I really enjoyed the first Shazam movie so I had some excitement for the follow-up, Shazam: Fury of the Gods, starring Zachary Levi as the Big Red Cheese. It’s too bad he can’t just keep the name Captain Marvel as he originally had because calling the character Shazam, which is the magic word that transforms him, means he can never introduce himself to anybody. Anyway…
Zachary Levi returned as Shazam, who is trying to keep his Shazam Family as a group, preventing them from flying off (literally) and doing their own things. Shazam said that they needed to be all together and never alone.
That did not sit well with the others who had plans of their own. When three sisters, the Daughters of Atlas, arrived looking to reclaim the power that Shazam had gotten (and shared), the family was put into a dangerous situation and have to try and survive, even without their powers.
This was fine.
That is about the nest review I can give. There were several parts that bothered me about the film, but overall, I had a decent theater experience with it. The film was paced nicely, and never felt like it was a 2 hour and 10 minute film. It moved at a brisk pace and kept me interested in the overall story. That story was simplistic, but it worked more than it did not.
The special effects of the film were pretty solid. The look of the dragon that was summoned was cool and the fight with Shazam was well done.
I especially liked Jack Dylan Grazer (most of the time) as Freddy Freeman. I thought he had the best arc of any of the Shazam family and got to show off his range. He did act too hectic at times, but that felt like something that was common for the film. Zachary Levi did the same for most of the film. It felt like Shazam was too immature for too much of the movie. As Billy Batson (Asher Angel) he was almost 18, but he felt nowhere near that.
And I always love Helen Mirren, who played head villain, Hespera. Her very presence gives the film a bit of gravitas that it might not have had with another actor in the role. However, the villains of the film (which also included Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler) felt very inconsistent character wise. Rachel Zegler, who was amazingly beautiful, was intended to be connected with Freddy, but I never believed or understood why she was so taken with him that she would do the things that she does. Hespera made some switches in her character in, what felt like, a real sudden manner.
One of the biggest issues I had was the Shazam Family. Outside of Freddy, the rest of this group of characters were underdeveloped and lacked anything more than a character trait here or there to define their characters. None of them were interesting or felt like anything but background characters in colorful suits. Even Mary (Grace Caroline Currey), who is a major player in the DC Comics, was regulated to a scene or two that did not display anything more than surface level characteristics.
Djimon Hounsou returned as the not-so-dead Wizard who had given Shazam his powers in the first film. This was another character that did not feel well written and bounced all over the place between seriousness and comedy.
Sadly, I would say that a lot of the comedy did not work for me. There were some good laughs, but most of it just felt flat. Too much of the comedy was based on the hectic dialogue from Zachary Levi that I just was not a fan of.
Then, there was a special cameo that was SPOILED for me by a TV ad that really wasted a good moment. I won’t spoil it here, but I was actively mad when I saw that TV spot wondering why they wouldn’t have left it a surprise.
Shazam: Fury of the Gods had some definite high moments while there was plenty of mess too. Again, I think the theater experience was good enough to recommend Shazam: Fury of the Gods. The positives outweighed the negatives, but I wish it would have been more focused and written a little less chaotic.
Hmm, I really enjoyed the first film too, and was hoping for the best with this one after quite a few misfires from DC. The problem so many superhero films have, is that there are just so many of them now. Its okay for so many comicbooks on the racks but these are huge movies. So does one seperate itself from the pack with something different risking alienating fans, or play it safe and risk making itself a target for just being more of the same?
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I think the real answer to that is the same answer I give to most everything. It requires a balance. You can have films that are much the same or you can have films that push the boundaries, as long as they are well done. You can’t all be the same nor can you all be weird, original thought.
There will always be those that whine about things online, but you should not play to that minority, no matter how vocal it may be.