The end of the DCEU has begun with a film that was filled with moments of heart, action, and silliness.
Shazam: Fury of the Gods stars Zachary Levi and Asher Angel as Billy Batson/Shazam, Jack Dylan Grazer and Adam Brody as Freddy Freeman, Grace Caroline Curry as Mary Bromfield, Ian Chen and Ross Butler as Eugene Choi, Faithe Herman and Meagan Goode as Darla Dudley, and Jovan Armand and D.J. Controna as Pedro Peña. Together they face off against Helen Mirren as Hespera, Lucy Liu as Kalypso, and Rachel Zegler as Anthea. Also returning are Djimon Hounsou as the Wizard as well as Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans as Victor and Rosa Vasquez.
I was excited for this movie as I liked the first Shazam! and the high potential spin off that led to nothing Black Adam. The movie did have some moments that were fun, full of heart, and was packed with superhero thrills. The movie is also not as good as Black Adam or Shazam!, which is kind of a bummer if this could be the last Shazam! movie.
Zachary Levi was a bit more inconsistent in this film than he was in the first Shazam. There were times where he was more heroic and entertaining than Superman, definitely in the second half of the film. There were also moments where he annoyed the everloving piss outta me. If I had to make some demands for the next (if there is one), I’d have more of him selflessly fighting evil chaos goddesses and less of him saying “fam” please.
I also found that the film could be tonally inconsistent at times. The film would alternate between goofball superhero comedy to Zack Snyder darkness in a matter of seconds. A lot of mortals die really hard deaths in this movie. I’m not someone who’s generally put off by violence in films, but it felt more out of place if anything. Sure, there was plenty of fighting in the first one, but here a person could either be gored by a minotaur or convinced to do something heinous by Kalypso.
Perfect segway, let’s talk about the villains. They’re your run-of-the-mill overpowered super people with grudges against humanity. They want to destroy all the humans because of what they did to the gods. Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu are both great actresses, but it seems to me like they were cast to give the film some star power. Both of their acting jobs aren’t what I’d consider to be Oscar worthy performances, and since the characters themselves are kinda generic, they could’ve been played by unknowns. Rachel Zegler, who played Anthea, was the best out of the three. Her villain actually had an interesting arc as opposed to her sisters.
Kalypso did stand out once she enacted the evil plan to destroy humanity. Her attack on Philadelphia was cool to watch. I liked all the monsters from Greek Mythology coming to life and laying waste to Fawcett City. I didn’t have that on my 2023 bingo card. Still, Lucy Liu’s performance probably could’ve been matched by an unknown actress of equal talent.
I liked how the film featured more of the siblings working together. Eugene and Darla were my favorite siblings, and Pedro had his moments too. Billy and Freddy’s brotherly relationship is still just as fun as the last one. Freddy’s scenes with the Wizard were fun too, like when they escaped the prison they were trapped in by Hespera and Kalypso. Freddy also proved that he’s just as brave as Billy, maybe even moreso.
Before you go see the movie, I just want you to know a few things. Kalypso is based, Billy’s foster dad watches 90s WWF, and unicorns know what the best movie theater candy is. These might seem confusing but if you watch the movie you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is another imperfect DC film. I wouldn’t call it complete garbage but I also isn’t a masterwork like The Batman or The Suicide Squad. I still like Zachary Levi as Shazam and if Gunn makes it happen, then I’ll go see a 3rd Shazam movie. DC still has a lot of films coming out this year, and I hope the other films build up from Shazam! Fury of the Gods and end the DCEU on a satisfying note.
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