“Shazam! Fury of the Gods lacks the charm and appeal of its predecessor. It’s a zombified DCEU movie that has no real purpose or sense of fun.”
Jack Dylan Grazer is still great as Freddy Freeman
The Shazam family is entertaining to watch
It’s not as bad as Black Adam
terrible special effects
The superhero movie genre is at a crossroads right now. While the dreaded “comic movie fatigue” isn’t here yet, there are some signs it’s coming. last fall black adam It largely disappointed critics and studio WB executives by failing to deliver on star Dwayne Johnson’s promise to change the “hierarchy of power in the DC Universe.” Even Marvel feels the lack of enthusiasm from the audience, with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania becoming the MCU film with the worst review in history and failing to attract moviegoers to its recently opened Phase Five.
It is at this uncertain time that the 2019 sequel Shazam! — titled without imagination Shazam! Fury of the gods – debuts, with its larger universe, the DCEU, in danger of being scrapped entirely by something newer and more Marvel-like. James Gunn and Peter Safran are now the co-heads of the newly created DC Studios, and they haven’t fully committed to bringing in anyone from the previous regime, and that includes famous actors like Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck.
This does fury of the gods kind of like an old homeless dog. Unwanted by his owners, he still goes on, performing the same tricks that have been people-pleasing in the past. But what worked in 2019 won’t necessarily work in 2023, and instead of changing for the better, fury of the gods doubles what people liked in the first movie. Want more Shazam-like heroes? Then here is the “Shazamily”, a team of five members who share the same powers as the titular hero. Do you want more villains? Instead of one, there are two, the Daughters of Atlas, who command an army of ogres, cyclops, and, yes, unicorns.
More does not mean better, and fury of the gods it ends up being much less likable than its charming predecessor. Instantly tired and outdated, the Shazam sequel won’t reverse the downward trend of superhero movies, and it’s not a strong case for the DCEU – and Zachary Levi’s now-annoying hero – to be spared at all.
A derivative clash of titans
fury of the gods it picks up three years after the events of the first film. Now almost 18 years old, Billy Batson still lives with his adoptive siblings, who now have similar powers thanks to the events of the last movie. Dubbed the “Philadelphia Fanatics” by the press, this team of heroes consists of foster brothers Freddy Freeman, Eugene Choi, and Pedro Peña, and foster sisters Mary Bromfield and Daria Dudley, who, like Billy, become in adult versions of themselves when they say “Shazam!”
After a display of their powers and teamwork in an extended rescue scene on a collapsing bridge that has been done in almost every superhero movie, fury of the gods locates its main villains: the Xena: Warrior Princess-he turns down the Daughters of Atlas, played by Helen Mirren (as the leader Hespera), Lucy Liu (as the unreliable Kalypso), and Rachel Zegler (as the not-so-bad Anthea). They all want to retrieve the golden apple, which functions as a seed that, when planted in the ground, will make the Tree of Life grow.
Unbeknownst to Shazam, the golden apple lies in the lair he shares with his family. Since the Daughters of Atlas also have a murderous grudge against the human race, the good guys quickly take on the bad women in a showdown to see which godlike being can smash through the walls hard enough for one of them to reach the top. Golden Apple. .
Are the Daughters of Atlas victorious? No spoilers, but the last act of the movie involves a lot of poorly rendered CG fantasy creatures inspired by Ray Harryhausen, a betrayal telegraphed very early in the movie, an underdeveloped love story, multiple scenes of a dragon flying in downtown Philadelphia, and the most egregious product placement in movie history (it involves a unicorn, a little girl, and Skittles, and stops the movie dead in its tracks). There is also an appearance by another DCEU superhero, which doesn’t count as a spoiler since DC already revealed it in one of his commercials. fury of the gods There’s nothing about it that you haven’t seen before, but it’s been done better and more stylish in other movies that are more worth your time than this one.
going through the motions
The first Shazam! It wasn’t all that original, either, but it had a sweetness and gravity that set it apart from other comic book movies. That charm is all but gone in the sequel, which focuses more on building up its second-rate villains than caring about its central cast of heroes. As the Daughters of Atlas, Mirren, Liu, and Zegler seem lost or bored with the stupid dialogue they’re asked to speak. Liu fares worse by far, delivering her lines in a monotone that suggests the actress was over him before shooting even began.
The heroes fare a little better. As teen Freddy Freeman, Jack Dylan Grazer proves once again why he, and not his vapid co-star Asher Angel, should have been cast as Billy. Every time he’s on screen, the movie briefly comes to life due to his improvisational energy. His scenes with Djimon Hounsou, whose role as the once dead but now better ally borders on the unforgivable, are the best in the film because they laugh with the giddiness of being a kid trapped in a comic book world. .
Like the “Shaz family,” the child and adult actors who play Mary, Pedro, Darla, and Eugene don’t have much to do, but they do have enough presence and likability to make you wish they had. Standouts include DJ Cotrona as the adult Pedro and Faithe Herman as the young Darla, who share Grazer’s ability to be in awe of the fantastical world they inhabit. They all have the right amount of sweetness in their depictions that don’t make you gag.
The same can’t be said for Zachary Levi’s take on Shazam. This reviewer wasn’t a fan of his version of the character of him in the first movie, but it still made sense. He wanted to communicate Billy’s joy at escaping into a world of capes and spandex, and in that, he succeeded. In fury of the godshowever, he introduces himself as an alien who has studied how teenagers act by watching many TGIF sitcoms like Full house and then he dunked his head in a bunch of cocaine like Tony Montana did in Scarface. His performance is strangely manic, desperate, and tonally off-kilter; no 17-year-old actor likes how he behaves, and he takes you out of the picture.
What’s also jarring is how much CGI the movie has and how bad it frequently looks. The director, David F. Sandberg, obviously wanted to go further with his sequel, but he doesn’t have an eye for flashy visuals. The invasion of Philadelphia by Lord of the Rings-type creatures doesn’t feature as much as one would like, and even the simple scenes of heroes flying in the sky lack the grace and beauty of Richard Donner’s Superman movies, and those came out . 40 years ago! Special effects aren’t everything, of course, but for a movie that relies too heavily on them to make up for what it lacks, they’re essential to provide at least a modicum of escapism, but fury of the gods it doesn’t even pass that low threshold.
Hey, at least it’s better than Black Adam.
The best you can say about Shazam! fury of the gods it’s not as bad as black adam. That movie was a whimper, a cheap, cynical parade of one-liners and posing that focused on rooting for Dwayne Johnson’s charismatic hero. Unlike, fury of the gods it achieves just enough of its predecessor’s sweetness to be, at the very least, passably harmless.
But is that enough? Leaving aside the many options that the streaming era gives us, or even sequels like creed III and scream VI which turned out to be better than expected, fury of the gods it has no real purpose as a standalone film that offers nothing unique or as a piece of a cinematic universe that is all but dead. Its insistent inclusion of DCEU Easter eggs, including the two now-useless end credits scenes, come across as sad and frustrating. What’s the point of all this anymore?
Remember those zombies in George Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead, who, despite being dead, still go to the mall because that’s all they really remember? They don’t have a soul or real brain activity, but they still go through the motions of behaving like they did when they were alive. fury of the gods he looks a lot like those zombies: he still walks and talks like a standard DC movie, but he has nowhere to go.
Shazam! fury of the gods it is now playing in theaters across the country.