Shazam: Fury of The Gods Film Review
I'll say it once and get it out of the way. the name Shazam sucks. I wish DC had fought harder to keep Captain Marvel as his name, it's a zillion times tougher sounding. Shazam: Fury of the Gods is the latest DC entry in it's probably broken shared universe, and it packs a punch. Like a normal punch. Like a "This was fine I guess" punch.
My biggest gripe with this movie (and the first) is the focus on the adult side of Billy's family. The actors who play the kids are phenomenal, Billy, Mary, every single kid puts it all into their role, and they should be commended for it. Then when they turn into their superpowered alter egos, all that charisma is gone. Really it's only Zach Levi and Meagan Good who put in a solid performance. And even then, I feel like the writers had Billy still acting like an idiot, and had Zach Levi play the idiot the whole time, which must have been boring. The villains (Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu) are imposing, threatening, and have an excellent/spooky introduction. Honestly I think it's easy to say Mirren gave it 110% in this role, which nobody was asking for or expected. Her monologue during the Philly Cheesesteak Summit was perfect, and she stole every scene she was in. The movie is honestly worth seeing for her performance alone. Lucy Liu's character was a little more one dimensional, but she was still entertaining to watch too.
As solid as the story was, it owes a LOT of that to other works. Obviously a lot of the credit goes to Greek Mythology, with the main villains being the Daughters of Atlas. That being said, the Daughters do their job well, and the Greek elements at the climax of the story end up being one of the most interesting parts. But the lack of creativity on the writers part is obvious. What disaster should the superheroes deal with? Oh you know, the most common one in the real world, a bridge collapse. And it's handled in extremely boring fashion. Seriously, how often do you see major bridges collapse in real life? Fantastic Four did it better, which is saying something. Then there's the whole Under the Dome/No Man's Land third act, which really does nothing for the story. We don't get to see how people are living inside of the dome, just that it's kind of an inconvenience. The first movie had a pretty solid plot, but was also totally just the plot of Incredibles, Think about it.
This is where the writing shines, there are plenty of lighthearted comedic moments that really capture the essence of what these Shazam movies are supposed to be about. The "Did Atlas have super speed?" line is gold, and Levi seemed to be having a good time with each quip. But the comedy also shows the holes in the story, as they are able to steal the staff back like ten times, but then they lose it just as fast, all for the sake of comedy. Which works. I said this when the first one came out, but what works for this movie is this is the first DC movie in a LONG time (Besides The Suicide Squad) to not take itself too seriously while also delivering pretty complex themes.
Summary: Shazam 2 is one of the stronger DC entries in recent memory, but it lacks an original story to truly make it stand out on its own. The movie (among many other Superhero movies now) seems to have just been made to be made, no grander purpose involved. Probably one of the most "by the numbers" superhero movies you could see.