Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a poorly executed attempt at offering more of everything that made its predecessor entertaining.
Billy Batson (Zachary Levi) continues to use his powers for good with the help of The Shazamily. They can’t save the day without making every disaster much worse than they found it, consequently earning the title “Philly Fiasco”. It doesn’t help that his foster siblings are growing up with their own personal interests, making teamwork a challenge. Billy’s also struggling with his issues – he has finally found a family, but he’s aging out of the foster system. He soon learns that his personal and family problems are the least of his worries as the Daughters of Atlas appear in the city with nefarious plans.
It’s natural for a sequel to double down on what made its predecessors work. But with a generic superhero vs overpowered villain plot, a story that’s all over the place, and boring action, Shazam 2 offers more but delivers less.
The Shazamily now has to deal with three villains that present an Avenger’s level threat. They’re either cruel, overpowered, and determined, or restrained, undecided and inept depending on plot convenience. The first movie is about the staff, now there’s another McGuffin that doesn’t make an appearance until halfway. The dark tone of the movie doesn’t go well with its humor and cartoony antics.
Billy’s issues only appear when it’s convenient for the story while the rest of the Shazamily is used as a plot device. Zachary Levi plays Billy like a 12-year-old in an adult superhero body when he’s supposed to be turning 18. His inane babbling gets more annoying as the movie progresses. It has become more obvious that he’s miscast as Shazam.
The rest of the cast makes do with what they’re given. The talents of Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu deserved more than bland villains, but at least they got a paycheck out of it.
Arguably, this is a superhero movie, so the action is the main priority. Unfortunately, it’s static and repetitive. It will still distract 12-year-old kids and below for two hours, but unless you have the money to splurge on the cinema, it doesn’t need a theater experience. Everybody else who is used to The Avengers-era action when MCU was at its peak, should lower their expectations.
Shazam shows up as a dot on the horizon, zaps enemies with a lightning bolt, and zips around. The Shazamily is always framed at the center and their powers aren’t put to creative use. Based on the first movie, one would be led to assume that a bunch of eager superpowered kids would’ve tested their skills and come up with something interesting. Unfortunately, they’re limited by director David F. Sandberg’s action filmmaking.
The movie tries to deliver a gotcha ending. There’s no impact because the story struggles to have an emotional throughline. Worse, the script tells us that Billy has learned nothing despite what he went through because he’s still struggling to learn his true power as the S in Shazam.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods fails to build on its formula, revealing its franchise to be a miscast one-trick pony.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is an overlong and scattershot movie that fails to build on the successful formula of its predecessor.