TL;DR – When it is working, it is a delightful blast of a film
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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.
TL;DR – A visually stunning romp through an unknown world with danger at every turn
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film
Strange World Review –
There is always a particular joy when you sit down to an adventure film and get to be taken into a majestic new world with wonders at every turn. It is where danger and joy can switch in a moment or be intertwined. It is easy to give lip service to this genre without exploring the depths necessary to bring it off. But today, we look at a film that plums those depths both literally and figuratively.
So to set the scene, we open in Avalonia, a beautiful land cut off from the rest of the world due to a ring of impassable mountains. Many people have tried to find a route, but all have failed, and most of them gave their lives in the process. But one family, The Clades, decided to buck that trend as father Jager (Dennis Quaid) and son Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal) fight through every obstacle to find a way through the mountains. However, one day when finding the way through the mountains, Searcher finds a green plant brimming with energy that could be Avalonia’s future. The two fight, and Jaeger walks into the icy gloom alone. Twenty-five years later. Searcher has married Meridian (Gabrielle Union), and they have a son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White) and make their lives farming and selling Pando. But when the Pando starts dying off, Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu), the president of Avalonia, arrives at the farm to go on an expedition to discover why, and Searcher, son of Jaeger, gets roped in, as does a stowaway or two.
TL;DR – A beautifully animated film with real heart and warmth, that elevates it above most ‘kids’ films that you see in cinemas.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Before we start, let’s be honest for a moment, it is not that hard to make a successful kid’s film. Kid’s love simple slapstick humour, vibrant colourful characters, and hey chuck in a sing-along CD and a toy line and you’re set. Indeed parents like anything that they can sit their kid’s in front of so they can have a moment of peace to clean up the carnage that kids leave in their wake. This is why Angry Birds will be a financial success and parent’s cabinets are filled with DVDs of whatever Cars knockoff is going at the moment. Making a successful kid’s film, not that hard, making a good kid’s film, well that’s another thing entirely. However, after last week’s Zootopia and this week’s Kung Fu Panda 3 we can see that it is possible to create a kid’s film that is both successful and in fact really quite good. Indeed it is a really good time for animated films at the moment, and kid’s films in general, because people are actually taking the time to create thought-provoking quality work, see Inside Out, Wreck-it Ralph, Big Hero 6, How To Train Your Dragon, literally anything by Studio Ghibli and indeed today’s film Kung Fu Panda 3.