Kids In Foster Care Are The Heroes Of The New DC Movie Shazam And It’s Awesome! (Movie Review)

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Two movie reviews in one week! We've never done this before. But as the weather becomes warmer, and families venture out to the theaters, we want to adequately equip you to make the best choices in family entertainment. Check out my full review below...

This Movie Review was written by Mike (adoptive dad), Eli, Jake and Sam (adoptees). Enjoy!

I’ll be the first to admit: I’m traditionally a Marvel guy. Give me a Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, or Avengers film any day of the week and I’m happy. So, my 3 young sons and I cautiously trotted into a Florida theater to see the new DC film, Shazam this past Friday. They are Marvel men as well.

This is not a general post from a film critic. As the father of 8 children, all through adoption, I tend to review movies from that unique perspective. At Honestly Adoption, we write these reviews to help you, foster and adoptive parents, make informed decisions on what’s healthy, not healthy, and what you should be cautious of, when it comes to family entertainment.

With that said, Shazam was great! Funny, entertaining, and thought-provoking. The storyline made sense, with an early backstory that was woven seamlessly into the overall plotline of the film. Zachary Levi is hilarious as Shazam, and his child persona (aka- who he turns back into when he’s not Shazam) Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel, is the perfect blend of shy and unassuming.

Since I watched the movie with my 3 sons (who are all adoptees) I decided to ask them what they liked and didn’t like, so you also got a review from adoptees (SPOILERS)….

  • My 10-year old immediately said, “I loved that the heroes in the movie are all foster kids! Because I was a foster kid once and I am a superhero!” (How awesome is that?)
  • My 11-year old “LOVED how Shazam could fly,” and how “Hilarious he is!” Truth. We laughed a lot throughout.
  • My 12-year old son didn’t like how Victor, the guy who runs the group home (played by Cooper Andrews) treats Billy when he shows up to the home after missing. “That’s not how you talk to kids! It was rude,” my son exclaimed. And I agree. Before he mentioned that as a dislike, I had determined that it would make it into this review as a negative. Not a good display of therapeutic parenting strategies with a child who has a trauma history.
  • One more important comment from my 11-year old had to do with the scene where Billy finally tracks down his mother (after years of estrangement). “It was really sad that she didn’t want him. I felt sad for him and I almost cried,” my son said sadly. More on this in a minute…

As I sat in the theater, feeling as though I was on the brink of my own tears at certain moments in this film, I couldn’t help but think, “In real life kids in foster care ARE heroes. They are the heroes of their story!” What a perfect way to portrait kids who are in the foster care system. My kids found this take on foster care, empowering.

Some areas of concern with Shazam (MORE SPOILERS)…

There are a couple of intense scenes, most notably the interaction between Victor (group home dad) and Billy. Victor is harsh with Billy when he shows up after running away and missing for some time. Understandably Hollywood is not going to capture therapeutic parenting strategies accurately, nor are they going to support a trust-building or connection over correction approach that we teach and believe in with children from hard places, but it could stir emotions in your children like it did mine. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the world still views children in foster care as just bad kids who need discipline. However, we know there is something bigger happening with extreme behaviors.

If you are taking young children, be cautious of a few violent scenes. When villain Dr. Sivana (played by Mark Strong) shows up to his father’s company, the scene becomes mildly gruesome and quite scary as the 7 deadly sins materialize out of Sivana and kill each one of the board members gathered in his father’s conference room.

I also need to mention the heavier scene (my son mentioned above in his feedback) where Billy finally finds his mother, who has been living just blocks away all this time. Early in the film, we watch as a pre-school age Billy is separated from his (then) teenage mother during a crowded carnival. The scene leads us to believe she looked for him but couldn’t find him. However, later on, when he shows up at her door, she confesses that she intentionally left him because she couldn’t care for him. And this is made worse by the fact that she doesn’t want a relationship with him now that he’s grown up and finally found her. It was very sad and may be extremely difficult for some children (particularly those who have gone through that type of rejection) to watch.

Overall, Shazam was a great film and we enjoyed it. As with all of these reviews, I hope you find our perspective helpful as you work to make healthy choices for your family!

Did you see Shazam? What were your thoughts? Share in the comment section below this post.

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.