‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ Proves That Lightning Doesn’t Strike Twice

Shazam is a bit of a sham!

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It is crazy to think that there was a time when the original Captain Marvel was the most popular hero of the 1940s, even topping the likes of Superman and Captain America. Now in the modern age, the renamed Shazam doesn’t hold a candle to most of his superhero cohorts.

That is, until the release of the 2019 live-action movie, which reintroduced the hero to a whole new generation of superhero fans. Starring Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer, the movie was a superhero origin story mixed with Tom Hank’s classic film, Big.

A sequel has been released this year, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which sees the return of Billy Batson and his fellow foster kids who are still learning how to juggle between teenage life and the responsibility of protecting the world with the powers of Shazam.

How does this new entry in the tarnished DC Extended Universe stack up in the grand scheme of things? Let’s take a closer look.

Stamina of Atlas

The sequel begins with the Daughters of Atlas, a vengeful trio of ancient gods arriving on Earth in search of the magic stolen from them long ago. Billy and his family must prepare for the biggest fight of their lives while learning to be a better team.

Since the events of the first film, it's great to see that the Shazam kids have each grown up a bit, with Billy struggling to keep the team together as a hero, while older members like Mary and Freddy looking to have their own lives beyond superheroism.

Unluckily for the Shazam Family, they are known as the “Philadelphia Fiascoes” for the numerous blunders they’ve committed. It places our heroes as underdogs in the grand scheme of things, especially in a world where Superman and Wonder Woman exist.

The Daughters of Atlas are definitely formidable foes, but their heavy reliance on their scarcely used powers and random minions is rather lacklustre. Their changing motivations for villainy also get confusing by the second half.

Greased Lightning

It’s frustrating enough that the post-credits scene of the last film is not addressed in this sequel. Mister Mind’s cameo really made us assume that the sentient caterpillar would be the main villain of this film.

There’s also the Black Adam-shaped elephant in the room, with the two destined to clash someday. While Billy Batson has seen minor growth this time around, will Shazam ever be ready to face his nemesis?

If anything, the two main highlights of the film are Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman and Rachel Zegler’s Anthea, whose chemistry and stellar performances are enjoyable from start to finish.

So much so that the rest of the Shazam kids and the other Daughters of Atlas are somewhat snubbed for the most part, with Billy Batson not really being the main character of the film.

Because of this, the second part of Shazam! Fury of the Gods really struggles to show a solid narrative throughline. Things happen because they have to, and the characters are really just going through the motions of a typical superhero caper.

Child’s Play

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is made for kids, and that's okay for the most part. As adult fans, it is easy to believe that everything was made for us, but with Shazam! Fury of the Gods and even the first film, it’s okay that there are superhero films for a younger audience.

Like the Spy Kids series or Sharkboy and Lavagirl for those who grew up in the 2000s, these films are just fun, lighthearted affairs, ones that don’t have to introduce universe-destroying villains or mold-breaking plot developments.

The jokes and action of Shazam! Fury of the Gods can be a little tepid and predictable, but it can be good fun for those who enjoyed the first film. Granted, the first film had a better emotional core with Billy’s struggle in accepting his new foster family, while the sequel spends more time with other characters and their struggles.

Honestly, with James Gunn’s work on The Guardians of the Galaxy, Shazam would have been the perfect character to really dive deep into, just as he had done with Star-Lord and hopefully Rocket Raccoon in the third film. It remains to be seen how Shazam and his family will fit in the upcoming DC film universe reboot, though we definitely think the hero deserves better.

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Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Developer: DC Entertainment
Publisher: Warner Bros. Pictures
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