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 – This is a film where nearly anything of interest was sandblasted off to give us a bland expedition with some moments of interest.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.
Black Adam Review –
I came into this film with a lot of trepidation. To say that Warner Bros has had a challenging year with its merger would be an understatement, losing nearly any goodwill they had with them. Add to this that the DCEU has struggled with very straightforward hero narratives. How would they go with an anti-hero? But if nothing else, the charisma of Dwayne Johnson is strong, and if anything can help a film, it is that.
So to set the scene, 5,000 years ago, in 2,600 BCW, in the land of Kahndaq, Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) was chosen by the wizards to stand up to the local despot. SHAZAM, and the palace explodes. In the present, Kahndaq is still under the control of occupiers, and Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) is trying to hide treasures from the Intergang mercenaries when she finds Black Adam’s tomb. He is finally let free, but all that time has not blunted his desire for revenge and rampage. Seeing a potential threat, Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and the Justice Society Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) try to show him a different path or at least get him to surrender peacefully. But then, the Black Adam is not peaceful.
In a world full of dower grittiness, it is nice sometimes to sit back, crack a cold one, and just enjoy some fun, and God knows in 2019we needed it. So today, I take a moment to champion those films that brought the fun, whether through upbeat action, one laugh after another, or that silliness that brings a smile to your face.
So without further ado, these are films that brought the fun in 2019. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, you can click on the banners for the full review.
There are many techniques you can use to help build your world, or ground your setting, or give dimensions to your characters. You can use music, you can create elaborate sets, but one of the best ways is the costumes you create.
People make instant judgments about a character within moments on the screen and the outfits are a really important part of that first impression. More than this, you can also use costumes as a way for storytelling, what do they say about this world, what do they say about how a character is progressing.
Costumes can build worlds, tell us details we can only see, but also they can just make us say ‘hot damn’ look at that beading on that dress, that must have taken hours to do. So without further ado, these are the costumes that made us say ‘hot damn’ in 2019. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also. Please click on the banners to be taken to the full review.
TL;DR – By finding a focus, Shazam! shows that DC can really make great films when they focus on something, in this case, the role of family.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene
By now, I am sure you have heard about the issues with the DC Extended Universe,
in the race to get that big multi-film spanning Cinema Empire they jumped the
gun too early and rushed forward before finding out if people wanted what they
were giving. During its First Run,
there was only one film that was both a critical and commercial success, Wonder
Woman, this was because it had its own heart and was not just here to
push a cinematic universe, and it has something to say. Since then we have had Aquaman
that while not perfect was at least trying to do something interesting, and
today we get a look at the next film that found that fun is fine, but heart is more important.
So to set the scene, we open as a young Thad (Ethan Pugiotto) is on a car trip
with his unpleasant family in the 1970s when he is sucked into another realm
run by Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) the last of the council of wizards left. He is
trying to find someone pure of heart to be his successor, but alas Thad is not
the one. Fast forward to December 2018 when we find Billy Batson (Asher Angel)
helping the police out, but it a ruse to get into their computer because he is
trying to find his mum that he lost as a child. Well,
it didn’t work out and Billy is put with new foster parents Victor (Cooper
Andrews) and Rosa (Marta Milans), not that he plans to stay long. However,
everything changes when a subway trip leads him to a dark cave and he yells out
the word Shazam becoming someone completely else (Zachary Levi).