Shazam! Fury of the Gods Image

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

By Alan Ng | May 14, 2024

As Warner Brothers and DC head into a new direction in the DC Cinematic Universe, a few films are in the leftovers queue, including the Shazam! follow-up, Shazam! Fury of the Gods. When we last left off, Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) alter-ego, Shazam (Zachary Levi), defeated the evil Thaddeus Sivana and snapped his staff…the staff of Atlas…in half. The broken staff now rests at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, where the Daughters of Atlas, Hespera (Helen Mirren), and Kalypso (Lucy Liu), have stolen the staff and mended it in hopes of stealing back the powers of Shazam and restoring their otherworldly home.

Meanwhile, Billy is trying to lead his newly super-powered foster brothers and sisters into superhero stardom. Still, after a botched rescue on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the citizens only know them as the “Philadelphia Fiascos.” Everyone quickly becomes annoyed with Billy’s attempt to control everyone that the superhero team disbands on their own.

Billy’s closest foster sibling, Freddie (Jack Dylan Frazer), attempts to use his “friendship” with Freddie’s Shazam! (Adam Brody) alter ego to impress the new girl in school, Anne (Rachel Zegler). Freddie’s plan looks like it will work until Hespera and Kalypso appear and steal Freddie’s powers and imprison him with the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) from the first film in hopes that he’ll reveal the identities of his siblings.

Of course, all goes wrong, and the city of Philadelphia is in danger when the sister encases it in a magical bubble and unleashes monsters and magic with the ultimate goal of destroying Earth.

“…the Daughters of Atlas…have stolen the staff and mended it in hopes of stealing back the powers of Shazam…”

This review comes about a year after the film’s release. I’ll just say it’s a serviceable story with the classic teen superhero trying in vain to be an adult superhero. As in the first film, the humor comes from the idea that Zach Levi is playing a teenager in an adult body and has physical feelings for Wonder Woman. Add the foster family element, and you’ll find the film’s sweetness…it’s all about family.

Like in the first film, the characters of Shazam! and Billy Batson don’t exactly act like they are the same person. Shazam plays the awkward teen, while Billy is a more mature teen. Then again, it’s all done for laughs.

The problem with the movie is that it’s tonally all over the place. The story of Earth’s impending doom is played deadly seriously. The Shazam! Family or “Shazamily” is played for laughs. These two polar opposite tones just don’t work, and I believe that is the main reason the film failed to find box office success. The film’s few memorable laughs mostly come at the expense of Skittles.

On the positive side, Shazam! Fury of the Gods feels like a superhero film…a Saturday morning superhero film. Because it can’t take itself seriously, it’s geared more toward kids and younger teens. In turn, it leaves us adults wanting more. The special effects are exceptional, and it feels like a comic book.

The highlights for me were the sisters…even Anne. They felt like real villains with real evil plans. They do evil things like stealing powers, locking up heroes, and creating monsters who kill innocent civilians. Great villains and silly heroes make a move that ultimately falls flat.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

Directed: David F. Sandberg

Written: Henry Gayden, Chris Morgan

Starring: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Frazer, Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, Rachel Zegler, Djimon Hounsou, etc.

Movie score: 5/10

Shazam! Fury of the Gods Image

"…Great villains and silly heroes make a move that ultimately falls flat."

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