"This movie was one fun ride but falls short of excellence."
New Line’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods as of Friday is well on its way to a 30 million dollar weekend opening at 4,071 theaters. Money aside, let's get right to the point... If you enjoyed the dark and gritty Snyder-verse or Matt Reeves "The Batman" this is NOT the movie for you. This film is a palatable amalgam of a lighthearted kids movie and the standard action-packed superhero movies we become accustomed to.
Zachary Levi shines once again portraying a teenage boy trapped in the body of a Greek god. This time around Billy Batson is coping with the stress and pressure of being the leader of a superhero team. Billy is definitely no Superman or Captain America. To be honest, for a boy who is supposed to have the wisdom of King Solomon...he is definitely lacking in the experience department. This is where the comedic moments in this movie shine the best at first. Watching Billy fumble his way thru super heroism with his makeshift orphan family now imbued with superpowers themselves is endearing in the beginning.
After a while though endearment quickly turned to frustration for me as some of the same silly tropes and recycled jokes became tiresome this second time around. I attribute this to being an adult who has to make sense of his movies, but the inner child in me was screaming with excitement everytime i heard the words...SHAZAM! This movie is one fun ride but falls short of excellence.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is definitely a movie to bring your younglings too. The entire tone of this sequel is campier and focuses on the power of family to overcome evil.
Speaking of family, enter a trifecta of vengeful sorceresses called the Daughters of Atlas, led by Hespera (Helen Mirren) and Kalypso (Lucy Liu), who want to avenge their father, Atlas who was betrayed by the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) who somehow thru the power of plot holes survived the events of the first “Shazam!”. The identity of the third Daughter is revealed later in the movie. Let me be clear, Helen Mirren is masterful as the driven and menacing Hespera. Even her fight scenes come off as not only plausible, but you almost want to cheer for the 77 year old actress owning a combat scene with actors half her age.
Lucy Liu is just timeless, despite playing the blood thirsty master of Chaos Kalypso. Having veteran actresses of this caliber absolutely elevates this movie in all the right ways. At times you almost empathize with the sisters and can relate to why they want revenge. Billy wants to protect his family, and they want to restore their own. Noticing a theme here?
As a Philly born native seeing this movie set in my city warms my little hometown heart. This movie definitely gets the scenery right in many instances. Philly is the city of the underdog story (thank you "Rocky" & "Creed") so a superhero team comprised of orphan's fits the mold. The fact they are also referenced as the "Philly Fiascos" *Chef Kiss*.
Philadelphia gets no respect from those outside our city. It fuels our blue-collar underdog methos. So, hormonal, pubescent, tweens looking to find themselves while navigating real world problems, adult emotions, the powers of Mt. Olympus perfectly set the tone for Philly bred shenanigans. Dragon punching, Wonder Woman flirting, Crotch watching, Unicorn riding, talk to script writing, Cougar kissing, Citizens Bank Park crumbling, World ending shenanigans. After you see the movie, you will get the references. Oh, and by the way Warner Brothers. Philadelphians don't call cheesesteaks "Philly Cheesesteaks". I don't know who made the cheesesteaks for this movie, but those Jawns definitely didn't come from Maxx's.
Family is the center focus of this entire movie, so much so that it becomes a bit overstated. At one point I wanted to yell at the screen, "OK Billy, we get it......you love your FAMILY! Sheesh lets focus on the dragon". The fact that Billy (Asher Angel) is wrestling with the fear of aging out of his foster home and losing his family, works as an undertone to his motivations in this movie. The first SHAZAM! primarily focused on Freddy's (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Billys friendship. The sequel now becomes a family affair highlighting more of the supporting cast.
This is where the pacing in this movie gets a bit clunky and the story telling gets to be a bit random. Random dream sequences, hidden plot devices that force the story along, and the ever-present sentiment of the power of family to overcome evil.
In the end Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a solid enough sequel in a world of lack luster DC sequels (WW84, The Suicide Squad). There are a few emotional moments, amazing visual effects, and a bit of awkwardly implied cougar love. In a surprising move Warner Brothers reveals that Wonder Woman is in the movie with their final released trailer. Seeing Gal Gadot reprise her role as Diana Prince in any movie is always a win. Make sure to stay till the very end, there are two after credit scenes that are absolutely worth your time.
For Shazam! Fury of the Gods I gave this movie a 6.5 out of 10, not as good as the first movie but definitely an enjoyable watch.
Go see Shazam! Fury of the Gods in theaters now. In case you were wondering... yes there is a fast and the furious reference in the movie. You know why?
Did you see Shazam! Fury of the Gods? How did you like it?