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Review
LEGO DC Comics Superheroes:
Shazam!: Magic and Monsters

"LEGO DC Comics: Shazam!: Magic and Monsters" is the ninth movie in a line of Direct to Video movie collaborations between LEGO, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. In Shazam!, Black Adam manipulates Mr. Mind into liberating him from prison in the Rock of Eternity as Shazam is welcomed into the Justice League and grapples with revealing his secret identity to them.

Billy Batson was given an early introduction in the previous direct to video LEGO direct to video movie, Batman: Family Matters and the finale teased his super hero beginnings. "Magic and Monsters" stars Shazam getting his start as a super hero and charming heroes, villains, and civilians alike with his pure heart. Shazam endears himself to most of the Justice League and they almost immediately want to make him a new member. Except Batman, who doesn't trust him. Batman's suspicions are only confirmed when Shazam is hesitant to reciprocate and tell them his secret identity out of fear they will reject him upon learning he is just a child. Meanwhile, the Justice League has to deal with a new threat in the Monster Society of Evil stealing food in droves for their master, Mr. Mind, an intergalactic criminal wanted in three quadrants. In parallel to Shazam and the League, Mind also keeps a secret from his society: a voice that's been guiding his plan. Shazam has to learn the lesson of trust in order to stop Mr. Mind's secret benefactor, Black Adam – who turns out to be Shazam's predecessor gone bad.

"LEGO DC Comics: Shazam!: Magic and Monsters" is for the youngest of DC fans in your family but, writer Jeremy Adams and director Matt Peters explore the LEGO movies' recurring theme of family that all ages can relate to. After the Justice League are transformed into children by Dr. Sivana so that Mr. Mind can use his mind control on them, Batman gives them the slip. Naturally, as the skeptic, he ends up teamed up with Shazam and they come to an understanding with each other over a shared loss of parents at a young age and a yearning to belong – after some good old fashioning amateur driving jokes. The contrast of Mr. Mind leading his team through fear or by force of mind control combined with Black Adam's manipulation of Mind lend themselves to the paramount lesson of trust and team work that Shazam learns throughout the movie. More so, the lesson is given form when it becomes the big solution to stopping Black Adam. Shazam turns himself back into Billy so that he can share his power among the Justice League and restore them to adulthood.

"Magic and Monsters" has some choice comic book and pop culture references for the older viewers who are watching along like a surprise cameo during the end credits played for laughs and Big Belly Burger to kid Batman imitating Damian and Alfred is none the wiser. DC fans will be overly familiar with the 'Black Adam wants revenge on the Wizard for being jailed' plot and the happy ending Batman has for Billy. Still, turning the League into the Shazam Family was a pleasant twist amid a rather recognizable and well explored Black Adam and Shazam conflict in lieu of stretching the cast and story with the addition of traditional Shazam Family characters like Mary and Dudley, who have a small cameo at the end, or the New 52 line up we saw in the recent live action Shazam movie. But be warned, there's even a man bun in this movie. There are also a lot of strong ties and callbacks to the previous movie "Batman: Family Matters" as mentioned before, even a flashback that bridges the two movies. There's even a cute nod to a Wayne Enterprises employee trying to salvage the Brother Eye debacle. There is also a lot of humor, a perfect complete to the Big Red Cheese himself Shazam which has always been a bit more lighthearted begin with. I loved the jokes with Black Adam, the quick realization he isn't a new hero or the citizens admitting they know he's an all powerful supervillain but they still boo him and throw rocks. Or Adam rolling down the window to complete his last hollow threat. There is one moment that gets surprisingly dark for this line of movies when The Wizard sacrifices himself so Shazam and the League can escape back to Earth.

The special features for "Magic and Monsters" are trailers for "Scoob!" and "Shazam" that appear before the home menu then selected from the menu are full episodes of Teen Titan Go!'s "Little Elvis" and Unikitty!'s "Spoooooky Game" and "Pool Duel" and a trailer for "LEGO DC: Batman: Family Matters". "Little Elvis" was a great choice as it involved a guest spot by Shazam, the Wizard, and Mr. Mind. A behind the scenes featurette of any kind was sorely missed. The Blu-ray/DVD combo set comes with a limited edition exclusive Shazam LEGO mini-figure. The movie released on digital outlets back on April 28 and released on Blu-ray and DVD this past Tuesday, June 16.

"LEGO DC Comics: Shazam!: Magic and Monsters" is a fun romp for all ages action adventure for children with a meaningful message about trusting in yourself and others and forming strong familial bonds with like minded people. A rousing story of overcoming loneliness, action, jokes aplenty, a light tone, a positive lesson, and an action heavy finale, "Shazam!: Magic and Monsters" is a recommended purchase for the family.