The film continues the story of teenage Billy Batson who, upon reciting the magic word “SHAZAM!” is transformed into his adult Super Hero alter ego, Shazam.
Director David F. Sandberg is back with the sequel to his child turned adult superhero named Shazam! Back in 2019 with the original, it was a surprise hit. It may not have been a huge worldwide blockbuster at the box office, but it was still profitable and was surprisingly good at being able to cater to both children and adults. Four years later it’s unfortunate, but some may not say the same for the sequel. Fury of the Gods is a fun lighthearted film, but at the cost of being super friendly it may have taken away the entertainment value that made the first film stand out so well.
What’s great about Fury of the Gods is it still acknowledges the obvious. Billy Batson aka Shazam (Zachary Levi) is a child that turns into an adult superhero. He may have the muscles, but his mind has not caught up yet. It’s fascinating to see how a young man with abandonment issues and years of trauma has to take on so much cosmic responsibility and maturity. It would send anyone down a mental gymnastics trip trying to make sense of it all. The plot addresses this well and has a great number of comedic beats to make you smile from ear to ear regarding it. Shazam is dealing with so much and it’s fun to see him try to tackle it all.
It’s the same amount of frustration dealing with his powers and trying to lead a team. He has no experience with this. This boy can’t even balance a checkbook, but he’s supposed to lead other members of his family, the Shazam family, where all members are either his age or younger. This small group of heroes is trying their best to save the day when helpless humans are in danger. They put forth a great effort, but it’s not enough and the general public isn’t happy. It was a great display and use of powers from the small group but there are many cracks that need to be filled if they’re to be respected as an honorable superhero group. Sometimes you can save the world, but people will still complain that you didn’t do it fast enough. That’s the dilemma we found our heroes in which was a great sight to see.
When it comes to the villains it’s a complete miss. Hespera (Helen Mirren) and Kalypso (Lucy Liu) have no business in the film. Not that they’re above comic book roles, but this time it doesn’t work. Sure, their characters are gods from the past and they may not possess the social skills that would help them fit well into today’s society with others. In the beginning, they seem dangerous, but afterwards their presence didn’t equate to their bark. Instead of just killing their opposition or stealing their powers they took part in pointless monologuing yelling their frustrations. “I’m going to kill you now because I’m dangerous,” energy was spewing from their pores, and I just want them to get on with it instead of saying it. It’s mind-boggling what Anthea (Rachel Zegler) was doing. At this time, it’s still not clear whether she was a good or bad guy. Also, what’s up with her powers? It’s difficult to explain. She’s able to manipulate matter and shift high skyscrapers back and forth as easily as it is playing with Lego blocks. Seriously?! If she can do this she should literally be one of the most powerful people on the planet if not in the galaxy. Yet it feels very wasted and confusing.
The action in the film was fine. There was a ton of it, but none of it contained any stakes except during the first act of the film when the Shazam family is trying to save people on a crashing bridge. Other than that, it’s obvious that everyone in perceived danger will be ok or survive. There were some punches, kicks, and blasts of lightning energy that did look appealing on the big screen, but none of it had any weight. The continuity in the battles were nonexistent as well. While some were fighting others are just standing there as onlookers. This is horrible and all characters in close proximity of each other should be engaged in the fight.
The biggest sin of this movie is who it’s actually designed for. In my opinion, this is not for adults and children like the first film. It’s strictly for children with its soft silly tone and a number of jokes. There is one sequence where a city is literally infested with giant monsters everywhere terrorizing anything that moves, but it’s all a joke and not taken seriously. There’s no panic at all from the heroes and a solution to the problem arises in less than three seconds. If the characters on screen aren’t scared, how can an audience member be?
With all that being said, this film isn’t horrible. It’s not a waste of time or trash. There’s still a lot of fun to be had if you make your way to the theater to see it. However, it’s not remotely as good as the first film which was one of the better comic book films at the time of its release. This is a turn your brain completely off, laugh at all the jokes, and appreciate the bright lights kind of movie. There is no threat, no danger, and no stakes in the film which makes it a little dull but still fun. At one point it appeared that the bad guys won, so it’s confusing why they’re still fighting. It appears the filmmaker didn’t care to have this make sense. It’s just sad that so much happened in this film that would warrant worldwide attention yet other heroes like Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman don’t show up at all and if they did it was far too late. This film is not to be taken seriously and is mainly just two hours of jokes. So if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll have the best time ever!