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Lego DC: Shazam - Magic and Monsters

Lego DC: Shazam! - Magic and and Monsters
Studio: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Format: Available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD
Home Video Release Date: Digital - April 28, 2020; Blu-ray, DVD - June 16, 2020
Press Release: Click here!

Synopsis: 10-year-old Billy Batson shouts a single word and, with lightning bolts flashing, he transforms into Shazam!, a full-fledged adult Super Hero. It doesn’t take long for Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and the rest of the Justice League to take notice and invite the earnest do-gooder to join the team. But to become a member, Billy must reveal his true identity. While fighting off the evil Mr. Mind and Black Adam, Billy learns that he must trust others – and that nothing creates trust like helping those in need. Join the good fight with this giant-sized DC adventure!

Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings franchise, The Goonies) leads a stellar cast as the voice of title character Shazam. Astin is joined by Troy Baker (Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman: Arkham Origins) as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Nolan North (Young Justice, Pretty Little Liars) as Superman/Clark Kent & Alfred, Grey Griffin (Scooby-Doo franchise, DC Super Hero Girls) as Wonder Woman & Lois Lane, Christina Milizia (Bunsen is a Beast) as Green Lantern Jessica Cruz, James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Close Wars) as The Flash & Dummy, Imari Williams (Transformers: Rescue Bots) as Black Adam & Teth Adam, Fred Tatasciore (Batman Ninja) as Lobo & Oom, Ralph Garman (Family Guy) as the Wizard, Zach Callison (Steven Universe) as Billy Batson & Jimmy Olsen, Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad) as Jeepers, Dr. Sivana & Crocodile Man, Jennifer Hale (Mass Effect franchise) as Mary Batson & L.N. Ambassador, Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as The Penguin & Perry White, Jonny Rees (The Lion Guard) as Mr. Mind, Erica Lindbeck (DC Super Hero Girls) as Greeter & Farmer, and Josh Keaton (The Spectacular Spider-Man) as Executive & Terrance.

Lego DC: Shazam - Magic and Monsters is produced by Rick Morales (LEGO Scooby-Doo!: Haunted Hollywood) and directed by Matt Peters (LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman – Rage of Atlantis) from a script by Jeremy Adams (Teen Titans Go! Vs. Teen Titans). Liz Marshall (Unikitty!) is producer and Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham By Gaslight) is co-producer. Sam Register and Jason Cosler & Jill Wilfert are executive producers.

Lego DC: Shazam - Magic and Monsters Review
Written by Andrei Logigan, Edited by James Harvey

Lego DC: Shazam - Magic and Monsters, as the title implies, properly introduces Shazam into this continuity with a story that is at the same time exciting, amusing and heart-warming. Shazam is a character that has a somewhat more light-hearted nature compared to other heroes, and as such is pretty much a perfect fit for the style and tone of a Lego adventure. Two popular voice actors associated with Shazam (and his alter ego, Billy Batson) return for this feature - Sean Astin and Zach Callison, respectively.

Following the events of Lego DC Comics Super Heroes - Batman: Family Matters, where Billy was first introduced and actually helped Batman on a mission, some time has passed as we now find Billy as the Big Red Cheese, Shazam. He's a new, all-powerful and overly polite super-hero whose antics eventually end up with him crossing paths with the Justice League. As such, the heroes find themselves going up against the Monster Society of Evil, a bizarre group of super-villains who provide some decent and amusing fight scenes. The villains are controlled by Mr. Mind, an alien caterpillar with mind-control powers, who desires tons of food and has his own plans for the Justice League.

In terms of how the film handles these characters, it feels true but somewhat comically exaggerated. Shazam is excited to meet his heroes, leading to plenty of comedic moments. His interactions with the other characters are fun, but he doesn't get all the good comedy beats. Batman manages to deduce Shazam's name is an anagram for the gods' names his powers derive from, doing so in a scene where his usual detective skills are hilariously beefed up, which fits in well with the tone of the movie and the characterization of this particular version of Batman. Shazam is ecstatic at their offer to actually join the Justice League. But there's a catch - one of the requirements for all members is for them to not be children. Shazam tries to hide the fact he is in fact only a kid, believing the others wouldn't trust him if they knew the truth. As a result, he declines the offer and seeks advice from his mentor, the Wizard (the one who offered him super-powers in the first place), which perfectly leads up to Shazam's big bad - Black Adam! The Wizard tells Billy about his previous attempt at creating a champion, who was corrupted by his powers and is now imprisoned on the Rock of Eternity.

When the Justice League is trapped by the Monster Society, Mr. Mind uses a special weapon to turn them into children so he can bring them under their sway. This leads to probably the only confusing aspect of this movie - the Lego figurines for the younger take on the heroes doesn't look much different from their usual designs, making it easy to forget they'be been de-aged to begin with. Back to the movie, Batman manages to escape, naturally, and teams-up with Shazam to save the others. Shazam also earns the Dark Knight's trust, enough for the latter to reveal his secret identity to him. It's a small moment, but it's also surprisingly effective and leads to some great character development for Batman.

With the Justice League now reunited, with Shazam by their side, Mr. Mind reveals his master plan of consuming all the food his minions have gathered, transforming him into a giant monster. After Shazam goes to the Wizard for help, Mr. Mind uses this chance to free Black Adam from his prison (there's a cool twist here I won't spoil, but it's a legitimately smart surprise). This leads to fisticuffs galore, of course, and the film keeps a few heart-warming (and ultimately satisfying) surprises for the end. Once again, these Lego titles end up giving us some of the best DC Comics-based stories out there, without a doubt.

To quickly touch on the home media release of Lego DC: Shazam - Magic and Monsters, the Blu-ray features a solid audio and video transfer. There is the odd color-banding and macroblocking here and there, but nothing distracting or noteworthy. Unfortunately, the only on-disc extra features are some Teen Titans Go! and Unikitty episodes, pretty slim, but the physical release is packaged with a nifty bonus Shazam minifig.

All things considered, the movie is a lot of fun. While most of the ideas featured here have been presented in various other Shazam projects throughout the years, the way all of these elements are successfully combined into one feature is pretty impressive. It's an enjoyable movie and a solid introduction to Shazam (or a good follow-up to the recent live-action Shazam! movie), and it's just bursting with charm. As with other titles in the Lego DC movie line, it's just a fun, accessible access point to these heroes, and it really brings out what's so appealing about them. Lego DC: Shazam - Magic and Monsters is another worthwhile entry to the line, and ideally it won't be the last, because I'm eager to see what comes next! Recommended!


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Lego DC: Shazam! - Magic and and Monsters is available to own on DVD, Blu-ray and for Digital Download from from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.