6 Thoughts on Shazam! Fury of the Gods
If you haven’t seen the news yet, Shazam! Fury of the Gods has bombed at the box office. That’s a shame. I am not someone who heralds the death of superhero movies at the theaters. I want all of these movies to be successful, to turn into popular franchises. But I’m not heartbroken. The DCEU itself is broken, and it’s not a surprise that audiences don’t care anymore. The only real question is whether or not they will care when James Gunn reboots everything in a couple of years.
Movie Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good
I really enjoyed the first Shazam! I thought it was funny, charming and full of entertaining energy. All the good things about fun superhero movies. I liked the Shazamily, which was something unique to this franchise. And now this sequel comes along with pretty much everybody coming back. Should have been another success! But something went wrong somewhere along the way. Was it a bad script? Were there some behind-the-scenes changes that screwed things over? I don’t know. All I know is that, while they made a fairly entertaining new movie, it’s ultimately going to be a flop.
Join me after the jump for my thoughts on Shazam! Fury of the Gods! Expect FULL SPOILERS for the movie. And feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments down below.
6. I enjoyed this movie
On the surface, I had a fine time with Shazam! Fury of the Gods. All of the best actors return and are just as charming as last time. The director is back, so he knows what he’s doing. And they put together a generally fun and enjoyable film. I like Zachary Levi, and seeing him goof around as a superhero is still fun. That childlike glee is what propelled the first movie to being a hit, and it is largely still around. Now it’s more of a teenager-like glee, but that also worked for me. I wasn’t too impressed with the villains, but I loved all the family members and their adventures. Freddy and the Wizard made for a great team, and I liked that Freddy got such a spotlight. Jack Dylan Grazer is full of charisma and he lit up the screen. All the other family members put in the work and were good, too. Overall, if you don’t worry too much about it (which I do and did), then Fury of the Gods is an entertaining superhero movie.
5. The Shazamily still rules
Every scene with the Shazamily was great. They are the best part of the movie and make it a unique experience. No other superhero franchise has this. So, of course, a major plot point of the film was the bad guys taking the powers away from the Shazamily members…But I digress. All of their costumes are colorful and sharp. All of the actors, both young and old, are charming and fun people. Darla is especially great as a really young kid getting to be a superhero. I liked the scenes of them hanging out, I liked the scene where they’re all zooming to the bridge and helping. This was a fun dynamic in the first film, and it’s just s fun in this sequel.
That being said…
4. It’s too crowded
As much fun as it was to have the whole Shazamily, the movie wasn’t big enough to handle giving everyone their own storyline. And not just the Shazamily, but also the parents, the Wizard and three villains. It’s just too much, and a lot of it either gets dropped or goes nowhere or happens suddenly. Eugene likes exploring the Room of Doors? Goes nowhere. Mary not going to college? Goes nowhere. Freddy wanting to go off on his own to be a solo superhero? Goes nowhere. Billy is worried that he’ll have to move out at 18? That gets a single line at the start of the film, and then nothing else until it is the emotional climax of the movie in a hug with his mom. Each of the three villains gets their own story arc, crowding out each other. Then the parents join the cast in the second half of the villain. They’re all fun characters, but they’re competing with each other for screen time and nobody really benefits.
3. So many plotholes
This is the sort of movie where it works just fine on a surface level, but then is full of holes when you really think about what’s happening. Allow me to just ramble them off. Why did the villains need tow McGuffins, the apple and the staff? Where did the apple even come from? One moment I just noticed that Billy was holding some dark object while in the library. Why is a jail cell in the Rock of Eternity not capable of holding magical people? Was it really just a janky metal door? Why was Anthea enrolled in school? Was she specifically searching for Freddy, the kid who once had lunch with Shazam? If that’s the case, why go to all the trouble of enrolling her in school? Why not just find him on the street? Why any deception at all? The movie is a little hazy about how much the Daughters of Atlas know about the Shazamily.
Where did this God Realm/Mortal Realm stuff come from? They’re not very clear, and I felt that it really conflicted with what we learned about gods in the Wonder Woman movie. Why did Helen Mirren switch sides? She was very evil in the first half of the movie, then softens all of a sudden and helps Billy and his side. Why didn’t the dragon just eat Freddy and Anthea? Lucy Liu ordered the beast to kill them, but all it did was uses its fear glow on them from even only a few feet away. If it had switched to fire breath, they’d be dead within seconds. It was also close enough to just gobble them up or swipe them with its giant claws. But it just didn’t kill them, despite being repeatedly ordered to. So what did it matter that Freddy could resist the fear glow if all he was gonna do was park himself next to Anthea so that they could die together? It’s not like him resisting the glow helped Anthea at all, or helped Billy fight the dragon. It went nowhere.
There was one line that I found really silly. When everyone separates in the climax, the kids tell the parents to “save as many people as you can”. It was a city-wide attack of monsters, and the parents were still ordinary humans in a stolen van. What were they supposed to do? In that very scene, there were dozens of people in the background running around wildly. And in other scenes, the police and rescue personnel seemed to have crowd control under control. So what were the parents supposed to do? Also, Billy dies and they all get him to the god realm to be buried immediately. They didn’t even change clothes.
Also, Captain Everypower is a dumb name, and there’s no way that’s what Freddy chose as his superhero identity. He specifically didn’t have every power.
Also also, the less said about that cringey Wonder Woman cameo, the better.
2. Could have used The Rock
All sorts of reports are coming out that the Rock interfered so much in the productions of Black Adam and Fury of the Gods that he’s likely to blame for both failing. I’d believe it. Seems like something he’d do. But if his ego had allowed, the Rock would have been amazing as the villain in this film. And to go from Black Adam to this movie would have worked so damn well. DC would actually be able to link the fact that both got their powers from the same source, instead of leaving it completely unremarked upon. And The Rock is just a charismatic guy, and would have been much more fun to watch fighting the Shazamily than the Daughters of Atlas. They just weren’t good villains.
1. I fear for Gods and Monsters
So us nerds all know that James Gunn and Peter Safran are working together to create an almost entirely new DCU, complete with Superman: Legacy in a couple of years. I know that I have total faith in Gunn both writing and directing a Superman movie. But are regular audiences going to care? With the exception of outlier movies starring popular characters — Joker and The Batman — the past five DC superhero movies have been bombs. Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman 1984, The Suicide Squad, Black Adam and now Shazam! Fury of the Gods. That’s not a great record. So is the audience going to understand that things are being rebooted? Does the audience even want another Superman movie? Let alone all those other movies they have planned, starring obscure characters like Swamp Thing?
Is there still a ship to be saved? I suppose we’ll find out…
Posted on March 22, 2023, in DC, Lists of Six!, Movies, Reviews and tagged Black Adam, Shazam, Shazam!, Shazam!: Fury of the Gods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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