Shazam! Fury of the Gods isn’t quite as fun as its predecessor but the sequel is just entertaining enough to offer audiences a good time.
If you don’t read any further in this review, please make sure to stay for the credits. There is a mid-credit scene and a post-credit scene. My main question is what do these scenes mean given the new leadership at DC Films and the future of the DC Universe (DCU). Shazam’s future is going to largely depend on the film’s box office performance. If you want to see Levi and family going forward, please make sure to support the film at your nearest theater. Otherwise, we will just have to wait and see what develops.
The first thing to note about Shazam and his Super Family is that actress Grace Caroline Currey plays both her human and superhero form. Her promotion is all the more interesting because Michelle Borth had previously signed a 5-picture deal. Mary (Grace Caroline Currey) has aged out of the foster system but remains with the Vasquez family for the time being. Billy Batson (Asher Angel) will be joining her in five months time. In any event, Billy and family are taking on the Daughters of Atlas as a direct result of the last film. They’re pissed off at the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) for stealing the powers of Atlas and giving it to children. While it’s been four years since the last film, the film appears to take place two years after its predecessor.
The Daughters of Atlas–Hespera (Helen Mirren), Kalypso (Lucy Liu), and Anthea (Rachel Zegler)–have their eyes set on the Shazamily because they want their magic back. They’ll destroy the world if it means doing just that. It doesn’t matter how many comic book movies that one watches, vengeance is never the way. In fact, going down a path of vengeance will almost always backfire. Last time around, it was just Billy by himself until late in the film. This time around, the motto is all or none. Their chemistry is also much different in this new one especially with the increased action. No matter how many villains they face, the humor remains par for the course. After two years, they’ve gotten to learn about their Rock of Eternity surroundings. But still, their lives are different as humans compared to the Philadelphia Fiascoes as the news comes to call them.
As soon as Freddie (Jack Dylan Grazer/Adam Brody) meets Ann in school, his eyes are set on her. But there’s more beneath the surface as Freddie and his family come to realize. But by that point, it’s too late and they’ve really got to work with each other. In any event, the sequel manages to honor the first film while upping the mythology and exploring the family dynamics in the process. Can Billy handle losing his family even as he faces humanity coming to an end? Meanwhile, baseball fans are in for a rude awakening with action taking place at Citizens Bank Park. Can Major League Baseball stadiums catch a break?
I somehow avoided a major spoiler in the days leading up to the film. The link URL reveals the spoiler so maybe it’s for the best that you don’t place your mouse over the link, especially if you’re on a computer. For the sake of spoilers, I will not say anything else because it just leads to more questions than James Gunn having answers for the time being.
I’m not going to lie. It’s very weird to see an actress of Helen Mirren’s stature in a superhero film. Not only that but she’s playing a villain! When one thinks of Mirren, they think of playing a hero. If you excuse me, I’m going to need to wrap my mind around this one. That’s not to say anything negative about her approach to the character but it’s more of a statement on Mirren’s filmography. But hey, Mirren, Lucy Liu, and Rachel Zegler wouldn’t have done the film if they didn’t like the first one. Again, it’s an entertaining film but it’s just not on the same level of fun as the first film. Also, this one feels like it gets even darker.
If Shazam! Fury of the Gods is any indication, the Shazamily will return. Again, it’s going to come down to box office to determine the franchise’s future and place in the DCU going forward.
DIRECTOR: David F. Sandberg
SCREENWRITERS: Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan
CAST: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Meagan Good, D.J. Cotrona, Grace Caroline Currey, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, with Lucy Liu, Djimon Hounsou, and Helen Mirren
Warner Bros. will release Shazam! Fury of the Gods in theaters on March 17, 2023. Grade: 3.5/5
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