Despite its generic instrumental theme, its share of predictable jokes and its lack of truly memorable action sequences, SHAZAM! (about an adult super-hero that teenager BILLY BATSON can turn into) is an entertaining movie with a very charismatic performance by Zachari Levi. FREDDIE FREEMAN (BILLY's foster brother) is established as an expert in super-hero tropes... so why doesn't he seem to know the most basic rule? The identity has to be a secret, yet he constantly refers to the title character by his real name in public. Actually, don't people wonder who this kid talking one-on-one to the super-hero is? One of the sub-plots is that other kids at school don't believe FREDDIE when he claims to be friends with SHAZAM... even after they've been shown together in the news. The next couple of sentences also apply to the New 52 storyline that was published as a bonus in the JUSTICE LEAGUE comics:
The fact that BILLY's foster siblings become super-heroes too shouldn't have happened in the 1st installment. That's too early to alter the status quo of the characters in such a way. In fact, BILLY's decision to share his powers is meant to be connected to his acceptance of them as his family. It doesn't feel earned because BILLY's friendship with FREDDIE is the only one that's developed. In fact, why not write the plot in a way that BILLY & FREDDIE and maybe another kid are the only ones who've been adopted by ROSA & VICTOR VASQUEZ and the rest are adopted in the next installment?
The movie is a very faithful adaptation of said storyline and it has 2 improvements: 1) The number of antagonists is reduced. This makes the plot not feel over-crowded and it gives room for developing DR. THADDEUS SIVANA as a villain. 2) The time devoted to SHAZAM getting money, beer, junk food, etc. for him and FREDDIE on the night he tranforms for the 1st time doesn't take up more screen-time than what's needed. On the other hand, it's a shame that they removed the scene of BILLY telling the ancient wizard that 100% good people don't exist, prompting him to choose BILLY as the recipient of the super-powers since he has enough good in him. It added a layer of complexity that helps eliminate the basic "good vs evil" concept. There's also an original scene where MARY (BILLY's foster sister) says "I can't feel happy about getting into the college I wanted to, because I don't wanna move and abandon my family." What's the point? It's never addressed again.