• Wed. Apr 17th, 2024


ByTaylor T Carlson

Mar 16, 2023

SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS is directed by David F. Sandberg. The film stars Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Meagan Good, Lucy Liu, Djimon Hounsou, and Helen Mirren. It’s the twelfth film in the DC Extended Universe.

During their last adventure, young Billy Batson inherited the Shazam! powers from a wizard, which he bestowed upon his foster family siblings, enabling them to win the day and triumph over evil. But a hero’s work is never done. The Daughters of Atlas have come to Earth, prompting the siblings to step into battle again, but the evil goddesses have their sights set on world domination. Their goals include the ability to steal back the powers Billy bestowed upon his brothers and sisters. How will they triumph over a threat that could potentially steal their superhero abilities?

If you know me, it’s no secret that I loved the first SHAZAM! movie. The DCEU got off to a somewhat rough start, with many hit-and-miss efforts then and since, but it ultimately delivered several solid films, including WONDER WOMAN and AQUAMAN. SHAZAM! was my personal favorite with its mix of meta-style humor, gripping action, and personal drama; it had a heart that was missing from so many other DCEU productions. FURY OF THE GODS has the daunting task of following up what was, by a considerable margin, my favorite DCEU movie. While it doesn’t quite recapture all the elements that made the original film the gem it was, it still manages to mostly deliver.

Any superhero movie needs a good villain; a lack of one can make or break a film. We get a pair of diabolical and menacing goddesses portrayed by Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu here, who give them personalities and a devastating presence. While their backstory isn’t exactly anything original, their portrayals are top-notch (who among us ever thought we’d see Mirren in a superhero movie, as a villain no less?) They’re also slightly more fleshed out than some of the other DCEU antagonists with a tragic but relatable backstory, and seeing them clash when our heroes is undeniably fun (given that the antagonists are female, FURY OF THE GODDESSES might have been a more appropriate title).

The heroes are as entertaining as ever. The role of Billy Batson/Shazam! remains split between Zachary Levi in the character’s hero form and Asher Angel in the “regular” teenage human form. Levi still steals the show with his goofy nature; many critics called the previous movie “BIG With Superheroes,” and that’s not a bad comparison. The film is tasked with the difficult task of juggling these characters, but each gets a handful of highlights. The movie gives an expanded role to Billy’s foster brother Freddy, and seeing his scenes with a pretty young girl who may not be all that she seems and the wizard from the first film, portrayed by Djimon Hounsou, are absolutely hilarious and make for some of the best all-around moments.

The SHAZAM! movies succeed at thrusting these characters into impossible odds and dire situations, approaching them with action and humor. Nowhere is this truer than in this movie’s climactic moments, with an entertaining climax in which Philadelphia is under attack (glad it’s not Los Angeles or New York City for the umpteenth time) with our heroes having to give their all and make sacrifices to keep the world safe. It mostly manages to deliver in the humor and action department.

That said, the sequel isn’t perfect, and it never quite reaches the heights of its predecessor. FURY OF THE GODS focuses almost exclusively on the superhero element, and it almost never finds time to focus on the “everyday life” material and meta-style humor of the original movie. While Zachary Levi flies as high as ever, Asher Angel is largely relegated to supporting status at best. The heart of the original movie was arguably its greatest strength, and while FURY OF THE GODS throws in everything but the kitchen sink with its epic finale, it certainly comes at a price. The finale also makes the mistake of not focusing enough on the rest of the “Shazam! Family” as it only shows us highlights of their exploits wile Billy gets nearly all the screen time fighting the main villains. Not to say it’s not an epic sequel, but it simply can’t top its predecessor. To be fair, though, that film set the bar pretty high.

FURY OF THE GODS isn’t a sequel that never quire surpasses the first movie, but what it does, it does well enough. The performances from the cast and plenty of epic moments throughout seal the deal, and it’s at least in the better half of the DCEU films, and for fans of comic book movies, that should be sufficient. Moderately recommended.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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