REVIEW: ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ is a worthwhile but unambitious sequel
Not all superhero movies are made equal and not all franchises are going to find success. A sequel to the modest 2019 hit “Shazam!” does now exist, but does anybody really care about “Shazam! Fury of the Gods?”
Fans of the first flick might, but probably not so much anyone else.
“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is a modestly entertaining movie that works well on a surface level and can be fun to watch. But it’s also incredibly middle-of-the-road in terms of superhero entertainment. It’s stretched too thin with too many characters, and isn’t big enough or deep enough to make them all shine.
Plenty of the charm from the first film still remains — so if you liked the first one, you should enjoy this sequel — but there’s nothing particularly lasting or memorable about “Fury of the Gods” on its own.
Billy Batson is a teenage foster kid who was given the powers of the gods in order to turn into the adult superhero Shazam. He shared those powers with his foster siblings, so now they’re a whole family of superheroes. And that’s when some of those gods — some furious gods, you might say — show up to take those powers back.
On the surface, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is an entertaining movie that does hold on to some of the charm of the first film. The original “Shazam!” in 2019 had a lot of youthful energy, since it was a film about a kid becoming a superhero. And the family aspect, as all the foster siblings get powers too, is something that’s unique to this series. All of that comes together very well in a classic story of good guys vs. bad guys.
But “Fury of the Gods” still comes up short overall. Between the family of superheroes and multiple bad guys, there just isn’t enough time to give everybody the spotlight, but the film tries anyway and stretches itself too thin. The villains also aren’t particularly interesting, what with a too complex back story and shifting motivations.
Actor Zachary Levi stars as the adult hero, Shazam, but his increasingly goofy antics might became a bit much for some viewers. The movie also suffers from the simple passage of time. The child actors in the first film that gave it so much energy are older teenagers now, and some of that energy is lost. Then the movie has to balance their teenage selves with their adult actor superhero selves; it’s a lot.
If you’re looking for some simple, fun, relatively child-friendly superhero entertainment, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” should do just fine. But it’s also the sort of movie that falls apart when you think too deeply about it.
“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is currently playing in theaters and is not yet available to watch or stream at home.
For further discussion of the film, tune in to the Sentinel Cinema podcast at www.RomeSentinel.com/podcasts.
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