Shazam Fury of the Gods 2023 Movie Review
Director: David F. Sandberg
Cast: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Rachel Zegler, Grace Caroline Currey, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Meagan Good, Lucy Liu, Djimon Hounsou, and Helen Mirren
Cinematography: Gyula Pados
Music: Christophe Beck
Bestowed with the powers of the gods, Billy Batson and his fellow foster kids are still learning how to juggle teenage life with their adult superhero alter egos. When a vengeful trio of ancient gods arrives on Earth in search of the magic stolen from them long ago, Shazam and his allies get thrust into a battle for their superpowers, their lives, and the fate of the world.
Shazam Fury of the Gods 2023 Movie Review:
When Shazam! arrived in 2019, its lively tale of a foster kid bestowed with superpowers brought a breath of minty-fresh air to the DCEU. If only that were the case for Shazam! Fury of the Gods, a troubled and tiresome follow-up.
Of course, the second time around it was always going to be tough to maintain the novelty of Zachary Levi playing Shazam, the caped alter ego of teenager Billy Batson (Asher Angel). But the bigger issue is returning director David F. Sandberg’s struggle to move the story on.
It starts promisingly, as the vengeful Daughters of Atlas – Kalypso (Lucy Liu) and Hespera (Helen Mirren) – arrive at a museum in Athens to steal the magical staff that Shazam previously snapped in two.
Meanwhile, our hero himself is in therapy, dealing with imposter syndrome, especially as he feels others now look up to him. After using his powers to zap his friends, there’s now a whole gang of supers, including his foster brother Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), who becomes Captain Everypower (Adam Brody).
Freddy gets a further boost when he meets new girl Anthea (West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler) at school, in one of the script’s more charming subplots. The film also features a great early set piece, where Shazam and the gang come to the rescue as Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Bridge starts to collapse. It’s a thrilling scene, and funny too – especially when Shazam stops a car from plummeting while the driver is playing Bonnie
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Tyler’s ‘Holding Out For a Hero’ on her stereo. Sadly, everything else starts to sink soon after. The CG-heavy plot is increasingly incomprehensible and derivative – everything from Game of Thrones like dragons, a magical pen that feels plucked from Harry Potter, and nods to the Fast & Furious franchise are thrown at the wall to see what sticks.
It doesn’t help that among Shazam’s five caped comrades, most are entirely forgettable – both as ordinary teens and as hero figures. True, it’s great to see Mirren in a comic-book movie and Liu is an actor who always lights up the big screen. Rachel Zegler is also a fine addition.
There is also the occasional comic delight (like Djimon Hounsou’s returning wizard, appearing in a dream, in an unexpected new guise) but the innocence that made the first film so watchable is absent. With the story lacking real jeopardy, the feeling this leaves isn’t quite fury, but it’s certainly apathy.
There’s a lot of groundwork to be laid for any of this to make sense, so Fury of the Gods routinely stalls so that characters can gather in dimly lit sets and rattle through as much exposition as they can.
The action sequences are treated much the same — for a film that extolls the limitless potential of the mythic, half of these scenes still take place in abandoned warehouses.
Mirren, Liu, and Zegler seem to have (accurately) understood that all that’s needed from them is to look cool in their costumes and then cash their cheques. It may not be practical to build an entire film around how sexy it is when Mirren casually adjusts her crown, but it’s also the only truly valuable thing Fury of the Gods has to offer.
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Director David F Sandberg, and his writers Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan, haven’t been given the room – or simply don’t care enough – to actually establish how a Shazam! the film should look and move.
The wisecracks in the script are either about other Warner Bros properties (Game of Thrones, Annabelle, and The Lord of the Rings all get a look in) or their rivals over at Disney.
Verdict: Shazam Fury of the Gods 2023 Movie Review
Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu look cool but can’t salvage a pointless DC sequel. Like the last breath of a dying regime at DC, the `Shazam!’ sequel feels far too messy and corporatized to have any affection.