Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: Shazam! Fury of the Gods continues the story of teenage Billy Batson who, upon reciting the magic word “SHAZAM!” is transformed into his adult super hero alter ego, Shazam.
Review: For all the comics I’ve read, Captain Marvel aka Shazam! was never really a big draw for me. That said, I totally enjoyed him in the Justice League animated series, his childlike, large-than-life personality set in the body of a literal god never failed to make me smile. And it’s this very important element that director David Sanberg and duo-leads Asher Angel and Zachary Levi as Billy Batson and Shazam respectively bring back to the big screen with sequel Shazam: Fury of the Gods.
Unlike Black Adam that threw a lot of money but little heart into their story, Fury of the Gods manages to balance those big action sequences with the dramatic moments that are needed to give personality to our hero, as well as a few members of his family. Billy/Shazam is struggling with the idea of being a hero as he feels like he doesn’t deserve the powers bestowed on him by the Wizard (Djimon Honsou). Now that he has shared his super abilities with this foster siblings Billy is worried that they don’t need him as much, not to mention he’s getting older and will soon be “aged out” of the foster system, leaving him wondering about his place in the family. Meanwhile we’re introduced to two daughters of Atlas, Kalypso (Lucy Liu) and Hespera (Helen Mirren) who are wreaking havoc in our world as they seek the means to restore their god-realm to its former glory.
Visually the Shazam! movies have always felt like the ones the DC studios spend the least money on. That’s not to say the effects don’t look great or anything (although the flying and superhero landings can look awkward at times) but with the exception of the opening scene in the museum, which was fantastic, and the final battle between Kalypso and Shazam, with its beautiful use of light and darkness, the rest was a bit “been there done that”.
The supporting cast also suffered a bit when it came to screen time, and though I do give props to the writers in making sure they all had something to do as teammates, we still didn’t get more than surface level likes and dislikes. It would’ve been cool if they at least explained how the power divide worked among them.
For instance, it seemed like Darla (Megan Good, who was awesome in the role by the way) is a lot more intuitive than the others. So, does that mean her “main” power comes from the wisdom of Solomon? Is Shazam still the strongest amongst them? Or is he weakened by sharing his gifts? I’m sure fans who’ve read his comics know the answers, but it would’ve been perfect if they translated the answers on screen as well. I also think more time spent with the Daughters of Atlas could’ve benefited the movie in a big way. DC movies are yet to give us truly memorable antagonists (I’m not talking about the Nolan or Reeves movies, so calm down) and it seemed like such a shame to waste the talents of Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren. While Lucy Liu does get a good chunk of screen time it seemed like she didn’t know what tone she wanted for Kalypso which made her line delivery robotic at times. And Helen Mirren’s sit-down scene with Shazam was so good it made me wish they had more moments like that together.
While far from perfect, Shazam! Fury of the Gods does get better as it goes along. The self-contained nature of his adventure(s) means we don’t have to think too much about how it all fits into the larger DCU, while cameo appearances mean we know for sure he does. I think the best thing about the Shazam movies so far is they’re the ones that feel like they have the least amount of pressure on them to be anything more than a fun popcorn flick. So if that’s what they were aiming for with this sequel then I would have to call it a win.
Score 7 out of 10
So have you seen Fury of the Gods? How would you rate it? And you can check out more great DC reviews below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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