The latest installment of the DC Extended Universe, Shazam, hit theaters this past week. Though it wasn't exactly a title that fans were clamoring for, it was nonetheless a fun and interesting detour from DC's typically gritty roster of superhero franchise revival flicks. And that's not a bad thing, to be clear – it's nice to see DC loosen up once in a while.
But if there's one thing we know about superhero films, whether from DC, Marvel or somewhere in between, it's that sometimes they don't quite add up. It can be a nonsensical plot point, a detail that doesn't fit, or a superpower that's just sort of lacking in explanation. In any case, the magnifying glass doesn't tend to play nice with this particular genre. And we tend to take notice of those things. Then we make lists out of them for you to read. No need to thank us, sir or ma'am, it's just what we do.
So with all that said, here are twenty-two things that we feel don't make any sense when it comes to Shazam – and remember, this is purely in the context of the film, so we're not taking any cues from the comic books here. As usual, let us know if there's anything we missed out on in the comments! And if you haven't seen the movie, this is your only warning – spoilers follow.
22 Why Is The Villain's Father Such A Jerk?
While there are some indications, the film really doesn't give us much context as to why Thaddeus' family is so completely, irredeemably bad towards him.
Sure, it explains some of Thaddeus' willingness to be the bad guy, but the behavior of his father and brother towards him is really poorly explained. Of course, his mother being totally out of the picture gives us some indication, but we're not given much else, aside from the idea that they're just bad people.
21 Finding Billy's Mom Wouldn't Be That Hard
It may seem a little petulant to bring up realism arguments when we're talking about superhero films, especially one as lighthearted as Shazam. But for this point, in particular, it's really difficult to pass up.
One major plot point for leading character Billy's story arc is his childhood separation from his mother, having lost her in a crowd. After that, he's put into the foster system. Yep, just like that. It's explained that she changed her name and just sort of gave him up. Needless to say, even had she actually managed to get her name changed that quickly, the authorities would've had little difficulty finding her and reuniting them. And if she had really chosen to give him up that easily, there would've been a lengthy administrative process requiring her direct involvement.
20 Billy Batson Should Be In Jail
One of the opening sequences introducing us to the character of young Billy Batson involves him trapping a pair of cops inside of a store so he can break into their car and steal information from their computer.
Once caught, he's simply released back into foster care. Although he's a minor, this is a pretty serious series of offenses that would've invited a lot more than a slap on the wrist, and that's if they were going easy on him.
19 Why Does The Doctor Melt When She Hits The Symbols?
When Thaddeus is puzzling his way back into the Rock of Eternity after all those years have passed, a female doctor in his employ slaps a wall inscribed with the symbols he's been studying.
As she does, she literally melts away in an impressive display of computer-generated special effects. While it looks awesome, we're never told why exactly this happens, as everyone else in the movie that interacts with the symbols or portals to the Rock of Eternity emerge completely and totally unscathed.
18 The Bullies Hit Freddy With A Car (And Nobody Cares)
Earlier on in the film, we're shown the dynamic Billy's new and extensive foster family has with the cool kids at school when a pair of bullies pull onto the sidewalk in front of the school and actually hit Freddy with their truck, bowling him over onto his back.
That's pretty mess, d up to begin with. But the real issue here is the fact that no one in the surrounding crowd seems to react with any sort of surprise or urgency, and the bullies don't really seem any worse off for it. I'm just saying that when someone in your vicinity actually gets hit by a motor vehicle, seemingly on purpose, you tend to raise an eyebrow at the very least.
17 Why Is The Wizard Roommates With The Seven Sins?
The Wizard Shazam is locked into eternal conflict with these seven demons, subdued and trapped within statues to prevent them from sowing chaos across the world unchecked. But unfortunately, while he's looking for a champion to inherit his powers, so are they, and the statues that they're confined to don't seem to prevent them from doing just that. They even tempt the people he brings in for, uh, superhero interviews, I guess you'd call them.
The Rock of Eternity consists of more than just that room, so why not stow them elsewhere? Even further, why continuously expose corruptible humans to their influence when he's trying to win them over? Anyway, doesn't the Rock have like, an attic or something? Seems like a better place to keep your immortal enemies than the office where you're interviewing all these "imperfect" mortals.
16 Billy's A Modern Teenager With No Social Media Presence
Oh yeah, you heard that right. I'll wait for you to recover from the initial shock. But Billy is a teenager in his prime with absolutely no social media presence to be had. Definitely the most baffling and confusing plot point in the history of film.
Really though, while it isn't completely beyond the realm of possibility, it's a little hard to believe. But as his foster brother Eugene puts it when they're trying to dig up some social media dirt on him, there's nothing to be found – "he's a ghost!" No Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, no online footprint whatsoever!
15 Everybody Notices The Suit, But Not Blown Transformers And Lightning
When Billy experiences his newfound powers for the first time, almost every single person he encounters has something to say about his superhero suit. And I mean, why wouldn't they? It's pretty difficult not to say something about it.
So, logically, you might expect some full-blown alarm and mass panic when he starts trying out his lightning powers. But the reactions, while there from time to time, are generally pretty tame. He doesn't even seem to draw much attention from people nearby when he manages to blow a power transformer with it. And when he walks around zapping cell phones for people in order to charge them? No one really seems that alarmed until one of them explodes from an overcharge.
14 Why Do People Keeping Getting Attacked In Billy's Immediate Vicinity?
Billy's given plenty of opportunities to put his powers to use for all the right reasons, right of the "Bat." Get it? Because of his last name? It's... you know, actually, nevermind. Not a good joke. Anyway, it all seems just a little too convenient, doesn't it?
I mean really, people just can't seem to stop being accosted, attacked, or robbed for his first ten minutes in the spandex suit. It's like he just has this aura that attracts ne'er-do-wells towards vulnerable people within a fifty-foot radius of his location. Oh, well. Hey. Maybe that's one of his powers? Doesn't seem like the most beneficial one to have, though.
13 Lightning Strikes Every Time Billy Transforms (Even Indoors)
Every time Billy shouts the word "Shazam," a bolt of lightning hurtles down from the sky to transform him into his heroic alter ego. And sure, that's pretty neat and everything, but the problem is that it works indoors as well.
The impact this has on whatever structure he's inhabiting is only showcased once, in his foster home, and is never once revisited, even when he does so in areas where it should be noticed or present some sort of issue – like when he's in school.
12 Billy Becomes YouTube Famous
"The Red Cyclone," as Billy's heroic persona becomes known, attracts a massive YouTube following as Freddy documents his exploits on video and uploads the clips to the popular media platform.
Despite the tremendous following they develop, not to mention the interest law enforcement entities might take in them given the content, Freddy somehow manages to stay completely anonymous as the uploader. And if that wasn't weird enough, he never seems to struggle with keeping his videos from being demonetized!
11 He Isn't "Pure Of Heart"
One of the primary characteristics that the wizard is seeking when it comes to passing on his powers is a hero that is "pure of heart," the issue that this presents is that Billy really isn't all that pure.
He's not a bad guy, that much is totally certain. But on multiple occasions, he can be seen utilizing his powers to entirely selfish, if not somewhat harmful ends. One prime example of this behavior is shown when he uses his powers to rob cash from an ATM machine. I mean, isn't "greed" actually one of the seven sins that gives Thaddeus his dark powers?
10 Does Shazam Still Need To Breathe?
Despite possessing near invulnerability thanks to his powers, you'd think that he still actually needs to take in oxygen in order to continue functioning. "Endless lung capacity" isn't on Freddy's checklist of superpowers when they're figuring out what all he can do, anyway.
It's a pretty important consideration at several points, like when he ascends to extreme altitudes during one particular confrontation with Thaddeus. It gets just a little bit difficult to breathe when you reach such heights, so it's a question worth answering.
9 What Happens To His Clothes When He Transforms?
Do they just disappear and magically reappear when he turns back into his normal, teenage self? This is particularly baffling when he's using his more grown-up looking alter ego to get himself and Freddy out of school, by posing as a parent for a security guard.
He disappears around the corner momentarily, transforms, and returns from around the corner in a matter of seconds, wearing a long coat to cover up his superhero suit and appear a bit more legitimate. This implies that he was already wearing a large enough coat as his superhero self, inviting another onslaught of questions concerning exactly how this wardrobe stuff plays out.
8 Some Of The Seven Sins' Designs Make No Sense
Yeah, some of them do make sense, but several of them really don't, being given designs that don't seem to take any cue from the "sin" that they represent. It's also totally possible that I'm just failing to see what exactly it is they're trying to do with some of them. Gluttony, for example, makes sense for what it is.
But then you have designs like "Greed," who really just seems to be... greedy for more arms, I guess? He's a pretty typical monstrosity apart from his extra limbs. Don't get me wrong, he's still plenty cool and scary, just not representative.
7 "Only Magic Hurts Magic"
The technicalities here aren't incredibly clear, though it's definitely mentioned as an absolute once Billy begins to learn that Thaddeus actually can lay a pretty significant beat down on him, even with his superpowers taken into consideration.
The environment, however, seems to phase him plenty. Whether he's falling from a significant height when attempting to fly, or crashing through buildings and needing to take a breather after unintentionally smashing into a dressing room. Sure, there doesn't seem to be any lasting damage, but it still visibly impacts him in a way that seems painful.
6 How Does The Villain Know Where They Went After Fleeing The Rock?
Omniscience must be one of the powers granted to Thaddeus by the seven sins, as he seems to know exactly where to find Billy and his foster family after they hastily retreat to a grown-up-oriented bar when Thaddeus confronts them in the Rock of Eternity.
Shortly after they make their escape and exit the establishment, Thaddeus appears right on top of them, having managed to find their exact location. Seeing as they could've conceivably wound up anywhere in the city, nevermind the whole planet, it seems too incredibly convenient that he'd first check for them there, and the whole bit goes unexplained as the action plows on.
5 He Can't "Shazam" Under Water
What exactly are the limitations for his transformation, anyway? During the action-packed lead up to the climactic showdown with his nemesis, Thaddeus manages to get one up on him by holding his face under the water while he's not transformed, and is his powerless, normal self.
He keeps yelling "Shazam!" while he's under the water, and quite intelligibly, all things considered. Alas, it doesn't work, and he's unable to transform again until he managed to get out of Thaddeus' clutches. So what's the rule? Does someone have to hear him? Does it have to hit a certain level of decibels? Can he do it in a soundproof room? If Billy "Shazams" in the forest, and no one's around to hear him... well, you know the rest.
4 He Can Share His Shazam! Powers
Yes, of course, it's a great nod to the "Marvel family" in the comic books. But it's a sort of tacked on "deus ex machina" moment with very little foreshadowing. Just when things seem hopeless for Shazam and the world at large, he remembers the wizard saying that there were "seven thrones" in the Rock of Eternity. So he makes the not-at-all-obvious assumption that he can also infuse all of his foster siblings with Shazam powers.
You'd think if this were such a major, and indeed, intended way to utilize the staff that granted him his power, the wizard might have... oh, I don't know, specifically told him that's how this deal works? No cryptic, indirect implication that's going to take him literally the entire movie to figure out. Heck, he could've beat Thaddeus as soon as they met and saved the whole city millions in property damage.
3 The Superman Cameo
The movie draws to a close with a heartwarming scene, during which Billy fulfills a promise he'd formerly broken with Freddy – show up to have lunch with him, as Shazam, at school, because... you know, superhero clout tends to boost your popularity among your peers like that.
He even does him one better by bringing Superman as his plus one. There's a Superman easter egg presented much earlier in the movie, but having him just show up is more than a little weird on several levels. Superman's current presence in DC is so much grittier and depressing than Shazam's that the two universes clash a bit. Then there's the more obvious question concerning how he got Superman to show up in the first place, and why he'd agree to it.
2 Shouldn't There Be Seven Of Them?
After Shazam realizes that he can gift others with a bevy of superhero powers, he shares it out among his foster siblings to form a team big enough to challenge Thaddeus and the Seven Sin demons.
But that only makes for a total of six! Given the recurring theme of "seven," like the seven thrones the wizard alludes to, the seven superpowers of Shazam, the seven sins and so on, aren't they one person short of the running trend here?
1 The Portals To The Rock Make No Sense
When Billy heads for the Rock of Eternity with his step-siblings, it's apparently fine for mortals to cross the threshold. But as we witnessed earlier in the movie, the symbols themselves have the capacity to pretty much explode anybody that touches them.
They also seem to sort of disappear at convenient or dramatic junctures, without any real rhyme or reason. Like when the foster parents stumble upon where the portal to the Rock of Eternity was, just to find a plain wooden door that had been left open when Billy and the gang jumped through.