‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’: A Decent Sequel In An Era of Superhero Fatigue.

Despite the quality of any comic-book movie that’s come out in the past few years, it has undeniably been exciting to see the rise of non-comic-book movies at the box office. Yes, they may be sequels just the same, but these movies have an ambitious nature that allows them to be the best possible version of the concept they inhabit. ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ grossing a franchise high and being lauded with praise is genuinely exciting. ‘Scream VI’ and ‘Creed III’ reaching the peak of their respective franchises that haven’t been seen in decades is insane and actually refreshing for their respective genres. All of this has delivered a breath of fresh air to the movie industry, especially after the pandemic. With the last few entries from both DC and Marvel either not earning as much as they could have or outright flopping, it starts to beg the question, which of these movies are actually worth watching or making an effort to go to the movie theatre to watch? Surprisingly, I’d say ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods‘ is not only better than ‘Quantumania’, ‘Black Adam’ and ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ but it’s actually a very decent sequel that’s pretty fun to watch.

minor spoilers for ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods‘ are featured in this review.

The first ‘Shazam!’ back in 2019 was quite a pleasant surprise. It remains one of my favourite DC movies because of its humorous, bright and colourful take on the comic-book movie. It has become exhausting seeing these movies get pumped out like assignments leading up to this big event blockbuster every few years. That’s why ‘Shazam!’ was such a breath of fresh air because it made superpowers feel exciting again, it didn’t need to go above and beyond to entertain an audience, in fact, most people really like these two movies. They stand out because they’re not focused on being like the other movies in the genre and I appreciate that. David F. Samberg grounds these movies in the coming-of-age genre and tells a story about these teens rather than the heroes they become. They’re accessible, easy to watch and still maintain the essentials of a comic-book movie. That being said, ‘Fury of the Gods‘ isn’t a sequel that was necessarily needed or justified even if it is a decent movie.

There’s not really much to say about this sequel. Billy Batson’s family doesn’t really get the screen time necessary for an actual plot. Billy himself is moreso played by Zachary Levi as Shazam rather than Asher Angel as Billy and while they are clearly the same person, the movie uses Shazam as this heroic, confident figure and doesn’t really let Billy’s abandonment fears and character arc shine through. It’s definitely present but I think processing and exploring it through Billy would’ve helped it stick more. One of my favourites aspect of the first movie is how emotional it was and how much it was Billy’s story more than anything. In ‘Fury of the Gods’, Billy Batson as a character feels like an afterthought with how much they use Shazam and it doesn’t make sense as a foil to the first movie because he’s using Shazam to cope and act confident. He’s not training to get stronger or seeking new ways to protect. Levi does a fine job leading the film but I never really cared for him as the character if I’m being honest.

The antagonists played by Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler were great. Mirren was a true standout as expected and Liu could’ve amped it up a bit more actually. Zegler brought a nice warmth to even them out and it was awkward as hell that the movie paired her, a 6000-year-old God with a high school teenager. Jack Dylan Grazer who gets the most screen time other than Levi is a lot of fun to watch especially when paired with Djimon Hounsou as The Wizard. Their comedic scenes really elevated the humour of the movie. I personally think it was criminal that Grace Caroline Curre’s Mary was not explored that much. It’s my main gripe with the movie that it never really focuses as much on the smaller, more grounded aspects of the story as it did in the first movie which had a nice balance. Here, however, the superhero antics take most of the screen time. The action scenes aren’t particularly memorable but I have to say that the visual effects are truly great. It’s refreshing to see a comic-book movie where the visual effects weren’t actually rushed and half-assed because of a deadline.

Overall, while still flawed, ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods‘ is a fun time regardless of the script or emotional weight. The cast shows up and delivers a slew of enjoyable performances. The visual effects are nice to look at and the script manages to get a chuckle out here and there. It’s not the comic-book movie that is going to make the audience groan in repulsion and wonder why they spent two hours at the cinema and spent all that money. That being said, sitting in an audience that was dead silent when you know who showed up knowing that this line of movies is probably never going to be addressed again, it really was strikingly grim. It sure is an interesting time for comic-book movies and franchises.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ is in cinemas now.


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