SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS
March 17, 2023
Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Meagan Good, Lucy Liu, Djimon Hounsou, Helen Mirren
From New Line Cinema comes “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” which continues the story of teenage Billy Batson who, upon reciting the magic word “SHAZAM!,” is transformed into his adult Super Hero alter ego, Shazam.
Bestowed with the powers of the gods, Billy Batson and his fellow foster kids are still learning how to juggle teenage life with having adult Super Hero alter-egos. But when the Daughters of Atlas, a vengeful trio of ancient gods, arrive on Earth in search of the magic stolen from them long ago, Billy—aka Shazam—and his family are thrust into a battle for their superpowers, their lives, and the fate of their world.
Written By Darren
Rating 4.5 out of 5
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a highly entertaining and fun sequel that ups the action spectacle of the first film, while maintaining the heart of that helped make the original one of the best films within the DCEU.
2019’s Shazam! was not only one of my favourite films from the DCEU, it was one of my favourite films of that year. It took the superhero origin formula, but combined it with a coming of age story reminiscent of an Amblin production, resulting in what you would expect a superhero film from Steven Spielberg to feel like. It was highly entertaining, emotionally moving, while still providing the big fights of the superhero genre. So it goes without saying that I was eagerly awaiting its sequel, especially with the antagonists being played by the sensational trio of Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler. And after a couple of delays that plagued the film industry the past few years, the sequel has finally hit the big screen and while it does not outdo the outstanding first film, it is a worthy follow up that is fun for superhero fans of all ages to enjoy.
After granting his foster siblings powers at the end of the first film, Billy Batson and his siblings are moonlighting as protectors of Philadelphia without their foster parents' knowledge. But their defeat of Dr. Sivana in the first film opened their world up to new dangers, breaking a magical spell protecting their world. This allows the Daughters of Atlas to travel to Earth in search of the Wizard’s Staff and to reclaim the power that was stolen from their father by the Wizard, which now lives in Billy and his foster siblings. This pits Billy and his siblings in a struggle with the Daughters of Atlas, with the fate of Philadelphia once again hanging in the balance as Billy must fight to save the city and his entire family.
The infectious tone of the first film of the wonder of a teenager acquiring superpowers and having an alter ego as an adult superhero is once again prevalent throughout the film. Zachary Levi shines once again as Billy’s alter-ego Shazam, while Asher Angel develops an emotional character arc for Billy as his family and life is once again put into jeopardy. Levi and Angel are two halves of the same character, working their performances in perfect unison to create the emotional core of the film as once again the focus is on Billy finding the family he has always longed for. From start to finish, the film is packed with that childish humour that defined the first film, while the underlying themes of family are never for a second lost in the midst of CGI driven superhero fight sequences. It is this heart that once again makes the film an absolutely delightful experience, even if the story and pacing do slightly stumble.
Unlike the first film which had a very straight forward plot, the sequel opts for more world building as other gods and worlds are introduced. While the film does a great job of expanding the universe at play, the story does suffer as elements are glossed over, relying on a simplistic story with a McGuffin at the center that receives little explanation of its importance, but the themes of family and love prevail over the plot’s shortcomings to create an enjoyable film. The other main story issue is the final act showdown with the Daughters of Atlas, which runs for an incredibly long time, that would have benefited greatly by being broken down into smaller pieces with more story in between to flush out the film’s overall plot. While no part of the final showdown felt unnecessary, it ran for what felt like half of the film and it would have benefited if it had some breaks to relieve the audience from the relentless action. Do not get me wrong, the action is a lot of fun and is brought to life with good CGI. But, the heart of the story and characters takes a back seat during the final showdown with the Daughters of Atlas, which momentarily removes the audience from the stakes of the story until the end of the sequence.
In addition to Levi and Angel who do a wonderful job leading the film, the rest of the cast is great. The young actors playing Billy’s foster siblings once again shine, especially Faithe Herman, while we get to spend more time with Adam Brody, Meagan Goode, D.J. Cotrona and Ross Butler as their superhero alter egos. The adult actors do perfectly capture the excited child they are pretending to be, embodying their innocence and amazement with their superpowers through every line delivery and mannerism. Given her age, Grace Caroline Currey portrays both Mary and her superhero alter ego in this film, and she perfects the nuances of this young woman trying to make her own way in life while still holding on to her childhood and family.
While their character’s writing is lacking, Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler are excellent as the Daughters of Atlas. Mirren and Liu lean in heavily to their character’s wickedness and the absurdity of the story, becoming true comic book villains that are required of them and deliver their lines with a delicious evilness that elevates their characters beyond their simplistic writing. Zegler, hot off her outstanding debut performance in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, continues to prove herself as a talented young actress. You can’t help but be mesmerized with her charisma every second she is on screen, whether it is the great back and forth she has with Mirren and Liu, or the adorable romantic chemistry she shares with Jack Dylan Grazer’s Freddy, solidifying herself as one of the most exciting young actresses in the industry today.
Though, the question on all fans minds will be: does Shazam have a place within James Gunn’s new DCU plan? While there is no definitive answer, there are two post credit scenes which highly suggest that this won’t be the last time we see Billy, Shazam and the rest of the family in the DCU.
Packed with action and laughs, while never sacrificing the heart that made the first film a fan favourite DC film, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a wildly entertaining superhero extravaganza featuring excellent performances from Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler, making it a must see for any DC fan!