Summary: SHAZAM! is great entertainment for children – with a message! It gives them top quality political indoctrination. Good news: he rescues no girls in this film (they can take care of themselves)! Here is my review, with a few spoilers.
Review of SHAZAM!
“We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out.”
Boomers were raised on fun instructional films such as Donald Duck In Mathmagic Land and Infinite Acres (intro calculus). Modern America has more important concerns than teaching reading, math, and morals. Children must be woke. SHAZAM! shows that Hollywood has risen to the challenge.
The bottom line to Shazam!: kids will love it. But first we saw a commercial (or an instructional video for boys?) about a blind date from Hell. The woman was ugly, focused on her phone, and rude. The man just sat there and took her abuse, smiling (see it here). Then came the trailers. They began with My Spy about a skilled CIA agent – a big, strong guy (Dave Bautista) – who partners with a 9-year-old girl. Of course, she is the smarter and more capable of the pair. The second trailer, for Long Shot, showed a Secretary of State (Charlize Theron) dating a beta (Seth Rogen). Hilarious and romantic!
Eventually the main act began: SHAZAM! The acting and cinematography were top-notch. The 3-D was great. In ten more years, 2-D films will seem like cartoons. Even so, the messages were the most interesting part of the film. It gives our children’s minds another push to the Left.
Teaching the hierarchy of superiority in America.
SHAZAM! teaches children many lessons. Most obviously, it teaches that life is about race and color – in a strict hierarchy.
The film opens with a white family. The father verbally abuses the younger son, as does the older brother. Then we see another white family. The dad is a crook. The mother abandons her young son at a carnival. Eventually the boy meets a wise caring social worker – a black woman. She places him with a wonderful family (a real family, unlike his biological one), with parents of color.
In SHAZAM!, children learn about America by watching the adventures of 14-year-old Billy Batson. His foster family teaches him the hierarchy. On top are the women and girls: slender, pretty, smart, and caring (Grace Fulton, playing the oldest girl, is going into STEM at Caltech). Next come the men of color – obese, and not as bright as the women. Except for the 12-year old Asian boy (Ian Chin) – who is in good shape, nerdish, and brilliant with computers (no stereotypes here!).
The two white boys provide the film’s theme: the usual combo comedy and wish-fulfillment power fantasy. Billy is a dufus. He slowly, with many fumbles, learns to use his powers (but recklessly, almost killing people). His first attempt at being a hero is rescue of a girl being mugged. But the screams are by the mugger, whom she has maced (modern girls do not need to be rescued).
Billy and his handicapped foster brother (Jack Dylan Grazer) use Shazam’s great power to steal. Eventually Billy meets the big bad guy: a rich middle-aged white guy (of course) with evil superpowers. Billy shows cowardliness. The film’s character arc shows both boys growing to become heroes by the end of the film.
Big spoiler: the girls and boys of color receive power later in the film. They instantly become competent – and heroes. Victory!
Since Hollywood produces so few films for young children, this will be a big hit. Justly so. The kids will love it. It combines a light humorous tone, constant action, and fun fight scenes. There is one scene of gratuitous mass violent murder, oddly out of synch with the rest of the film.
The big lesson from SHAZAM!
SHAZAM! is all about family. Not real families, with biological bonds. A government-issued families. At the film’s climax, Billy accepts his new family.
This has been a message sold by Hollywood two generations. In their products, the big event for real families is often their dissolution through death, abandonment, or divorce. The people at work are your family. Random collections of people randomly join together and become a family. How desperate must Americans have become for this fare to satisfy their natural urge for deep connections to other people?
There is no mystery about the reason for this anti-family propaganda. Revolutionaries hate the family. First they break the family, then they restructure society. As Jesus, one of the first and biggest insurgents in recorded history, said in Luke 14:26: If you come to me but will not leave your family, you cannot be my follower.
In America both Left and Right cooperate to destroy the family. This has atomized the Republic’s citizens, making them isolated and malleable. Allan Bloom described this problem 30 years ago in Closing of the American Mind.
“The important lesson that the family taught was the existence of the only unbreakable bond, for better or for worse, between human beings. The decomposition of this bond is surely America’s most urgent social problem. But nobody even tries to do anything about it. The tide seems to be irresistible. Among the many items on the agenda of those promoting America’s moral regeneration, I never find marriage and divorce. …
“A true political or social order requires the soul to be like a Gothic cathedral, with selfish stresses and strains helping to hold it up. Abstract moralism condemns certain keystones, removes them, and then blames both the nature of the stones and the structure when it collapses.”
Stories about superheroes have become the largest entertainment genre for children. This is a new development. I do not know why. I doubt a steady diet of these stories helps them become better citizens or better people. It is junk food for the mind and soul. SHAZAM! is high quality junk food for the young.
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Trailer for SHAZAM!
19 thoughts on “SHAZAM! It’s fun indoctrination for kids.”
I think your review is pretty accurate. Especially, the propaganda aspect of White Folks being bad parents and the mixed foster family being superior. I am adopted and my biological family is mixed- African American and White. I know I beat the odds greatly getting the family that I got. There is no doubt in my mind about that I am truly blessed in regards to what family I got.
But there are moments when I do wonder what my birth parents are like. I can relate to Billy Batson’s desire to find his biological Mother, that is normal, and if I had been his age when I was adopted I probably would have spent what resources that I had trying to find them to rejoin the only family that I knew.
What I found disturbing was the repeated message that White parents, both the Villains and Heros’, were so flawed and lacking in common sense and the ability to rise to the challenge of raising kids that they both laid the foundation for them being Monsters, with one bad day.
I don’t agree with that at all. While I know there are many great adoption and foster families out there the odds of getting a good one comes down to luck and such situations have unique obstacles for every individual make there peace with to be successful.
In short, I found myself cringing at times with the way the movie presented family dynamics.
Thank you for sharing your experience with these matters, and your views of the film!
“I don’t agree with that at all. While I know there are many great adoption and foster families out there the odds of getting a good one comes down to luck and such situations have unique obstacles for every individual make there peace with to be successful.”
As the product of one of these situations, one of the largest obstacles was being reminded incessantly that it wasn’t a “real family.”
I understand, of course, the idea about presenting a biological family as corrupt etc. but I certainly hope the preservation of the Republic must not be done by making sure to remind children whose parents died that they are now lessened in ways other than the obvious loss.
“I certainly hope the preservation of the Republic must not be done by making sure to remind children whose parents died that they are now lessened in ways other than the obvious loss.”
That’s missing the point quite seriously. Working to destroy biological families while pretending that other forms are just as good – despite the voluminous evidence that they are not – is quite mad.
I speak as a former social worker, who has seen good liberals at work building a New America.
“Stories about superheroes have become the largest entertainment genre for children. This is a new development. I do not know why.”
Technically, this is a reversion to the norm. Larger-than-life characters dressed in iconic garb embarking on daring adventures always appealed to boys, whether it was Superman or Doc Savage or John Carter.
The more interesting question is why superheroes have become the dominant paradigm of entertainment among the 18-39 year old demographic, especially odd considering the popularity of the original medium has been in severe decline for decades.
“Larger-than-life characters dressed in iconic garb embarking on daring adventures always appealed to boys. whether it was Superman or Doc Savage or John Carter.”
That’s a category error, conflating “larger than life” with “superpowers.” Doc Savage did not have superhuman abilities (he was a Bruce Wayne-like guy). Science fiction characters John Carter were a small niche (several attempts to feature him in a comic book failed) – although he was a superhero, with his immortality, ability to use astral projection to move between Earth and Mars, and extraordinary strength while on Mars.
Western cowboys and gunfighters, detectives, soldiers, explorers, and scientists were more common heroes for children. This started to change, I believe (guessing) in the 1960s. By now they dominate children’s (at least, boys’) imaginations.
It would be a category error if I implied Doc Savage had superpowers. Many superheroes lack superpowers; their status as “superhero” is defined by their vigilante methods and unusual combination of skill and tenacity.
“Science fiction characters like John Carter were a small niche (several attempts to feature him in a comic book failed)”
In Carter’s case, inveterate squabbling delayed its initial release date until the day of Pearl Harbor. Bad timing for a romanticized sojourn told about a one-man army. Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon were very popular in their heyday a decade earlier.
Overall, I hypothesize “hard” science fiction’s priorities of world-building and teasing out ideas lead to a lack of memorable characters (to young kids anyway). Comics are first and foremost about clearly defined protagonists and antagonists, and it’s usually the space opera – which neglects the abtruse questions of “hard” sci-fi – that provides those pillars.
“Western cowboys and gunfighters, detectives, soldiers, explorers, and scientists were more common heroes for children.”
Comic book writers understood this and commonly infused their heroes with aspects of those archetypes. The original Fantastic Four were explorers led by a hyperintelligent scientist. The nascent portrayals of Batman stressed his crime-solving abilities to an extent that would be neglected past the mid-80’s. Superman functioned as protector of the American people, scientist, and interstellar traveler for decades, et cetera.
It’s hard for me to discern. The first wave of superhero popularity began in 1938 with the creation of Superman and lastly until roughly 1949. It was superseded by pulp fiction featuring detectives, cowboys, and whatnot. Men’s adventure magazines found their footing in the late 40’s and lasted until 1973-1974. The science-fiction boom took off in the mid-1950s and overlapped the reinvigoration of comics during the Silver Age. You can see the heavy influence of the former in the first Marvel properties, both in origin story and profession. Obviously the Western predated the superhero genre and enjoyed far greater representation in film and television.
Were pure scientists ever popular role models among boys in the 20th century?
“their status as “superhero” is defined by their vigilante methods and unusual combination of skill and tenacity.”
Well, that’s your definition. I don’t believe superman fits — he makes what are in effect citizen’s arrests. I don’t think he shows unusual skill or tenacity. Ditto Wonder Woman, and others (esp during the comics code era – when even Batman became “the world greatest detective” instead of a vigilante. But these are fantasy characters, so they exist more in our minds than elswhere.
“Were pure scientists ever popular role models among boys in the 20th century?”
I don’t know about “pure.” But yes, many were scientists. Much sci fi was written for young adults, and often featured scientists (e.g., EE Emith’s Skylack series). Then there was Tom Swift, first published in 1910 – and still going.
You are The Real Victim because pop culture marketers no longer exclusively pander to the tastes and desires of your aging demographic. Sure bud.
Can you make a rational rebuttal to the post? Or at least one that gives evidence that you read it (more than the title)?
Spot on review and great insight into the meta-messages (and not so hidden messages) in the film. It should be obvious to the viewer, but after being led along this far, perhaps these are the commonly accepted memes these days.
As far as Luke 14:26, it’s far more drastic than merely leaving your family. Actually Jesus said to hate your family (and even your own life). It has to be that he was speaking in hyperbole, and not literally, in order to make a point about priorities. What do you think? (The text in the NIV is “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”)
“Random collections of people randomly join together and become a family. How desperate must Americans have become for this fare to satisfy their natural urge for deep connections to other people?”
Larry, you speak about Super Heroes movies, correct, but, what are the biggest hits TV show nowadays? Before, we used to have The Prince of Bel Air, or the Cosby Show, or Family Matters…
Now, it’s just shows about drum rolls : Friends! How I Met your Mother or the recent The Big Bang Theory. Even Two and a Half Men, I happened to call it was it was: A gay couple and a kid. It happened later in the show, where Alan marries the new guy played by Ashton Kutcher, in replacement of his brother, Charlie Sheen.
Anyway, so yeah, that’s what it is about your new family model.
“Now, it’s just shows about drum rolls …”
These days, if it is not in the Urban Dictionary, I don’t know what it means (I’m two generations behind the cutting edge). “Drum rolls”?
“Anyway, so yeah, that’s what it is about your new family model.”
I hate to say this, risking appearing dumb, but are you agreeing with me?
I was agreeing with you, yeah!
You don’t know what drum rolls are? And I thought I was old!
By drum rolls, I meant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itAOGRiYRLI
You know, they play drum rolls before making a revelation.
Thanks for that explanation! Now it makes sense; I didn’t get the context.
Sorry about the incomprehension, sometimes, my English has struggles… (Only my 4th language)
Your comment – albeit in your 4th language – was quite clear! I was slow to understand (albeit in my first and only language).
You forgot to mention the Jewish lobby and Sionism propaganda in that movie. The bad people are the white……Happy to have downloaded the movie, free of charge……
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