Shazam's Origin Story, Powers & Movie Changes Explained

Zachary Levi crash-lands as Shazam

Shazam's Powers Explained

Shazam's awesome superpowers are magical in nature and he accesses them by saying the name "Shazam!", which transforms Billy Batson into his adult alter ego via mystical lightning. Shazam's powers are derived from six "immortal elders" who also lend the first initials of their names to the anagram "SHAZAM". Although his abilities bear many similarities to Superman, as they are both super strong, super fast, and able to fly, Shazam has several powers the Man of Steel lacks:

  • Solomon grants Shazam his wisdom. In the comics, the wisdom of Solomon gives Billy access to scholarly knowledge as well as the ability to translate foreign languages and other benefits of mental acuity. Shazam can also use Solomon's wisdom to hypnotize people. Although Billy doesn't use Solomon's wisdom to great lengths in Shazam!, he does use it when it counts, such as using the Wizard's staff to create the Shazam family. Plus, having an adult body means he can buy beer. So there's that as well.
  • Hercules grants Shazam his sheer physical strength. In the comics, Shazam is known as the World's Mightiest Mortal and his strength is on a par with Superman's. Shazam uses this strength to battle Sivana and the Seven Deadly Sins, but also to catch a falling bus (that he accidentally causes to crash using another one of his superpowers).
  • Atlas grants Shazam his stamina. Shazam is impervious to most forms of physical injury and possesses superhuman endurance. This especially comes in handy when Shazam stops a pair of armed robbers as well as when he takes on Sivana, the Seven Deadly Sins, and even himself (while he learns to master his powers, that is).
  • Zeus grants Shazam his power, specifically the power of lightning. Shazam is a magical superhero and can summon the mystical lightning of the king of the Greek gods as an offensive weapon (or to charge people's cell phones). He can use the lightning to transform back and forth from Billy Batson and in the comics, he can also transfer his power to others using Zeus' lightning.
  • Achilles grants Shazam his courage in battle as well as his fighting skills. Shazam faces monsters and magical menaces without fear, although in the film, Shazam is also really a 15-year-old boy and he has to overcome his fears to access the courage of Achilles.
  • Mercury grants Shazam his speed and the ability to fly. Shazam can move at superhuman speeds both on foot and flying through the air. In the comics, Shazam can fly at the speed of light; it remains to be seen just how fast Shazam can fly in the DCEU, but he certainly managed to at least gain control of the superpower in his origin film. It took a few tries, of course.

While Shazam is much more than a magical version of Superman, in the comics, he has performed many other amazing feats as well. For instance, the wisdom of Solomon grants him clairvoyance of when danger is present and lets him see through illusions and even through evil schemes. Shazam had "Marvel Breath", which could either be freeze breath or fire breath. Because he possesses the Wizard Shazam's magic, he can also cast spells (he once conjured a ping pong table for Justice League headquarters). Shazam can also use the lightning to teleport, either to the Rock of Eternity or elsewhere, if he chooses not to fly. Billy harness all of his abilities in Shazam!, but he doesn't necessarily gain control of all his superpowers. Given that he's only getting started, there's much more for Billy Batson to learn in a future Shazam! sequel, should it happen.

Next: Everything We Know About Shazam 2

Key Release Dates
  • Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
  • Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
  • Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
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