I’ll Review Anything: Shazam!: Fury of the Gods (SPOILER FREE)

The first Shazam! movie is probably my favorite film out of all of the DC Extended Universe outings. It managed to capture what I imagine how a young teen would do if he or she was granted superpowers. Sure, it had its problems, like a weak villain, but the story and more family-friendly tone but with some dark, horrific elements is all in service to delivering as much entertainment as possible. So, you bet I was looking forward to Shazam!: Fury of the Gods. However, I did get into the movie with a big of trepidation. After all, I loved the first Shazam! so how can the second one stack up?

Well, I did get to see Shazam!: Fury of the Gods earlier today. I will say it is an enjoyable time with some things making it better than the first film but also a couple of elements which drags it down quite a bit.

Oh, and since I’m posting this review a day or two before it’s release in a lot of territories, this will be a SPOILER FREE review for Shazam!: Fury of the Gods. Just have to add this note just in case you’re worried if I’ll reveal anything here (like the second trailer blatantly did) before you go see it. Anyway, on with the SPOILER FREE review!

Two years have passed since Billy Batson received his superpowers from the wizard and now he and and the rest of the Shazam Family patrol the Philidelphia area, trying to avert various crises. The operative word is “trying” because they sometimes don’t do a good job when a big disaster strikes. It’s around this time when the Daughters of Atlas decide to strike and take down the god powered family.

If that seems like a very vague synopsis, that’s all intentional as this is a SPOILER FREE review. The villains do have a deeper motivation than just being baddies. And I will say I do like the primary antagonists in Shazam!: Fury of the Gods. It looks like Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu, who play Hespera and Kalypso respectively, are having fun. Their performances are serious but mixed with just the right amount of over-the-top camp to make them engaging. They do a fine job of walking that line of silly and threatening for a superhero film like this.

I do wish the acting for the rest of the cast were as good as them, though. However, some of the blame does fall on the script. Zachary Levi still does a wonderful job of portraying what would happen if a young teen suddenly gets superpowers. The sad thing is that Billy Batson is almost 17-year old at this time but his adult superhero form still acts like a 14-year old! In fact, in the few scenes where we see his teenage form, Billy Batson comes off as fairly serious, so unlike his “adult” form! It works for the overall tone of the movie and Zachary Levi still makes it work as it is fun to watch. However, I would think his more serious personality would carry over when becoming a superhero.

The rest of the Shazam Family pull off good performances but they do try to cram a lot of stuff into the movie so none of them really get to show off any character growth besides surface level personalities. The only one who does get to shine through is Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman. This is mostly because he does get a good chunk of screentime and, well, he is a really good actor. I can’t say the same for Rachal Zegler as the new character Anthea. This does seem to be mostly the script’s fault as she seems to be ordered to act a specific way for most of the movie’s 130-minute runtime. It’s a shame, really, as she is very engaging during the more down-to-earth moments.

For a superhero movie, there aren’t that many action scenes in Fury of the Gods. Thankfully, the ones that we do have are pretty good. They do seem much slower paced when compared to other superhero movies but it works to the film’s benefit since it’s so much easier to follow the action. A lot of it is CGI but, because the action isn’t at a breakneck speed, it’s easy to follow what’s happening.

I will say I also enjoyed the tiny horror elements thrown here and there. Fury of the Gods has a shockingly high body count for a superhero movie. Sure, I bet a lot of people died during Man of Steel but you don’t see the innocents dying. Fury of the Gods doesn’t shy away from showing people moments before they die. They do cut away just before the deaths but you just know that a lot of the citizens of Philadelphia are super dead. It may come of gratuitous and it kind of is. But it does highlight the danger which makes the conflict have more weight.

The two biggest issues I have with the film fall more on the technical side of the movie making business. The first one is how the film was edited together. There are more than a few scenes when an area is full of people and then immediately be empty even though you didn’t see anyone leave. Characters appear to have the ability to teleport from location to location because the scene calls for them to be there even though they’re supposed to be super far away. I’m not sure if there will be people who will notice these issues but it really bugged me as it wrecked my suspension of disbelief.

The overall story and plot also feels overstuffed. I get they’re trying to give each and every character their moment. But when you only have something like a couple of minutes to develop their personalities and show growth, it’s just not going to work. There are a lot of very tiny plot threads for each character and either they’re resolved quickly or never really touched on. This is even true for the villains as their motivations and personalities seem to change just because the plot calls for them to switch to something else. I have the sneaking suspicion a lot of this was left on the editing room floor. I understand some things had to be cut to keep things at a springy pace but they just cut out too much.

Despite all of the issues I’ve mentioned, the thing that saves Fury of the Gods is the overall atmosphere. The tone has a good balance of lighthearted fun while being kind of dangerous and scary at times. The comedy is hit or miss but a majoring of the jokes fall on the hit side of things. My screening only had a few people watching it but you could hear moments of audible laughter. Heck, I laughed out loud myself a few times. That means that I’m having a good time despite all of the issues I mentioned.

Among all of the DC live-action movies, I will place Shazam!: Fury of the Gods in the above average range. I don’t think it’s as good as the original Shazam! However, it’s still fun in its own right despite all of its flaws. I say give it a watch.

Have you seen Shazam!: Fury of the Gods? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!


One thought on “I’ll Review Anything: Shazam!: Fury of the Gods (SPOILER FREE)

  1. Pingback: Five Inconsequential Questions for Shazam!: Fury of the Gods | 3rd World Geeks

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