In 2019 when Shazam! was released, it was more of DC’s attempt to go for a lighter superhero movie that sort of had the appeal of something like Deadpool. Slightly spoofy and with a lot of pop culture references, I remember finding the Zachary Levi movie very, very entertaining. Since the meta-humor treatment was in the beginning stage, it was good to see a DC movie in that space. Four years later, when David F Sandberg comes up with the second installment of the franchise, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, things aren’t entirely absorbing.
Post the events in Shazam! Billy Batson and his foster family siblings are having fun doing the superhero stuff on a daily basis. They have their own hangout place, and things were smooth until the daughters of Atlas came to claim The Staff. How the Shazam family stood up against the mighty sisters to protect their city is what we witness in Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
The first part obviously had the advantage of being an origin story. Since Shazam had a very peculiar origin story, it never felt like those run-of-the-mill superhero films. But here, the world is already established, and even the tone of the drama is pretty clear. The conflict and resolution part is highly generic, and in fact, the movie takes almost half an hour to get to the zone. The film is in a slumber in the initial stages. Sandberg is trying to spoof the superhero fatigue, yet cannot crack anything genuinely funny. The popcorn fun one would anticipate in this film is actually happening in the second half, and they managed to give the story some respectability through the humor.
Zachary Levi, as the vivacious and still amused superhero Shazam is fun to watch, and his efforts to act like the leader is hilarious. Jack Dylan Grazer, as Freddy, has more space here as a part of the story explores his desperation to get attention and company. Rachel Zegler is the new addition to the franchise in the role of Anthea. Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren get to play these antagonists who rarely feel intimidating, and most of the time, the lack of trust among the sisters looks funny, something that feels a bit odd. Djimon Hounsou, as the wizard, has become more of a Sandberg character than a DC character with all those quirky counter-dialogues.
As I said, the second part doesn’t give them space to take the plot aspect very lightly. But by introducing grand scale set pieces that don’t really contribute to the story on the whole, David F Sandberg and his writers Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan drag the initial moments of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, far too much. Sandberg manages to crack the kind of humor he pulled off in the first installment in the movie’s latter half. The template nature of the film gets some relief due to that type of wit. What was clearly flawed, in my opinion, was the quality of the visual effects. That first big set piece featuring the bridge looked really bad, and the texture and lighting of cars and the bridge debris reminded me of playing NFS without the support of a quality graphic card.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which is almost the Antman equivalent of the DC universe, is passable, thanks to the signature comedy. With some surprise cameos and two end-credit scenes that promise to continue the franchise, David F Sandberg manages to steady the ship after a bumpy start.
With some surprise cameos and two end-credit scenes that promise to continue the franchise, David F Sandberg manages to steady the ship after a bumpy start.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended