Friday, March 17, 2023

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Bigger, funnier, sweeter, and even slightly creepier, a fantastic sequel! Made for fans of the first film and those looking for a super time at the movies!

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and language.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Amongst the gluttony of superhero ventures coming from both Marvel and DC these days, 2019’s Shazam! was, and still is, a breath of fresh air. Full of action, humor, heart, and a dash of creepy, director David F. Sandberg — along with the help of star Zachary Levi and his youthful counterparts — managed to step outside his horror comfort zone and gave life to a B-list superhero in an A-list film. Lightning manages to strike twice in their second outing, with Shazam! Fury of the Gods being bigger, funnier, sweeter, and yes, creepier, making the four year wait more than worth it.

Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is living up the superhero life, along with his fellow foster siblings: Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), Darla (Faithe Herman), Eugene (Ian Chen), Pedro (Jovan Armand), and Mary (Caroline Grace-Cassidy). Unfortunately, their sometimes-childish heroics — played as the Super versions of themselves: Levi, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, D.J. Cotrona, Meagan Good, and Grace-Cassidy, since Mary is the only already-adult — has them coined as the “The Philly Fiascos.”

But now they face their biggest challenge when the Daughters of Atlas — Hespera (Helen Mirren), Kalypso (Lucy Liu), and Anthea (Rachel Zegler) — come calling to retrieve the power of the Gods from the Philly Fiascos. But soon, the sisters embark on a more nefarious plan when they decide Earth is a perfect place to replant the Tree of Life and take our home for themselves.

As reliable as Sandberg and Levi may be, their secret weapon with both films has been Grazer. Always hilarious, he gets more time to shine in Fury of the Gods than the previous movie and makes the most of it. His romantic subplot with Zegler is charming and gives the film an even greater soul by providing some additional stakes that side characters wouldn’t normally have. The rest of the cast all step up their game as well, with Grace-Cassidy in particular giving a much better performance than before.

Not saddled with having to provide an origin story this time really allows Sandberg — and writers Chris Morgan and Henry Gayden — to jump right into the thick of things. The action starts fast and furiously, but gives plenty of time along the way to make sure the characters never get lost in the CGI. Sandberg also manages to squeeze in some fun horror nods for those keen-eyed fans of the genre.

Levi continues to carry the film to greatness and it’s going to be interesting to see how things pan out, considering the DCEU is about to become extinct after The Flash. Whatever the future may hold for this version of Shazam!, at least it’s in good hands so long as they keep the same cast/crew involved. For those looking for something more fun than the deluge of superhero movies we’ve been bombarded with lately, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a welcome return to what made them so great to begin with: fun.

4 1/2 out of 5

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