Another year, another DC movie review from yours truly.
When I say that I have zero problems with this film, I genuinely mean that.
“But Tuggs!” you’ll say, “what about the FUN (I imagine you’ll hiss this word, like that little evil emoji with the horns and frowny face, like “FUUUUNNNNN,” as if it’s a curse word you’re not supposed to say in a horror film or something)??? What about James Gunn? What about the *gasp hiss* RESET?”
To all of which I say: “What about it?”
I know right now there’s a lot of discourse surrounding the DCU, Warner Bros., James Gunn, etc. I was beyond determined not to even mention it in this review because, quite frankly, I find it all annoying and exhausting. But I know it’s going to come up again and again, so let’s get into it.
My response to all of those questions is: This film does not deserve to be punished because there’s a shift coming. I’m a DC fan, first and foremost; I’m not going to let changes in regime, story, casting, overall arc, etc., sway my view on wanting to see a movie with characters I love in it. And I hope that maybe after reading my review, or even others’, you’ll agree.
There, we’ve gotten the heavy stuff out of the way; let’s talk about the actual film, Shazam!: Fury of the Gods, aka Shazam 2.
As I said earlier, I genuinely have nothing bad to say about this film. It’s got similar vibes to Shazam!, but this time, the stakes are upped, and the A-game everyone brought in the first one has changed to the A+ game.
Quick background: Shazam!: Fury of the Gods takes place about two years after the first one. Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his adoptive family have used their powers to help the people in their city during that time, but because they’re still kids, they’re not very good at what they do. They’ve been dubbed the “Philadelphia Fiascos” because they’re a bit chaotic in their super-heroing. They save people, yes, but they also leave a wake of destruction that’s, well, a fiasco.
We meet our new villains right off the bat: Hespera (Helen Mirren) and Kalypso (Lucy Liu), sisters and Daughters of the Titan God Atlas. They’re on the hunt for the magic staff we saw in the first film that Shazam (Zachary Levi) broke in half to restore their powers and gain revenge on the human realm for taking away their godly abilities in the first place. What ensues after they find the staff is a ride of chaos, darkness, sacrifice, and some serious growing up for our beloved heroes.
I don’t want to give out spoilers for this film, even though I know they’re out there. I want you to go into it as fresh as possible, like we did. I want that for you because the twists and Easter Eggs in this film are really good; I clapped with giddiness at them. Let me just say, they are taken HIGHLY out of context, so please, don’t use them as your reason not to see this film. I promise it works.
Shazam!: Fury of the Gods has every bit as much heart as the first one did. It’s funny, heartwarming, a little heartbreaking, and your heart is extremely full after watching it.
David Sandberg brings his horror game back to this film once again: that opening sequence where we meet our villains for the first time? Extremely creepy, honestly. His ability to balance humor with horror with action is really incredible. I’ve talked about how much I enjoy him as a director before, and he’s only made me more confident in my defense of him. He truly gets these heroes and what it takes to make a superhero movie not only good but grounded without sacrificing the fantasy of these heroes.
The main cast is the same as the first Shazam!, and my jaw dropped at how much the kids have grown in the roughly four years or so between filming the two movies. They’re all still very talented, and we get to fall even more in love with them this time around. Zachary Levi is once again great at playing Asher Angel’s God form; he still mimics the way Angel moves and speaks. What I like about this film is that we get to see a lot more of the Shazamily as adults this time around, which is a nice balance with the first one, which was focused more on the kid side.
Our new additions in Shazam! Fury of the Gods are the amazingly talented Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu, whom I don’t really need to gush about too much because we all know how brilliant they both are. I will say, though, that Mirren borderline steals the show with her role. Her character, Hespera, has such a good arc, and Mirren really put her all into it (including doing her own stunts and breaking a finger!). We also get to meet Ann, played by Rachel Zegeler. I was pleasantly surprised by her. She’s cute as a button, and her chemistry with Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) is fantastic.
In fact, the chemistry among the whole cast is perfect. They all play off each other incredibly well. It makes the world the film is set in all the more believable.
The plot and story of Shazam!: Fury of the Gods are a little bit more grown up, just like the kids. There are quite a few twists, and the stakes are definitely higher. You can feel the danger our heroes are in, and it flows nicely and has a great pace. The music is composed by Christophe Beck, and it is just as heroic as the first film, absolutely befitting of a superhero movie. I loved it.
I know I sound like a stuck disc, just repeating the same thing over and over again, but the truth is, I love this film. It’s a worthy sequel to its predecessor and an incredible film on its own. Even my boyfriend, who’s nowhere near as into superheroes as I am, said, quote, “That was really good! I liked it.”
Shazam!: Fury of the Gods is an incredibly enjoyable superhero movie. It’s uplifting. I laughed, I teared up a little, I did happy dances. There’s no reason not to go see this film. It’s everything a superhero movie should be, and then some. I hope that you enjoy it, too.
Oh, also, there are two credit scenes. Be sure to stay for both; they’re quite enjoyable.