One look at the saturated colours in Zachary Levi’s Shazam costume and you would have no doubt that DC has completely switched tracks with this one. In a way, it is the most “Marvel” movie DC has ever made. This comparison is obviously warranted since Marvel has over the years successfully been able to carve a niche for itself and the films in the MCU, and in the process, distinguished themselves from the vast clutter of superhero movies out there, even though it may have itself contributing to the clutter with close to three releases every year at its peak. DC may have stumbled in the beginning in finding its footing, but now seems to have found its heading in a direction wherein it will focus on individual stories more than future team-ups and setting up tentpole films.
Following the success of ‘Aquaman’ last year when the film blew a storm across the ticket windows, DC’s latest offering ‘Shazam!’ offers little by way of universe building, but is a goofy little film on its own. For readers looking for a quick take on the film, it’s an absolutely harmless, no stakes comic book film; the kind of silly fun that the trailers promised? It’s all there. However, the bad news here is that the film never manages to rise above those low stakes and isn’t always as engaging, a frequent complaint I also had with a majority of the films set in the Marvel canon. Wait till the final section to read my full take on the film, but until then, we work on breaking down the ending, the most remarkable easter egg references, and the mid and post credits scenes for DC’s newest release, ‘Shazam!’.
The Ending, Explained
Since you are here, I am already assuming that you have seen the film and don’t care for spoilers. However, before delving into the ending, I would like to spend some time on establishing the Shazam mythos that is explored in the film. Although he is a relatively lesser known superhero among the standard DC lineup of superheroes, he regularly features in most of the newer publications set in the New 52 universe as part of the Justice League and other affiliations. Originally named Captain Marvel (yes!), Shazam is the superhero alter ego of Billy Batson, a kid who is endowed with superhuman powers when he speaks the word “Shazam!”. The same is also the name of the wizard who actually endows Billy with those powers at the Rock of Eternity, the residing place of the wizard, chair of the council of seven, and also the source of both his, and Billy’s powers when he transforms into his superhero self.
The name Shazam is the acronym of the names of gods Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury, with an essential power from each of them being bestowed upon the champion superhero. Thus, most of the characteristics of Shazam as a superhero stem from him basically being a kid inside an adult’s body, and while the film stays mostly true to the origins and roots of the character, it is those bits that are the absolute best ones in the film. The plot of ‘Shazam!’ has him square off against one of the character’s most revered enemies till date, Doctor Thaddeus Sivana. In the comics, Dr. Sivana is considered to be a mad scientist who wants to exact revenge on the world for shunning his ideas and inventions, and his attempts are obviously thwarted by Shazam (then Captain Marvel). In the film, Sivana is shown as a child who suffered emotional abuse at the hands of his father and brother, and is summoned by the wizard Shazam for his choosing as champion. However, the wizard decides against it when he sees malice at his heart, and Sivana instead becomes obsessed with returning to the Rock of Eternity. When he does so following years of research, he steals the eye of envy and allies with the seven sins, who use him as a vessel to come out to the world.