REVIEW: Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

When the daughters of Atlas (Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu) return to Earth with plans to destroy the world of humans, Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his adult superhero alter ego (Zachary Levi), must bring his superhero family together to save the world.

The first Shazam! film was an unexpected delight and while Shazam! Fury of the Gods doesn’t reach the heights of the original, it’s still a pretty fun sequel that builds on the themes of family that was so essential to the first one. That being said, I would’ve like Asher Angel to have more screentime with his on-screen siblings, as adult Billy aka Zachary Levi, definitely had the most screentime with the siblings, both the kid-versions and the superhero-versions. The first film had such a great balance between the superhero and the kid stuff but in Fury of the Gods it was definitely more skewed towards the superhero stuff. Which kind of makes sense but it was to an extent where you sometimes for got that this superhero was a teenager – especially as teenage Billy was a lot calmer and more thoughtful than superhero Billy who sometimes veered off into being almost Deadpool-esque with the abundance on one-liners and acting more like comic relief than a hero with responsibilities.

Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu make brilliant villains. Liu especially looks like she’s having a wonderful time and once again Mirren fully commits and the dry way she says some of her comedic lines is just the best. Like the first film there’s some moments that are quite scary for a more child-friendly superhero film, and both Mirren and Liu have intimidating presences. The comedic duo that was Jack Dylan Grazer (Freddy Freeman) and Djimon Hounsou (the Wizard) was something that I never knew I needed but the scenes with the two of them were some of the best in the film.

The special effects are pretty great in Fury of the Gods though the editing and shot composition isn’t so good and it can take a moment to really see what the audience is supposed to be focusing on in these wider shots with creatures of varying sizes in. Also, the middle section kinda lulls a bit though it does manage to bring things together for a pretty thrilling and emotional finale. However, while it’ easier to see that a certain event will be resolved, it does feel like it happens a bit too quickly which means the emotional impact is lessened somewhat. Also, it’s a scene where I think that younger Billy should’ve been the focus, not his superhero self.

Overall, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is still pretty fun even if it isn’t as good as the original. The younger cast are wonderful and I want to give a shoutout to Grace Caroline Currey who plays Billy’s older sister Mary Bromfield. She plays both normal Mary, and her superhero self and is brilliant as both. 3/5.

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