Synopsis: Now fully bestowed with the powers of the gods, Billy Batson and his fellow foster kids are still learning how to juggle teenage life with having adult Super Hero alter egos. But when the Daughters of Atlas, a vengeful trio of ancient gods, arrive on Earth in search of the magic stolen from them long ago, Billy—aka Shazam—and his family are thrust into a battle for their superpowers, their lives, and the fate of their world. But can a bunch of teenagers actually save the day? Does Billy even want to…?
As we consume large amounts of fantasy, sci-fi, and superhero media, it can be easy to forget how heroic and superhuman humanity can be. From fighting fires to teaching a classroom full of children, it takes special people to willingly embrace some of the hardest jobs with some of the greatest responsibilities. Day in and day out, these individuals wake up and choose to make a difference and change lives despite the dangers and difficulties and despite not having superpowers, sounds heroic to me.
“Fun is for children, we are at war.”
Even the most unlikely of us can save the day. Directed by David F. Sandberg, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a superpowered magic-filled adventure with plenty of heart but is ultimately forgettable. Picking up the momentum left by its predecessor, this long-awaited sequel does a great job of recapturing the charm as well as the humor that made the first one special. However, there’s not much time for fun and games as the stakes are monumentally higher along with some of the foster siblings wanting to be taken seriously as superheroes. In the meantime, their foster parents, Rosa and Victor still have no clue that their house is filled to the brim with godly powers. In classic comedic fashion, even as they constantly ponder why lightning repeatedly strikes their home and their six kids always seem to be absent as the six superheroes, hilariously dubbed the “Philadelphia Fiascos,” save the city, they are clueless.
Just as Freddy laid down Superhero 101 for Billy in the first film, this time around the rest of their siblings have to catch up if they’re going to successfully become a cohesive team. However, when love, trauma, and mistakes from the past appear in a big way, everyone is at risk.
“Have no fear, Captain Every Power is here.”
This movie may not be a part of the Fast Universe, or potentially any universe now, but it’s about family. Moreover, it’s about selflessness and sacrifice, and with that, humanity shines through as the true superpower. It’s easy to lay it all on the line when you are seemingly indestructible, but when the threat of death is a real possibility, will you still make that save? That’s the grand predicament that the story places you in and it’s one that we can all relate to. As people with natural abilities, none of them being superhuman, we are sometimes placed in situations where someone needs our help that could potentially end our existence. Whether it’s an attack of some sort, a natural disaster, or some kind of accident, we don’t have the luxury of super strength or speed, just a natural inclination to do the right thing, especially for those we love. Now, mix in Greek Mythology, a little Harry Potter, and a fistful of Game of Thrones and we have our movie.
As this sequel presents more dire events than the original, the jokes, while there, aren’t as prevalent. The action is accounted for but wasn’t used as much as it should’ve been, especially with there being multiple heroes and actual Gods. Instead, the film relies on the third act to do the Herculean lifting by way of a giant dragon and worlds colliding. There are moments that remind you why the first one was such a great time but this one fails to capture that same magic. The highlight of it all is Jack Dylan Grazer’s arc. Also, there’s a moment of acceptance that is pretty cool, however, it was never properly set up for the payoff. Nevertheless, the film looks great, the soundtrack fits perfectly, and I believe kids and teenagers will really enjoy it. None of us are sure of Shazam’s future in the new DCU, however, if they keep the same cast around, I don’t think it’d be the worst idea. In the end, I had a decent time. Be sure to be on the lookout for an Annabelle spotting and a mid and post-credits scene. Its rewatchability is medium.
Pacing & Pop
While this film is full of exciting and eventful moments, it does have a few pacing issues. There are moments in the second act that are unnecessary and kill the momentum. The third act rights the ship as it’s a nonstop magical overload. What popped for me were the moments where the entire Shazam! family were able to fight together. It may not have happened in abundance but when it did, it is a lot of fun.
Characters & Chemistry
Starring: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Meagan Good, D.J. Cotrona, Grace Caroline Currey, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, Djimon Hounsou, Rachel Zegler, Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren
Without question, this is definitely Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer’s movie. And one could argue that it’s actually Freddie’s (Jack Dylan Grazer) story. The heart, humor, and heroism fall equal to both Shazam (Zachary Levi) and Freddy. The additions of Rachel Zegler, Lucy Liu, and Helen Mirren complement the mystical adventure well. Zegler’s Anthea pairs well with Freddy as romance and the threat of destruction swirl around them. Furthermore, as the two get closer, they bring out the best in each other leading to some of the most selfless moments. Liu and Mirren aren’t quite as evil or menacing as you’d hope but the performances are strong. I would’ve loved to see Jovan Armand be used more. His character Pedro Peña isn’t utilized enough but arguably could’ve had one of the most interesting arcs.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is now in theaters as of March 18, 2023. Remain safe and Shazam!
Runtime: 2h 10m
Director: David F. Sandberg
Writers: Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan
Based on: Characters from DC; Shazam! was created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck
Producers: Peter Safran
Executive Producers: Walter Hamada, Adam Schlagman, Richard Brener, Dave Neustadter, Victoria Palmeri, Marcus Viscidi and Geoff Johns
Director of Photography: Gyula Pados
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a superpowered magic-filled adventure with plenty of heart but is ultimately forgettable.
Senior Critic. Observing the human race since 1988.