- Review by Kaya Savas - April 16, 2018
Benjamin Wallfisch brings a lot to the table as a storyteller, but his strongest asset has to be his versatility. Wallfisch can give you a minimalist electronic score or a robust orchestral adventure and no matter what the approach, his music leaves a lasting impact on the audience. For Shazam!, we get an all-out orchestral love-letter to the superhero genre. The score also doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet still carries you through the entire adventure to make you feel like you're 12 again.
Shazam! arrives at a strange time in our current climate of being oversaturated in superhero movies. The structure of the DC cinematic universe seems to have lost its focus, while Marvel keeps cranking out one after another on its route to Endgame. Shazam arrives just in time to reinvigorate the genre and refresh that superhero fatigue you might be feeling. Much of that is in thanks to Wallfisch’s score, which sees him reuniting with director David F. Sandberg for their third feature together.
Shazam!’s score is not only a love-letter to the big thematic superhero scores of the past, but a score that captures why we love superheroes in the first place. Since the film is told from a youth's perspective, we are relating to it by digging deep and finding our own youthful soul. Wallfisch does a fantastic job of bringing not just heroism, but excitement and wonder to the story. There is just the tiniest amount of saccharine sweetness added to the music to keep it light, but it never becomes cheesy. By pulling all the emotions from the characters, we never sense the music is doing too much. In fact, there seems to be a very tight connection to the visuals with what Wallfisch is doing musically. You can thank an established director/composer relationship for that. Too often we see scores that have a disconnect and feel like they were just placed on top of the film, and you wonder if the director and composer ever even talked. With Shazam!, the score is part of the film’s DNA and it makes for a really engaging and fun ride.
From start to finish you’ll enjoy Shazam!, it’s a score meant to pull out your inner child and go on an adventure. Wallfisch’s mastery of the orchestra is evident here with how he makes the music soar and flourish. The man knows how to write for an orchestra, and that makes a difference. The score also channels some of those classic John Williams feelings you might have felt in E.T. or Hook. A pure sense of adventure, a thin layer of sweetness, but also a ton of heart.