By Derek Lawrence
April 08, 2019 at 12:11 PM EDT
04/05/19
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  • Movie
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Shazam or Kazaam? It’s not just a title confusion that even got Shazam! star Zachary Levi (see above), it’s also a fascinating question: which of these words would be better to scream out?

After enjoying the super-fun Shazam! on Sunday, I started asking myself this, prompting to me go watch the not-as-super-fun Kazaam, and it’s kind of crazy how many similarities these movies have (even crazier is that Weevil from Veronica Mars is the main kid in Kazaam). They both focus on a young troublemaker with parent abandonment issues who ends up encountering a magical entity as he runs from bullies. And while Shaquille O’Neal and Zachary Levi don’t have much in common, they’re both charming as hell. (Important point: being charming doesn’t mean Shaq was good.)

But back to the important task at hand. You can either have the ability to scream “Shazam!” and turn into a handsome 38-year-old adult with the powers of Hercules, Zeus, Atlas, Achilles, Solomon, and Mercury all wrapped into one, or you can scream “Kazaam!” and have your own personal 7-foot-tall rapping genie who will grant you three wishes. There’s really no wrong answer here, just like if you’re flipping through channels and both Fast Five and Furious 7 are on.

So read on for a scientific breakdown to see which magical word rules them all.

Practicality

It seems less than ideal to walk around all the time in your superhero outfit and to basically have a lightning strike every time you want to transform into that form. And while a 7-foot-tall guy walking with a kid would stand out, the Kazaam was at least able to ditch his Genie clothes and in doing so can serve as a very intimidating bodyguard.

Advantage: Kazaam

Warner Bros. Pictures; Everett Collection

Long-Term Viability

This is an easy one considering that Shazam is forever and Kazaam is only for three wishes, so unless you’re really playing the long game, those are going to run out quick (don’t even try to wish for more wishes).

Advantage: Shazam

Powers

As previously mentioned, Shazam comes with the powers of warriors and gods, which is pretty powerful. Meanwhile, yes, Kazaam gives you the power to hang out with a genie who can rap, fight, and squish bad guys into a ball and dunk them, but he also calls himself, “Mr. Material,” meaning he can’t talk to God, raise people from the dead, and give love or hope. And yet, by the end of Kazaam, he found a way to grant Max’s seemingly impossible third wish: a second chance for his dad, so…

Advantage: Shazam

Super Friends

[WARNING: SPOILERS FOR SHAZAM! FOLLOW!!] Late in Shazam!, Billy realizes that he can give the Shazam powers to his foster siblings and they turn into their own adult super hero alter-egos (the internet is out here talking about Adam Brody while I was like, “Yoooo, Meagan Good!!). But, you have to have friends to make them super, and just a few weeks earlier, Billy was a loner runaway and would have been out of luck. And with Kazaam, you’re given a ride-or-die BFF who will sacrifice his budding rap career to save your life.

Advantage: Kazaam

The Final Verdict

It’s a 2-2 tie. If only I had thought of a magic word for a good fifth category…

Or, wait. I know Shazam won the power category, but Kazaam’s granting of that last wish made me wonder: what if I just asked for the powers of Shazam? I mean, that’s not talking to God or raising the dead or asking for Meagan Good to love me, but it’s still enough to land a deciding vote. It’s settled then — congrats to Kazaam and Shaq, you may never get that sequel that you’re open to (“If one of the studios begs me, then I’ll do it” LOL), but you just got your fifth title.

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  • Movie
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release date
  • 04/05/19
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  • David F. Sandberg
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