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Shazam! Discover the first reactions to DC’s latest superhero adventure

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Is Shazam! about to steal the superhero movie thunder? There are a total of 12 comic book epics due for release this year, and if the warm response to the new DC movie is anything to go by, we could have a real winner on our hands.

Shazam! is the latest entry in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) franchise, one that's already spawned the likes of Wonder Woman and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Crucially, however, it operates as a standalone story, freed of connections to the wider universe, which critics say invests the movie with a freewheeling, lighthearted tone.

It's the tale of young teenage orphan Billy Batson (Asher Angel) who is granted the ability to transform into an invincible superhero. All he has to do is say the name Shazam and he's transformed into a super-powered, caped figure, personified by Thor actor Zachary Levi as the goofy title character. Joining forces with new step-brother Freddy (IT's Jack Dylan Grazer), Shazam must take down the nefarious Dr Thaddeus Sivana (Kick-Ass's Mark Strong).

The social media embargo has lifted to a whole raft of delighted responses, including this from Cinemablend's Eric Eisenberg.

ET's Ash Crossan describes the movie as virtually perfect.

IGN's Jim Vejvoda says the movie hearkens back to the tone of 1978 Christopher Reeve classic Superman.

Fandango's Erik Davis lauds the movie's goofy humour.

We Live Entertainment's Scott Menzel praises director David F. Sandberg for effectively making the jump from horror to superhero movies.

Den of Geek Us's Mike Cecchini describes the film as his favourite DCEU entry so far.

And Slash Film's Peter Sciretta says the movie mashes up a host of family classics for an entertaining experience.

You'll be able to cast your own verdict before long when Shazam! hits Cineworld screens on 5th April.