TL;DR – When it is working, it is a delightful blast of a film
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film
Shazam! Fury of the Gods Review –
When the first Shazam! film came out. It was at this odd moment for the DCEU. There had been a hard pivot away from the dark and brooding movies like Batman v Superman towards something a little lighter. And I, for one, liked the change. While Shazam! and Aquaman were not perfect films, there were at least supremely entertaining. But I wondered if lightning could strike twice because, much like last time, Shazam has to do some repair work after a string of failures.
So to set the scene, since Billy (Asher Angel) was given the powers of Shazam (Zachary Levi) by the last council of the wizards, also called Shazam (Djimon Hounsou), he has tried to be a superhero. However, he is still just a kid; if ever there is an imposter syndrome, it is this. However, life does not give him the time and space to process this change because the two daughters of Atlas, Kalypso (Lucy Liu) and Hespera (Helen Mirren), have returned to Earth. They are there to rectify their position and see Billy and his family as a threat and an affront to everything they stand for.
From the start, I have to say that it was odd walking into a film that is part of an extended universe but that you know it is about to get partially or entirely retconned out of existence. It is one of the dangers with a big Cinematic Universe where you have to put stock into these characters, but what happens when you know from outside production forces that none of it will matter in the long run? This is the struggle that Shazam is dealing with for its entire runtime, for better or worse.
If there is one word I would use to summarise this film, it is ‘fun’. Everyone in the cast gets to have comedic moments, and it was fun being an audience enjoying every moment. I was unsure how it would all go, and if the adults playing children bit would work for the whole runtime, but it did. I was concerned that the kids would get a bit overwhelmed by their superhero identities now the entire family had become heroes, but there was a good balance of time between the two extremes. Which is good because the film is significantly funnier when it is just the kids. I would have liked to see a bit more of Asher Angel, seeing those insecurities through his eyes and not just Zachary Levi’s.
As for the narrative, it is primarily straightforward, if a little convoluted in places. A lot is going on, but all you need to know is that because of actions in the first film, the magical wall between the gods and the human realm has broken down, and now the daughters of Atlas have come back to Earth to claim the power lost to them. I liked that they started out with some incredibly menacing powers, but that falls away to being just general heavy punchers. I liked how Anthea (Rachel Zegler)’s powers felt like an evolution of what we saw in Doctor Strange but with a new twist. I quite liked Helen Mirren in this film, who very much pulled off menacing, but I would have liked it if Lucy Liu could go a bit more into the character.
I loved all the production and set design, with the highlight being how the cave looks with all the kids decorating it. Also, bless Steve in everything he does, and his not understanding when not to write something down. It was also one of the better-designed dragons I have seen in a while, though the Fast and the Furious joke landed better than the Game of Thrones reference. Also, some of that design gets lost in the third act, which feels much more bloated than the rest of the film. But a solid musical score can help glide over a number of issues.
In the end, do we recommend Shazam! Fury of the Gods? Yes, we do. Now, this is not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is a fun film that understands its core premise and makes the most of it. The cast is there, the emotional moments hit, and it is always nice getting to see Helen Mirren have some fun in an outrageous costume. If you liked Shazam! Fury of the Gods, we recommend to you Wonder Woman.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Directed by – David F. Sandberg
Screenplay by – Henry Gayden & Chris Morgan
Based on – Characters by DC
Music by – Christophe Beck
Cinematography by – Gyula Pados
Edited by – Michel Aller
Production/Distribution Companies – New Line Cinema, DC Studios, The Safran Company, Seven Bucks Productions & Warner Bros. Pictures
Starring – Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Adam Brody, Rachel Zegler, Ross Butler, Ian Chen, Meagan Good, Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, D. J. Cotrona, Jovan Armand, Lucy Liu, Djimon Hounsou, Helen Mirren, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews & Rizwan Manji with Gal Gadot, Jennifer Holland, Steve Agee, Mark Strong & David F. Sandberg
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13
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