Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Glazer) will never let a physical disability bring down his enthusiasm. A quick reference to Superman in the early minutes is followed by bullies rocking Freddy with their car and Billy standing up for what's right -- despite being a sure-thing to lose in a fight with bigger kids.
From there, Billy has no choice but to flee, and it's all tremendously entertaining, leaving us wanting more from the spliced sequence. When he narrowly escapes to a subway, he heads away from the chaos only to be transported to a scarier scenario. The passengers surrounding him turn to dust (ironically in a similar vein to Thanos snapping his fingers and erasing them from existence) and the train doors leave Billy to find the Rock of Eternity.
An interestingly costumed Djimon Hounsou introduces himself as the last remaining Wizard of the seven who possessed tremendous powers among the Council of Wizards and is quick to bestow Billy Batson with the powers of Shazam. The moment doesn't come without a history lesson which may or may not be loaded with a reference to Black Adam (who definitely is not in the movie, by the way) and the deep-running mythology of Shazam's powers.
An incomplete version of the scene makes it difficult for some comedy to land but it often does, nonetheless. It's clearly a light-hearted journey which is going to get straight to the point, only to pack an emotional gut-punch before it concludes.
Of course, after becoming the god-like Zachary Levi-version of Shazam, Billy rushes to his super hero-obsessed friend Billy's house to figure out the next course of action. Some hysterical trial and error leads him to discover tricks like lightning bolts, bullet immunity, super strength, and super speed -- each of which trigger hilarious moments both for the audience and characters within the film. For the hardcore fans, some Batman and Superman references are also sprinkled into the journey to enhance the experience in a way which won't make the movie reliant on its DC universe connections, nor will it hinder the viewing experience for those lacking such knowledge.
Before the footage came to an end, Shazam made his first heroic effort to save a woman from getting her purse stolen, only to overdo the efforts where they weren't really needed in the first place. This childish hero is like nothing the big screen has seen before and Warner Bros. will certainly have another win on its hand if Shazam! has as much heart throughout as it does in the footage shown to ComicBook.com.
Shazam! opens in theaters on April 5.