Shazam! from 2019 was a refreshing, heartwarming, at times bittersweet coming-of-age film about family. Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a superhero movie.
When I saw the original Shazam! I remember walking out thinking I'd seen the future of superhero movies. It was hilarious and at times director David F. Sandberg showed off his chops in horror filmmaking with some legitimately terrifying sequences.
From about a week later I barely thought about it again.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods picks up not long after the end of the previous film. Billy Batson, the 17-year-old who gets superpowers when he says the word "SHAZAM" fights crime with his foster family. They also get powers when they say "SHAZAM". He's not just taking like, regular kids into battle.
The Daughters of Atlas show up, angry that their father's powers have been wasted on children and try to take them back. Also they want to destroy the human realm since they've been locked away for so long. It's a whole thing.
Some of you may have heard that the current DC Cinematic Universe is being thrown out and starting from scratch.
Black Adam brought back Henry Cavill as Superman after years of uncertainty, while that film was still in cinemas, it was announced the role would be recast.
The Flash which comes out in June is set to be where the reboot of the universe takes place, so why should we bother with a Shazam! sequel which will be decanonised in a couple of months?
DC is long overdue a shake up, but from a business point of view it seems baffling to undermine your next big blockbuster like this.
At least that's what I thought until I saw the film — now I understand why they might want fewer eyeballs on Fury of the Gods.
There's some jokes in the first Shazam! which I think hold up and are some of my favourites from any superhero movie.
I was stonefaced through most of the sequel. There's only so many times you can have a character say that they'll never do a thing and then cut to them doing — get this — that thing.
Before the film was even released, one of the film's biggest reveals was spoiled in a trailer. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I won't spoil it. If you do know what I'm talking about, just know that it was one of the worst scenes I have ever seen in a superhero movie.
Let's talk positives though — the casting is great.
Now you'll notice I didn't say THE CAST was great. Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren play Daughters of Atlas. Love both of them but they're not delivering their best here.
The standout of the cast is Jack Dylan Grazer, who plays Billy's foster younger brother who turns into a superhero played by Adam Brody.
Brody and Grazer seem to have done their homework when it comes to making the characters feel like the same person. Zachary Levi who plays the titular character acts like a kid, just not necessarily the kid he's supposed to be embodying.
Once again David F. Sandberg uses his history with horror to create some striking visuals. One of the Daughters of Atlas's reality-bending powers are fun to see used every time, and for a sequence where we see dozens of mythical creatures brought to life, most of them look pretty great.
The odds are stacked against Shazam! Fury of the Gods — hardcore fans know that there's no real reason to care when we don't know if we'll ever see this character again. On the other hand, you have casual fans who are feeling the effects of superhero fatigue.