The newest DC comics film “Shazam! Fury of the Gods’’, directed by David F. Sandberg, released theatrically on St. Patrick Day’s weekend. To very poor box office results, the film was unable to make even over its 100 million dollar budget. The film itself is a run-of-the-mill superhero flick with not a whole lot new to offer, and the lackluster response from both critics and audiences definitely shows.
The first Shazam movie received positive reviews by fans and critics, with one of the main reasons being its more zany and comedic tone when compared to a majority of DC films beforehand. “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” follows suit and maintains the same feel throughout the film, although not quite as comedically strong as its predecessor.
The plot takes place two years after the events of the previous film. Teenager Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel, has the ability to transform into an adult superhero, played by Zachary Levi, by uttering the phrase “Shazam!” where he proceeds to help civilians alongside his foster siblings who all share the same ability.
A new threat arises when the daughters of the ancient god Atlas forcibly retrieve a powerful staff belonging to the Wizard, who is the very being that bestowed Batson his superhuman powers. Batson and his family must face the daughters who seek to wipe out the mortal world as means for revenge, while also dealing with the possibility of drifting apart from one another as Batson ages into adulthood.
The film is very lighthearted and never tries to take itself too seriously. The main acting from both Angel and Levi as Batson is pretty solid. Jack Dylan Grazer, who plays Batson’s foster sibling Freddy Freeman, is definitely the strongest actor throughout the movie in terms of performance.
While it has its moments of charm that are reminiscent of the first film, it isn’t able to save the story suffering from having many structural issues. The whole predicament of Batson and his siblings who slowly drift away is seemingly forgotten about entirely, and it honestly seems like a bit of a missed opportunity. The film is definitely gearing itself more towards a younger demographic, but it doesn’t make it any more creative or enjoyable.
The plot also suffers from being rather played out. At times it feels rather archaic compared to its comic book contemporaries, not only because of its generic plotline but also because of some of the rushed special effects as seen in the film’s climax.
The stakes also feel rather low, as the main villains don’t have a lot of bite. Helen Mirren and Michelle Borth give pretty fun performances as the daughters of Atlas, but the main problem lies in that they aren’t given that much material to work with outside of one or two scenes.
It’s very clear that this movie was hampered sometime during development, as one of the mid credits scenes was forced to be changed. “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is a perfectly unremarkable superhero flick that can be enjoyed in a vacuum, but amid reconstructions of the DC cinematic universe, it only serves as yet another disappointing superhero sequel.