Nodding to ‘Big,’ ‘Shazam!’ brings the superhero down a size

NEW YORK (AP) — “Shazam!” is one of those movies with a perfect elevator pitch: “‘Big’ meets ‘Superman.'”

Penny Marshall’s classic 1988 comedy was an obvious touchstone for both its body-changing plot and its sweet sense of humor for “Shazam!” The DC Comics film is about a 14-year-old boy who can transform himself into an adult, spandex-clad superhero version of himself with a simple command.

“Shazam!” is the latest superhero movie to look further afield than comic-book mythology for inspiration.

Just as the Wolverine thriller “Logan” drew from Westerns like “Shane,” and “Black Panther” was built as a Bond-like spy movie, “Shazam!” has its DNA rooted in 1980s adventure-comedies like “Goonies” and “Gremlins.”

And critics say it works. Reviews for “Shazam!” are better than every recent DC film besides “Wonder Woman.”

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