Top 5 Zachary Levi Performances So Far – An Appreciation Post
In honour of his Shazam! appearance it’s time to throw some appreciation to the multi-faceted Zachary Levi. Levi has been on the scene for nearly 20 years and is finally starting to get the recognition that he deserves as both a talented actor and an all-round brilliant human. Just like Nathan Fillion he has been backed by a cacophony of geeks, nerds and musical theatre lovers.
Beyond being a singer, an actor and an all round beautiful man he is also a philanthropist. He set up his own company The Nerd Machine, ‘Viva La Nerdolution’, that was founded in 2010. This amazing foundation is many things; it is a website, a movement and a community all in one that has the main aim of bringing nerds together. Throughout its run, and the Nerd HQ events they hosted, the company raised a lot of money for Operation Smile, a charity to help young children with cleft lips and cleft palates. The Nerd Machine may not be as active as it once was but it’s a definite feather in Levi’s nerdy cap.
Levi is an open advocate for mental health awareness, therapy and self love. He is humble, humourous and full of heart, overall an increadible modern man. So, in his honour I’m going to be going through five of my favourite Levi performances so far, and throwing some appreciation at the roles that have built Levi up to reaching his superhero potential.
Chuck (2007 – 2012)
Levi clearly relishes playing every nerd’s fantasy in this comedy spy-drama. After accidentally absorbing government secrets straight into his brain box, Charles ‘Chuck’ Bartowski goes from a member of the Nerd Herd team to the most important asset to both the CIA and NSA. It’s not hard to see how much fun Levi is having, he naturally fits the nerd role and bring his own brand of naive humour and heartfelt warmth to the character. This was the beginning of an appropriately geeky career.
Favourite Scene: Waaaay too hard to pick just one scene from this amazing series. So I’m just gonna say that Season 2 is my favourite season. Still fresh and fun, but with an understanding of itself now.
The Disney love is strong in this one, and Levi did not disappoint when given the opportunity to go from Disney fan to Disney character. Levi voices roguish rebel Flynn Rider in Tangled, a reimagining of the Rapunzel fairy tale. His voice drips with charm, sass and sarcasm, yet he is still utterly loveable in his portrayal of a character that could very well be viewed as a bit of a knob. Oh, and that singing voice. His talents stretch far in this animated gem and his duet with Mandy Moore of ‘I See the Light’ is stunning.
Favourite Scene: Flynn, meet frying pan. Now there’s an introduction you won’t forget.
Thor: The Dark World & Thor: Ragnarok (2013/2017)
The Warriors Three had amazing potential, amped up even more by the re-casting of Levi as Fandral (after the original actor Joshua Paul Dallas couldn’t continue the role). Levi had been offered the role originally and it would have been great to see him have more to work with in this franchise. I have lumped these two together because his collective screen time across both of them may just tally up to an actual cameo. This is a real blink and you’ll miss it role for Levi, but it allowed him to venture into the world of comic book adaptations, so credit given where it is due.
Favourite Scene: Not too many to choose from really, so it will have to be the escape from Asgard and his very gentlemanly takedown of some dark elves. “Nothing personal, boys.”
I absolutely loved this film when I got to see it at Grimmfest, and one of the shining reasons why was Levi’s hilarious portrayal of the world’s worst boss, Adam Nusbaum. An office building goes into lockdown after the vast majority of its employees consume an infected energy drink that essentially turns them into rage zombie versions of themselves. Levi plays a scenery chewing, jargon spewing and pencil sniffing accounting manager who’s over exaggerated traits are played perfectly for laughs. He’s Bill Lumbergh on rage roids and it’s amazing!
Favourite Scene: Adam gets creative with an energy drink can and turns into a motivational ninja.
DC have finally found both their funny bone and a goddam lighting team! Shazam is a brilliant mix of action, humour and pop culture references that has given DC a new lease of life. Levi has admitted in interviews that he felt so at home as this character, and that is evident in the fun he is clearly having playing the superhero alter ego of a 14 year old orphan. It’s light-hearted, genuine and goofy, words you never thought could be attached to a modern DC product, and a lot of that comes down to Levi and his absolute unadulterated joy in this role. Its dark moments are earned and there’s not a growling monolith in sight…phew.
Favourite Scene: A montage of power discovery. Secret fireproof testing was genius.
There’s definitely going to be a Shazam 2 and there’s even talk of a five film deal. Is he going to stay in his own lane though? Or will we see him mingle? I would love to see more light brought to the DCEU, and between the recent Aquaman film, the incredible Wonder Woman film, and now Shazam we’re finally seeing this. Overall I’d be more than happy to see him don the lightning bolt again and maybe team up with some of the less miserable Justice Leaguers.
Levi will be hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards in June 2019 and I feel I speak for all Disnerds when I say, I hope there’s a frigging music number! I’m sure his natural charisma and his Greta humour will shine through.
Did I miss any of your favourite performances? Any suggestions of who else deserves some appreciation? Let me know!