Shazam! Fury Of The Gods: The BRWC Review

Shazam! Fury of the Gods: The BRWC Review

Shazam! Fury Of The Gods: The BRWC Review

In 2019 the DC universe stumbled onto a miracle when Shazam! proved to be a success. The film opened so well that in no time, a sequel was confirmed, and after thoroughly enjoying the original, I was totally on board. With director David F. Sandberg continuing at the helm and Zachery Levi returning to the titular role, I was sure Shazam! Fury of the Gods was going to be another family hit, and it pains me to write that it isn’t. 

The first film left off gifting the franchise countless possibilities. It saw Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his foster siblings take on superhero form and save the day after a touching, often genuinely hilarious adventure about belonging. And what did the sequel do with this open-ended setup? Not much. 

With so many possibilities open to them, the DC masterminds decided to take a step backwards and instead make another formulaic superhero movie relying on brand recognition and cheap gags to get by. There’s still some charm to be found, young Jack Dylan Grazer still has his moments as Billy’s brother and best friend, Freddy Freeman, but it is hollow compared to the original. The main issue is that after taking Billy through his emotional journey in the first film, the writers didn’t know what to make the crux of this film, so they simply rehashed it. 

When we meet our heroes again, they have been trying to make themselves the heroes of Philadelphia, but every heroic act they do is only half successful, seeing them labelled the ‘Philly Fiascos’. From here, it’s not long before the same old story of Billy confronting his fears of abandonment arises, and you can’t help but feel it doesn’t matter because the ending is a foregone conclusion. But what surprised me most of all was how bogged down it often gets on the way there. For a comic book movie, Fury of the Gods is awfully slow, often making time to have asides that exist as mere joke segments; there’s not much fury or fighting until the end.

Throughout though Shazam needs a new villain for the franchise, this time they are The Daughters of Atlas, a trio of women comprised of Kalypso (Lucy Liu), Hespera (Helen Mirren) and a third sister the film keeps secret for a time. They plan to restore their magical abilities with the staff Shazam broke in the first film and then take the powers from the superhero family, making them all just children again.

They aren’t from any comic book; they’re merely plucked from Greek mythology and made into uninteresting comic book villains. However, both performances are admirable, particularly Liu’s – no one can claim she only turned up for the paycheck, she really goes for it at specific points.

But to no avail, as a whole, the performances in this film merely get by, as they have so little to work with. Levi does his best; he’d be great in a gender-flipped Freaky Friday as he convincingly portrays the child in a man’s body gimmick, but it isn’t as successful as the first film. Rising star Rachel Zegler also appears as a love interest to Freeman, but Grazer and her share very little chemistry, and despite the film’s best efforts, it’s quite a mismatch that takes up a larger portion of the film than it should.

All in all, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a disappointment that takes the wonderful work of the first film and has no idea what to do with it. The upcoming Flash film may well mark the end of this DC universe, and that’s probably for the best.

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Mark is an Australian who likes movies, a lot. Now he studies and writes about them. Will watch anything Scorsese has ever touched.