Shazam!: Fury of the Gods Review

In a time where DC was at its lowest and desperately struggling to pull its cinematic universe together, Shazam! busted onto the scene to give the DCEU a vibrant, good-hearted hero for fans to be excited about. Now, Shazam and the rest of his superpowered family return for another adventure that might be less fresh than the original, but still delivers hilarious heroics led by the charm of the cast.

Now with Billy Baston (Asher Angel/Zachary Levi) working alongside the rest of his superpowered siblings, they attempt to keep Philadelphia safe as the Daughters of Atlas come seeking revenge and put humanity’s fate in jeopardy. This time around Billy and his siblings are shown more in their superhero forms and it’s both a gift and a curse. A big part of the first film’s charm was seeing the young personality and mindset of Billy be brought out through the hulking superpowered body of his hero alter ego. He was truly a kid in an adult’s body and mixing that with him having to be a superhero delivered some high-flying hilarity and heart. Plus, adding in that his siblings also gain powers made things even funnier as the concept was essentially multiplied and created unique hero/sibling dynamics.

With Shazam: Fury of the Gods, the idea of seeing young kids be superheroes totally drives the film. It’s hilarious to see them have team meetings together and delve deeper into the lingering secrets of their base – the Rock of Eternity. Levi continues to be a total blast as Billy’s superhero alter ego with the innocent kid-like charm he brings that makes his sense of heroism hilarious. He also excels at some of the more dramatic aspects of Billy questioning his own capabilities as a hero and some of the tough choices he makes at the end of the film. Levi and Angel really make Billy’s pure heart come through flawlessly in Fury of the Gods and there are some touching moments that remind viewers why Billy is such a great character.

As the for the rest of Billy’s siblings, they continue to be an absolute delight in their superhero forms. It’s pretty funny how Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer/Adam Brody) tries to be his own hero outside of the group and even goes by his own name. Both Meagan Good and Faithe Herman are adorably hilarious as Darla and there’s a moment where Darla interacts with the “King of the Beasts” that’ll have audiences cackling with laughter. Everyone really brings their own brand of humor to different scenes, and it embodies how Fury of the Gods has pulled together a great cast.

The only problem is that the film doesn’t utilize its entire cast well. The bigger focus on the kids as superheroes unfortunately keeps the younger actors away from the spotlight. So, we don’t really get much of Angel as Billy nor the rest of the younger cast as their respective characters. Frankly, it’s a shame because they deliver such great performances and are a big part of what makes their characters so loveable and genuinely engaging. The young cast does have some memorable moments, especially when it comes to Darla and Freddy, but they really could’ve been used more.

The lack of seeing Billy as a kid also doesn’t play well for some of the story arcs the film tries to establish. While Billy deals with the Daughters of Atlas, he also struggles with aging out of the foster system and being concerned that his family is drifting away from him. Billy’s foster story and becoming a part of a new family was a huge part of what made him stand out in the DCEU and gave his personal arc real heart. His looming fears could’ve added so much more emotion and been a great evolution to his foster story. Unfortunately, these story arcs become an afterthought and the film misses out on some potentially strong story threads for Billy.

Still though, the central story of Billy and his siblings fighting against the Daughters of Atlas has more than enough to it to be highly engaging and entertaining. The Daughters of Atlas are intriguing villains that hold their own and have a good backstory. Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren act as a great mix of brain and brawn with their roles as Kalypso and Hespera, respectively, and have some haunting moments together. Their first scene will leave you stunned by the horror of Kalypso’s power and their fight scenes with the Shazam family can be riveting and surprisingly funny. As for youngest sister Anthea (Rachel Zegler), Zegler brings some good charm, but the writing just isn’t strong enough to make her anything more than a walking plot device and the relegated love interest for Freddy. The Daughter of Atlas are a great match for the Shazam family and it’s pretty fun to watch Billy and his siblings figure out how to beat them.

The added stakes of Billy and his siblings losing their powers makes each interaction with the Daughters of Atlas more tense and there are some really funny moments of Freddy and The Wizard’s (Djimon Hounsou) attempting to work together. It all builds towards a great finale that dishes out some incredible action and surprising, but sadly short-lived conclusions. Director David F. Sandberg is still able to tap into his horror background for the sequence of Kalypso’s power being unleashed to make for some awesomely designed creatures that wreak total havoc on Philadelphia. The big blowout fight between Kalypso and Shazam is an epic showing of two godlike entities going toe-to-toe. Plus, the small side-quest that Billy’s siblings go on in the final act has some funny and fulfilling moments.

What’s most surprising about Fury of the Gods’ final sequence though is the impact of Billy’s choice and the initial definitiveness of it. Because Billy is so easy to love and the film does such a great job making him feel like he’s become a real hero leading into the finale, the result of him taking on Kalypso feels like a solid gut-punch. It’s a shocking turn for Billy’s arc and one that capitalizes on the innocence and impact of his character. The film also just goes with it and seems like it’s going to leave things on a somber, but emotionally fulfilling note fitting to Billy’s choice as a hero.

Sadly, Fury of the Gods doesn’t stick to its guns in delivering an unexpected ending full of emotion and conclusiveness. Within one scene, an already spoiled cameo comes and fixes all the problems facing the Shazam family and everything is essentially set back to normal. It’s such a bland way to end things and kind of just ensures that Shazam! is likely not moving with the new direction of the DCU. DC really could’ve found a way for Fury of the Gods to be a better sendoff for Shazam if this really is the end and given that we don’t know what’s going to happen after the upcoming Flash movie essentially resets everything, the post-credit scenes feel wildly pointless. They feature story arcs that aren’t likely going to continue in the DCU’s new direction and it’s sad how this film feels like a victim of the DCEU changing hands. It leaves nothing for fans to be excited about and just creates more questions than answers about what’s going on with DC.

Fury of the Gods’ lack of answers for the future of DC’s cinematic universe is frustrating and the way it makes easy choices instead of hard ones with its cast and ending is disappointing. Yet, it’s still an incredibly fun sequel that’ll have audiences hooked by the hilarious charm of the cast and vibrant adventure that makes it an easily entertaining watch.


Watch the Trailer Here:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s