Monday 20 March 2023

Shazam: Fury of the Gods Review

Looking to make your movie night magical this Spring season? Then here’s the perfect film for you. Shazam: Fury of the Gods starring Zachary Levi and Asher Angel (Billy Batson), Adam Brody and Jack Dylan Grazer (Freddy Freeman), Grace Fulton (Mary Marvel), Lucy Liu (Kalypso), Helen Mirren (Hespera), Rachel Zegler (Anthea/Anne), Djimon Honsou (Shazam) and many more bring a lot more laughter and action in this sequel.

Please note that this article contains spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and plan on watching it soon, kindly stop reading after this.

Despite saving Philadelphia from Dr. Sivanna and the Seven Deadly Sins along with the rest of his Shazam family and finally having a family of his own, Billy Batson seems to still be an insecure teenager. He not only questions his credibility as a superhero compared to the likes of Aquaman, Flash and Batman, but also struggles to manage his Shazamily team. As serious as these predicaments sound, they were presented in a rather light-hearted and amusing tone. Especially when you see the Shazam version of Billy talking to a children’s paediatrician under the presumption of him being a therapist.

What I really liked about Billy Batson and his superhero equivalent in this film is that they are now portrayed to be almost the same person in terms of their behaviour. As much as I loved the first film, it was this trivial detail of Billy being more mature than his superhero adult counterpart, which irked me. While teenage Billy was not there all the way he still illustrated a bit more enthusiasm and a warm personality overall compared to his first movie’s portrayal. I am glad the writers and director recognized that and fixed it in this sequel.

It was also interesting to see more of the Rock of Eternity in this film, which is also referred to as the “lair” by Billy and his foster siblings. My hat is off to the filmmakers in showcasing how the children decorated the place with a lot of immature ornamentations. The part that cracked me up the most was how they dressed up the gargoyles of the Seven Deadly Sins to make them look all funky and goofy. The viewers were treated to more scenes and revelations from the Rock of Eternity such as the flying books in the library with a sentient pencil named “Steve” that shares information and knowledge on certain topics upon the heroes’ requests. This took me back to the infamous Harry Potter films and video games I grew up watching and playing which had similar characters and objects. It makes perfect sense to have a similar aura in this film since magic is also the main theme of the title superhero in the movie as well as in the source materials.

Jack Dylan Grazer’s Freddy Freeman was once again the audience’s favourite over Asher Angel’s Billy Batson in this film in my humble opinion. I mean who doesn’t love a cute, enthusiastic disabled teenager? That may not seem like the case in the film when Freddy is continued to be bullied by his peers in school. However, this time he meets a new student, Anne, who is charmed by his comedic personality. When things seem to be looking up for Freddy as he bonds with Anne, he is soon surprised when he learns that she is actually Anthea, the youngest sister of Hespera and Kalypso who are in search of the Shazamily to take back the gifts they were granted by the Wizard.

The stakes were higher in this film compared to its predecessor from 2019 as the three daughters of Atlas seemed unbeatable when Hespera set up a dome over Philadelphia as a perimeter to trap everyone in there until they retrieve the golden apple to restore their homeland realm. However, Kalypso wishes to conquer earth and terraform it instead after fatally injuring Hespera and taking away Anthea’s powers after a disagreement. To only make things even worse, Kalypso brings out Ladon the dragon to assist her in this new direction she embarks on.  

While the trailers and TV spots prior to the release of the film teased a collaborative effort of the Shazamily to beat the antagonists, it was once again Billy Batson who was the main saviour of the day when he took down the main villain Kalypso and her dragon in this film, just like how he defeated Dr. Sivana single-handedly at the end of the first film. This was the right move by the filmmakers to keep the credibility of the character alive and stay as faithful as possible to the source materials.

Before that, Billy almost gives up on himself after his foster siblings have been depowered by the evil sisters and requests the Wizard who gave him his power to take them back. But Shazam reassures Billy that he is a real hero and convinces him to challenge Kalypso and save everyone. With a little aid from a wounded Hespera who shrinks the dome small enough to only contain Billy and Kalypso, the protagonist manages to defeat his adversary and also sacrifice his own life in the process. This is where the director nearly had me as I almost believed the Shazam franchise concluded here upon James Gunn’s arrival to DCU to reset the universe. Conversely, after Billy was buried, the family of the fallen hero is greeted by the arrival none other than Wonder Woman herself. That’s correct. Gal Gadot makes a cameo! As one of Zeus’ daughters, Diana manages to resurrect Billy with the staff of Shazam using her own magical powers. The heart warming moment of Billy reuniting with his foster family after coming back from death was the moment where I was glad to be wrong about how the studio was going to kill Shazam for a new DCU franchise after The Flash film releases later this summer.

As opposed to Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, this movie’s visual effects and action sequences were a lot more appealing to me despite having a budget lower by 75 million USD than the aforementioned MCU flick. On the other hand, that would also explain why the DC films usually have a smaller turnout in the theatres compared to the Marvel films since they are not marketed as heavily as Disney does. That is something I’d like to see Warner Brothers start investing more in to win back some of their fans with James Gunn’s new slate of the DCU franchise.

This movie contained 2 scenes after the end with the first being Jennifer Holland and Steve Agee returning as Emilia Harcourt and John Economos from their previous appearances in The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker to offer Billy a place in the Justice Society. However, Billy rejects the offer when he finds out that they are not the same team as Justice League nor do they have Wonder Woman in it. I was amused by how they showed Billy simping to Diana in multiple occasions of the film and how he criticizes the fact that there are two superhero groups with the word Justice in their names and proposes new names for the JSA including Authority Society, which is an upcoming animated project under James Gunn’s DCU chapter 1 slate. But the name that got me and my friends cackling at the cinema was The Avengers Society which was a blatant dig at the universally loved heroes from the Marvel comics.

The end credits scene brought us back to the mid-credits scene from the first film with Dr. Sivana in his cell along with Mr. Mind. This was one of the few disappointing parts of the film as it seems like the potential duo’s plot to regain magical powers looked like it was going nowhere with Sivana still being in the same prison cell 4 years later and Mr. Mind needing more time to execute their plan due to his inability to move in normal speeds. It reminded me of the 2011
Green Lantern film’s after credits scene with Mark Strong’s Sinestro and last year’s Black Adam end credits scene with Henry Cavil’s Superman. Both of those teasers led to absolutely nothing with the plug being pulled on Ryan Reynold’s GL franchise as well as Cavil’s Man of Steel return. Another disappointing move from WB and DC, which shouldn’t be a surprise for the fans at this point.

Overall, I was very entertained by David Sandberg’s second Shazam movie and highly recommend it to all comic book fans out there to give it a shot. It has the right blend of comedy, action and seriousness with a good plot and few surprises here and there along with great music selection. 

My score for the film would be an 8/10!

Thank you very much for reading our article and be sure to tell us your thoughts in the comments section and would appreciate you sharing it with your friends on social media. 

Arthur Kaz


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