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
In the sequel, Shazam: Fury of the Gods the superhero’s alter ego is the 17-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a foster child on the cusp of legal adulthood, living in a group home . In the original, at the end, Batson gifted some of his powers to the others . They formed the crime fighting Shazamily.
The 2019 movie was a light hearted romp and take on the DC universe movies, which were mostly dour affairs filled with gravitas, angst and angina. The only time the DCU movies ever lightened up a tiny bit was in the Justice League movies, where Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash and Cyborg where forced to work with each other. They were always on the verge of fighting each other or breaking up.
In Fury of the Gods impending adulthood and adult interests are forcing the same breakup angst that confronted the Justice League. And when that happens, the movie loses its light hearted soul, not so coincidentally, when the Shazamily starts to lose their superpowers. The Greek mythological villain duo, the daughters of Atlas, Hespera and Kalypso (Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu) are responsible for that.
A tag along third sister, Anthea, played by Rachel Zegler, is both an ally and impediment to the evil sisters. Anthena has conflicting loyalties. She is good and also smitten by the Shazam alter ego, Billy Batson.
Intentionally or unintentionally it highlights the essential Marvel/DC Cinematic Universes split. Marvel movies are comedies. DC films are tragedies. And never the two shall meet.
Fury of the Gods has a similar split personality and allegiance problem. It’s light hearted nature makes it a wannabe Marvel Cinematic Universe entry. The plot propels Shazam (Zachary Levi) and the others towards confronting adulthood and the fact that these kids are a DC property and must behave and conform in the dour and appropriate manner.
When Shazam was a kid in a kid’s world, this worked, and everyone went along with the Marvel inside joke. The same stuff, but with a DC adult plot imposed, just looks immature, a failed DC entry. The thunderbolt on the chest falls off and lands with a loud thud. Lighting never strikes twice.
The uninspired plotting and villains, also don’t help. The double-casting- with two actors playing younger and older versions of themselves- stretches the movie too thin. The many side plots never focus on a main one. It becomes too judicious, too concerned with giving each hero equal time and proper due. The result- Fury comes off looking unfocused.
The DC Cinematic Universe is currently in the midst of a soft reboot following the recent appointment of James Gunn and Peter Safran as co-heads of DC studios. Actors and franchises are being changed and dropped. Shazam may not survive the budget axe, if the series can’t shed its childhood.
Shazam: Fury of the Gods gets a 3.0 out of 5 or a B.
- Zachary Levi
- Asher Angel
- Jack Dylan Grazer
- Rachel Zegler
- Adam Brody
- Ross Butler
- Meagan Good
- Lucy Liu
- Djimon Hounsou
- Helen Mirren
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
- March 14, 2023(Fox Village Theatre)
- March 17, 2023(United States)