Shazam! Fury of the Gods is dead on arrival. But that’s not because of the movie, the cast, the crew, or anyone other than Warner Bros. Discovery. Because the entire DC film slate and Universe are being rebooted, there’s a lame-duck section of films like Shazam! Fury of the Gods. That shouldn’t take away from the movie, nor should you just go see a movie because it’s part of an extended universe of films. Once you get past that point of knowing this isn’t probably connecting to a grander scheme of things, you can see that Shazam! Fury of the Gods is pretty damn entertaining.
The movie stars Zachary Levi and Asher Angel as Billy Batson/Shazam and features Grace Caroline Currey, Helen Mirren, Rachel Zegler, Lucy Liu, Adam Brody, Meagan Good, Jack Dylan Grazer, Marta Milans, Djimon Hounsou, Ross Butler, D.J. Cotrona, and Dietrich Bader. The cast might be large, but the focus, at least on the human side of things, is on Freddy. Jack Dylan Grazer does a great job as Freddy, the awkward younger brother of Billy. He’s the heart of the film and gets some of the best awkward teenage laughs. His performance with Rachel Zegler as Ann is another highlight of a great cast.
Levi really shines through, making Shazam his own here. It’s a nice balance of being an actual hero but still remembering that he’s a 17-year-old kid at heart. Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu are damn good villains as the two Greek goddess sisters Kalypso and Hespera. Liu is menacing as hell and ups the film’s stakes as it goes on. The other cast members get their time to shine, but with such a large group, the other kids in the family get left out a bit.
So-So CGI, Pacing, And A Mind-Blowingly Dumb Ending
It seems like most superhero movies these days, the topic of CG gets talked about way too much. It’s not actually that big of a distraction while watching the movie, and people get bent out of shape because they want engagement on social media. However, in a couple of scenes in Shazam! Fury of the Gods, the CGI does end up looking a bit out of place. It’s not where you’d think though. A lot of the action scenes, especially the ones involving Shazam and the big-ass dragon, are fantastic. The ending of the film is absolutely comic-book perfect.
The scenes where cars are falling or things are falling on cars, however, don’t look as good. They end up making the cars look too shiny and smooth. The monsters in the film look great, and when they burst out of their primordial eggs near the third act of the film, it’s magnificent to look at.
Those small issues with the CG are trumped by some pacing issues, particularly in the middle section of the film, and one of the dumbest endings to a comic-book film out there. Without spoiling anything, someone shows up deus ex machina style to save the day after it seems like someone is lost. They didn’t feel the need to show up and help when the entire city of Philadelphia is getting massacred, but show up right at the end of the film. It takes the air out from an actually shocking decision from the filmmakers that would have been more interesting if they went a different route.
Through It All, Shazam! Fury Of The Gods Ends Up Being Pretty Entertaining
Those issues aside, Shazam! Fury of the Gods ends up looking and feeling like a comic book coming to life on the screen. It does what DC does best with its characters. It’s fun, inventive, and blends the mythology aspect with the superhero aspect nicely. The humor is a nice escape from a generally darker plot than the first film. It also takes what was set up in the first film and improves upon it in almost every way.
The third act is thrilling; some of the scenes look and feel like they were ripped out of a Shazam comic. The black sky, his red suit, the lightning, a big-ass dragon, it all makes for a visual feast.
You shouldn’t have to connect everything to a cinematic universe to make a good movie. Shazam! Fury of the Gods might not be the future going forward for DC, but it’s still an entertaining watch.
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