Friday 7 April 2023

REVIEW: Shazam! Fury of the Gods - Starring Zachary Levi, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren

Review by Jon Donnis
Shazam! Fury of the Gods sequel to Shazam! (2019) and the 12th instalment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has just been released on digital, despite still being in cinemas. I have no issue with this, as not everyone can get to cinemas these days, so why make people wait?

Two years after Thaddeus Sivana's defeat, Hespera (Helen Mirren) and Kalypso (Lucy Liu), two of the daughters of the Titan Atlas, break into the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece to steal the Wizard's broken staff. The two then take it to the Wizard, who is imprisoned in the Gods' Realm, and force him to repair the staff and activate its powers.

In Philadelphia, Billy Batson (Zachary Levi & Asher Angel) and his "Shazamily" of foster siblings save people on the collapsing Benjamin Franklin Bridge, but are called out for its destruction. The group is drifting apart at home due to them growing up and having personal interests. Billy is worried about being kicked out of the Vasquez family after he ages out of the foster system. In a dream, Billy is warned by the Wizard about the Daughters, prompting the Shazamily to begin researching them.

Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer and Adam Brody), still bullied at school, falls for a new girl named Anne (Rachel Zegler), to whom he shows off his superhero self. Hespera and Kalypso arrive with the staff and steal Freddy's powers. Anne is revealed to be their youngest sister, Anthea. Billy and the Shazamily attempt to save Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer and Adam Brody), but the daughters kidnap him and place an indestructible dome around the city, trapping everyone inside. Freddy is imprisoned along with the Wizard in the Gods' Realm. The Daughters reveal that they want revenge because the Wizard killed their father.

Meanwhile, the Shazamily enters the Rock of Eternity, where they encounter a sentient pen named "Steve", which they use to draft a letter to Hespera as a negotiation for Freddy's release. Billy meets Hespera, and, while the meeting is initially cordial, she and Kalypso soon fight the Shazamily. Pedro loses his powers during the fight, while Hespera is captured and taken to the Rock. Hespera easily breaks out and steals the Golden Apple, the seed of the Tree of Life. Meanwhile, Freddy and the Wizard attempt to escape the Gods' Realm with a sympathetic Anthea's help, just as Hespera returns with the Apple. The Daughters argue as Hespera and Anthea want to use the Apple to revive their realm, while Kalypso wishes to plant it on Earth to destroy it. Freddy steals the Apple but is discovered, though Billy and the Shazamily show up, and Freddy reacquires his powers.

Will the Shazamily save the day? Well you will have to watch the film to find out, but spoiler alert, yes they do.

I think one of the reasons that Shazam! Fury of the Gods has underperformed at the cinema is that it is advertised as another DC superhero film, but is very much a kids film. This could have been made by Nickelodeon. The main characters are all kids, who then transform into adult superheroes, this is literally the dream of every young kid. It is hard at times, for an adult DC fan to really connect to the characters because of this.

The plot is relatively straight forward, nothing really original. I honestly cant even remember the first film as it was released 4 years ago, so I am not sure if I even watched it. I think that this film needed a much better intro for people who either didn't see or cant remember the original film. For example it starts off with super heroes then I am watching a bunch of kids play video games, and I had no idea who they were, as the film never told me, and just assumed I would know.

This is a big budget film, so the visual effects are all amazing, the sound effects, music etc is all great.

I would argue that the stars of this film are in fact Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu, they came across very well on the screen, and both played their parts great. Their characters are so much more interesting than the Shazamily

Zachary Levi is always likeable, but I just think he is a bit mis-cast in this.

A decent film, but definitely one for the kids, there are some fun moments for adults too, but this is a kids film.

The Good
Strong perfomances by Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu improve this film massively. Great visual effects, and a decent enough story.

The Bad
It is a kids film that is advertised as the next big DC release, and that will hurt it massively. Oh and it is way too long at 2 hours. Easily cut 35 minutes off that.

I blame the marketing for this film underperforming, it is simply not an adult DC film in the style of The Flash or Superman, in fact it comes across more like a big budget version of a Disney show like The Villains of Valley View.

Take your kids to see this and they will love it.

I score Shazam! Fury of the Gods a fair 7/10. Great for kids.

Out Now in Cinemas and On Digital at