Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Shazam! Movie Poster Image
 Popular with kids
Superhero comedy is charming, with some scary/violent parts.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 132 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 167 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 176 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Several positive messages for kids. Shows importance of having strong foundation in family, whether it's a biological one or a foster one (movie's example of loving, caring foster home is nice change from many representations). Main character might not have a lot of money, but he's rich in unconditional love and support from foster family. Meanwhile, main antagonist's wealthy family never supported him. Clear themes of teamwork, courage, gratitude, responsibility to the greater good, redemption, and selflessness vs. selfishness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Billy/Shazam's story is one of redemption, maturity. He learns to not just focus on himself but also think about others. He's finally able to accept love, give it in return. Freddy provides positive representation of teen with physical disability. The Vazquezes are kind foster parents who love and support their foster kids, expect them to respect and value one another.


Intense car crash near beginning includes character being thrown from the vehicle; some blood. Lots of superhero violence (much with slapstick tone, but some quite scary). Villain unleashes the potentially upsetting "Seven Deadly Sins" monsters out of his eye in a boardroom; they kill people in variety of ways. Some characters crumble and disintegrate disturbingly (one screams in terror as it happens); others are shot with guns, slammed against buildings, walls, concrete, etc. A character is thrown out of a window; another's head is bitten off. Lots of chases and pursuits, with big fights between Sivana and Shazam and later a climactic battle with more characters. Property damage. School bullies push Freddy to the ground; Billy punches them. Parents yell at, disparage children. A child loses his mother in a crowd, leading to permanent separation.


Shazam and Freddy go into a strip club twice, once by themselves briefly and once with the entire sibling gang (the oldest sister is shown covering the eyes of the youngest sister, but the boys look pleased and dazed). The scenes are comedic in tone. In one case, Freddy asks Shazam whether he saw any boobs. Some innuendo (e.g., Wizard: "Lay your hands on my staff." Billy: "Gross!").


Language isn't constant but includes "ass," "s--t," "hell," "sucks balls," "douche bags," "butt," "nuts," "you suck," "moron," "pee," "oh my God" and "Jesus Christ" (as exclamations).   In an on-air interview, a character curses a lot, but the words are always bleeped out. Middle-finger gestures.


Magic 8 Ball toy used as plot device. Lots of snack foods seen/consumed, including Fritos, Cheetos, etc. Characters drink lots of Dr. Pepper. Characters buy lots of media equipment; logos for Razer, Panasonic, Apple computers visible. References to Batman and Superman.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Shazam, accompanied by Freddy, buys beer at a convenience store; they try it later but immediately spit it out and go back for nonalcoholic beverages and junk food. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shazam! is a DC Comics-based superhero comedy that's like Big meets Superman because the main character is a 14-year-old who's given a magical gift. He can transform into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) whenever he says the titular magic word. There are definitely some dark moments, but this is still the DC Extended Universe's most lighthearted and tween-friendly film to date. Just be ready for lots of fantasy action violence, including a few deaths (some via disintegration), scary/disturbing "Seven Deadly Sins" monsters, gun use, chases/pursuits and crashes, property destruction, and big fights. Kids are also bullied. Language isn't constant, but characters do say "ass," "s--t," "oh my God," and more. And you can expect a little innuendo/suggestive humor, especially in scenes where characters go into a strip club. More serious themes include abandonment, disability, and more. But there are positive messages about the importance of family (the movie's example of a loving, caring foster home is refreshing), generosity, courage, teamwork, and standing up for others.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byblumerlamotte April 6, 2019

Unacceptably Scary

As other parents mentioned, CSM really missed the mark with this review and rated it as okay for younger viewers. This was definitely a PG13 movie and the Board... Continue reading
Parent Written byT B April 6, 2019


This movie should have been rated R. The trailer did not depict how dark and disturbing this movie was. We left early because it was too much. Take caution i... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written February 26, 2020

NOT as bad as people are saying!!

the only problem i could see, is that there is some profanity, but if your kid is smart enough not to repeat words that they hear then its fine. the violence is... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written by1201td April 7, 2019

An amazing teen superhereo movie has sex, language

Sex: at the beginning, before Billy gets his powers, an inappropriate joke is said, Wizard: ”lay your hands on my staff” Billy: ”Gross!” also twice there is a b... Continue reading

What's the story?

SHAZAM! centers on troublemaking 14-year-old foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who gets a last-chance placement with a large, diverse foster family. One day at school, Billy protects his new foster brother, Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), who has a physical disability, from bullies and ends up in the secret lair of a powerful but aging wizard (Djimon Hounsou). Suddenly the wizard gives Billy the ability to transform into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) by saying the word "Shazam!" In his new grown-up body, Billy tells Freddy what happened, and they start testing out Shazam's superpowers. Shazam thinks all he'll have to do is pose for pictures ... until he runs into Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), who seeks to destroy Billy in order to fully unleash monsters known as the Seven Deadly Sins on the world.

Is it any good?

This refreshingly delightful, lighthearted entry in the DC Extended Universe has enough charm for the whole family thanks to standout performances, broad humor, and positive messages. Considering the angst of most previous DC-based thrillers, this one is downright adorable, despite occasional moments of darkness. Angel and Grazer have a brotherly chemistry that Levi replicates with Grazer when he's Shazam. The storyline offers a rare look at a loving, stable foster family that consists of encouraging parents Rosa (Marta Milans) and Victor Vasquez (Cooper Andrews) and a diverse house full of kids, from  college-bound senior Mary (Grace Fulton) and gaming enthusiast Eugene (Ian Chen) to quiet Pedro (Jovan Armand) and adoring/adorable young Darla (Faithe Herman). Billy, who resents being a foster kid, may not see how amazing this family is, but audiences will.

Strong makes Sivana a formidable antagonist who has family issues of his own. His backstory somewhat humanizes him, even as his present-day actions show off his ruthless, power-hungry nature. With the exception of Envy, the Seven Deadly Sins aren't dwelled upon for their characteristics and are just grotesque monsters unleashed by Sivana. There's a climactic battle, of course, but this is no tear-jerking story; it's an uplifting one. Billy and Freddy learn what Shazam is capable of and why a supportive family is the most valuable superpower of all. When the foster siblings unite to take on bullies, they can't be defeated, and that's a happy message indeed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Shazam! How does it compare to what you've seen in other superhero movies? Do different types of violence have a different impact?

  • What character strengths do the young characters display? How does the movie promote teamwork, courage, and gratitude?

  • Why do you think body-changing movies are compelling to viewers? What are some other movies that tackle the subject of kids changing into grown-ups, and vice versa? What's funnier? Why?

  • How does the movie's portrayal of foster parents and homes compare to other media depictions of life in the foster care system? Besides Rosa and Victor Vazquez, what other foster parents are role models in films?

  • How does the film portray bullying? Does it feel realistic? How do the characters handle it?

Movie details

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