Biggest Plot Holes From Shazam! That Need Explaining

There's something very feel-good about shouting out the word "Shazam." In Billy Batson's case, the magical moniker transforms him from a young teen to a fully-grown powerhouse who can fly, withstand a speeding bullet, and even shoot lightning from his fingers. Eat your heart out, Emperor Palpatine.

An aimless orphan, Billy (Asher Angel, occasionally transformed into Zachary Levi) is suddenly thrust into the world of responsibility with the granting of superheroic abilities. Of course, he's got to learn that with great power comes great responsibility — and such a growth opportunity came knocking in the 2019 hit film "Shazam!," when Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) revealed himself as a tortured soul determined to break Shazam.

Although critics and fans alike were charmed by the innocent, humorous story of a young boy finding his way in the world of the DC Extended Universe, the film sometimes feels a bit confused. Slip into your super suit and take flight, as we examine moments from "Shazam!" that require a bit more explaining.

The board room massacre didn't receive any press

Strong's Sivana is the product of a painful upbringing. His father and older brother were emotionally abusive towards him. Given the toxicity in his family, the audience likely only glimpses a fraction of the long-term abuse and neglect inflicted behind the scenes, so it makes sense that young Thaddeus would hold a grudge. 

After gaining the strained companionship of the Seven Deadly Sins years later, Dr. Sivana visits his father and brother in the board room of their company. After a brief exchange of menacing words, Sivana tosses his brother out the window of a skyscraper and then proceeds to unleash the monstrous Sins to murder the entire board, with the demonic Sin of Greed finishing off his father.

On the surface, it's a frightening massacre that underscores the dark nature of Sivana's power. But at the same time, how can the entire Board of Directors for a prominent company like Sivana Industries be brutally murdered without a peep about it reaching the press? 

The moment the body of Sid (Dr. Sivana's brother) came crashing down to the bustling streets below, passers-by would begin calling 911, likely launching emergency services, a police response, and the media. It's not as if the film doesn't ever depict the media, because it shows both Freddy and Shazam on the news after the hero saves the city bus. It sure is curious that such a high-level massacre could go down, unnoticed by the populace at large.

How have the police been unable to find Billy's mom?

One of the major hooks of the film is that Billy is a foster child. He initially views himself as broken, simply because of his origins. 

The beauty of the story is when Billy realizes that having foster parents who care for him, and a diverse group of foster siblings who accept him, is where the heart of a true family lies. But before that can happen, Billy spends much of the film longing to track down his mother. 

As a teen, Billy continues his seemingly endless search, but the film's problem lies in the inability of the police to ever track her down. Since records would exist of his birth parents, and Billy could reveal his first and last name to the authorities, they'd almost certainly be able to track down his mother, particularly before she legally reverted back to her maiden name. 

Even after she changed her surname, that would still be on record. So, it's a bit befuddling that she was never found, unless the film is making some sort of statement on police being too lazy to do some simple legwork. 

Are there companies who own rights to superhero logos and designs to make merchandise?

When Billy joins a new foster home, he's taken in by Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer), a physically disabled boy obsessed with all things superheroes. It's this fandom that helps develop Billy's newfound abilities as the hero Shazam. 

With an Aquaman shirt, Superman backpack and a replica Batarang, as well as a certified flattened bullet that was fired at Superman, Freddy's geek cred is legit. What's less clear, however, is how he obtained such a collector's item, and whose credit card did he use to get it?

Is there a company in the DCEU that owns the rights to superhero iconography to create this merchandise? It's kind of a weird prospect to think about. If the characters that audiences love in the DCEU films existed in our world, Warner Bros. would likely be the owners of the heroes' likenesses and logos. But obviously, that's not the case in the realm of the DCEU. Did the heroes consent to the commercialization of their brands? Are there businesses legally holding the license to these brands? It's a question worth asking.

Billy lacks wisdom and courage initially

Shazam is a multi-faceted hero. In fact, his very name is actually an acronym for all the powers that are bestowed upon him when he utters the word. The powers are referenced by the names of multiple mythical figures that make up the acronym: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury.

Once Billy transforms into Shazam, it's clear that he demonstrates some of these powers immediately. For starters, he has power over lightning, is nearly invincible, and is super-fast and strong. That covers Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, and Mercury. What's missing from that lineup? The wisdom of Solomon and the courage of Achilles elude the hero for some time. 

While it's safe to say that Billy as the hero Shazam gains these traits by the film's end, he definitely doesn't have them at the start. The movie's humor is derived from the idea of having a kid in an adult body. Gaining wisdom and courage might defeat that idea as one simply has to live a life of experience to develop those traits. But Billy makes a lot of immature decisions, as a teenager would, and even runs from the villain in fear. At the first sight of real trouble, he scampers off. It seems the wizard has a bit of explaining to do.

Why isn't Sivana able to use the symbols to escape?

Sivana dedicated his life to finding the magical wizard who selected Shazam, seeking to take the power for himself. 

As part of his journey, he uses a group study with others who experienced the same thing he had as a child to recall and use the proper sequence of symbols to open a door to a mystical place called the Rock of Eternity where the wizard Shazam resides. Once this is done, he is capable of accessing the Rock of Eternity at will. This is how he frees the Seven Deadly Sins and uses their power on his crusade against Shazam.

In the end, however, the power of family is too strong for the bitter soul of Dr. Sivana. He is then taken into custody and locked away in a jail cell. Of course, his escape seems all too easy. All he needs to do is write the symbols seven times to open a door to the Rock of Eternity. Tricking an inmate into activating the portal (which means death for mortals) wouldn't be a stretch. The end-credit scene depicts him writing symbols all over his cell. But he doesn't ever say that he's forgotten the ones that lead to the Rock of Eternity. It's hard to imagine that he did forget after spending his entire life researching the wizard. In Sivana's mind, he's got the ultimate key out of any prison. Perhaps, he's simply given up? That is until a strange little caterpillar enters the picture.

Freddy gets kidnapped in broad daylight and no one bats an eye

It's easy for Billy to hide from the evil Sivana, actively seeking either his death or submission. Everything Sivana knows of the champion is that he wears a bright red suit and can do all sorts of marvelous things. All Billy has to do is blend in with the crowd as himself. No masquerading around as a bright red superhero. 

But Sivana quickly finds a connection. He sees that Freddy was talking to Shazam on a news broadcast and he finds the same young boy looking for Billy in the mall while everyone else is fleeing and screaming amid Sivana's destructive entrance. He nabs Freddy and interrogates him on the whereabouts of Shazam.

Of course, this highlights the fact that Sivana kidnapped Freddy in broad daylight in the public eye. Sure, panic was stirring among the crowd. However, no one thought to do a single thing to aid Freddy? At the very least, you'd expect authorities to be waiting for Sivana when he emerged from the back room, in the mall where he took the young boy. However, this maniacal mad man with a creepy glowing eye singles out a boy in the crowd, and no one bats an eye.

Somehow no one ever sees Billy transform

Picture it: Shazam is getting tossed around by Sivana like a rag doll. Because Shazam seemingly has not been blessed by Solomon and Achilles with wisdom or courage, he's running like a scared young boy. Cornered, he belts out "Shazam!" and returns to Billy. The flash of bright lightning stuns Sivana, so he misses the transformation and Billy's escape into the crowd.

But surely there was someone standing among the crowd at a safe distance to witness the transformation. Someone had to have eyes on Billy and know that he was the big new hero in town with crazy abilities that he was eagerly showcasing on the evening news. Between the public blindness over the Sivana Industries Board massacre, the police force's inability to find Billy's mom, the ignorance to Freddy's kidnapping, and completely missing the fact that Billy is a superhero, it seems that the public in this film isn't very aware of what's going on.

When did Shazam ever meet Superman?

At the end of the film, Shazam finally visits Freddy in his school's cafeteria, as promised earlier in the film. It's the kind of prestige Freddy needs to get his bullies to back off. 

Shazam also brings a pal along for the grand lunch appearance. In a surprise ending twist, we see the recognizable Superman logo waltzing in the room as the Man of Steel clearly gets ready to sit down for lunch with the duo. It was a fun cameo, albeit one that exists without Henry Cavill filling the iconic suit.

Regardless, it makes fans wonder, when did Shazam have time to meet Superman? We've seen Billy's entire story from his earliest superhero origins to the end of his first major battle with the villainous Dr. Sivana. No major time jump occurred as Freddy is still clearly the same age and dealing with the same bullies. Somewhere along the lines, Shazam either got Superman's attention or the new big hero on campus decided to get in touch with the big leagues, literally. Someday, perhaps fans will get a superhero film that features both Shazam and Superman; in the meantime, Shazam remains a lone wolf.

How could Sivana afford his obsessive research?

In the early moments of the film, viewers learn that young Thaddeus Sivana has now grown into an obsessive with a doctorate, aiming to track down the very wizard who once approached him as a youngster in hopes that he could be the world's champion. Of course, young Thaddeus was beguiled by the ramblings of the Seven Deadly Sins and craved power simply because his father viewed him as weak. This caused the wizard to reject him as a potential candidate.

In the present day, Thaddeus leads a research team in studying the effects of mass hysteria — a phenomenon in which multiple people experience similar strange memories, feelings, or behaviors. In this case, the focus is on anyone who believed they had been in contact with a strange wizard on a different plane. 

Of course, Dr. Sivana believes what he saw and is simply trying to find a way back to that place, but how has he funded this research? He's clearly estranged from his father and brother. So it's likely they didn't help in this endeavor. Otherwise, the audience know nothing of Dr. Sivana's career. This missing gap in character exposition glosses over the good doctor's background, thrusting him too conveniently into his villainous role.

Physics don't apply when a bus plunges off a bridge

This one's a doozy. Super heroics as a subject matter often requires audiences to suspend disbelief. But the more grounded in reality these films become, the harder it is to ignore some of the more glaring issues, like a complete disregard for the laws of physics. Sure, it may be part of Shazam's nature to defy those laws, but an ordinary city bus simply cannot.

At one point, Shazam accidentally calls down lightning on a bridge, sending a bus careening towards the edge. Once Shazam arrives below the bridge, the bus is about to teeter over the ledge. One man comes crashing down from the back of the bus onto the windshield because, well, gravity. The windshield begins to crack from that fall. Then the bus plunges over the edge.

There are a couple problems with this. First, is the case of the windshield. Shazam catches the bus front-side down by the windshield. So, the weight of one man causes the windshield to crack, but the weight of the entire bus falling and coming to an abrupt stop on Shazam's hands does not? Secondly, Shazam didn't swoop up in the air and grab the bus before it gained speed from the fall. He was still on the ground. The force of the bus plummeting and landing on the immovable objects that are Shazam's hands instead of the ground just six feet below would have still caused a wild amount of damage, injuries, and likely fatalities.

How does Billy and the rest of his family return to the Rock of Eternity without the wizard?

Somewhere lies a sanctuary known as the Rock of Eternity; for countless years, the wizard has resided here in hopes of finding a champion to receive his powers. Sivana was one once a candidate was brought to this mystical place, but was ultimately rejected by the wizard. He later pieced together the proper symbols needed to gain entry to the extra-dimensional chamber all on his own.

As far as the film is concerned, there are only two ways that have been established for entering the Rock of Eternity. Either the wizard causes a subject to teleport there, or Sivana uses his uncovered pattern of symbols to gain entry by force. 

At the end of the film, after Sivana is defeated, Shazam and the rest of his siblings (who are also now super-powered beings) somehow find themselves back at the Rock of Eternity, designating the place as their lair. However, the film never shows how they returned. 

Do they know the symbol sequence needed to gain entry? If so, how did they obtain that knowledge from Sivana? Or do they have some newfound ability to teleport themselves? Regardless, it's a move that occurred offscreen and doesn't seemingly follow the previously established rules of gaining access to the sanctuary. Perhaps, we'll learn more about the magical place in "Shazam! Fury of the Gods."