The word, “Shazam!,” is where the positive superhero factor usually comes into play with a Shazam movie. In Shazam! Fury of the Gods there is a whole lot of “Shazam!” and much superhero nostalgia, but the film is actually somewhat of a trainwreck. The pacing is off, and I found myself wondering whether I could take this sequel seriously. For a continuation of a superhero franchise, this one felt very forgettable. It relies too much on the slapstick of its heroes and enemies, instead of focusing on the central conflict in the film. Director David F. Sandberg directed the first Shazam film in 2019, and he’s back for Shazam! Fury of the Gods, but this one just doesn’t seem to be one that will enthrall its superhero fans.
In Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Billy Batson (played by Asher Angel) is back as the superhero Shazam. As fans of the franchise know, when the word “Shazam!” is used Billy turns into the adult version of himself and he is recognized as the Shazam superhero. The adult and superhero version of Billy is played by Zachary Levi. The team of heroes and misfits are also back, ranging from Superhero Freddy (played by Adam Brody), Superhero Darla (played by Meagan Good), Superhero Pedro (played by D.J. Coltrona), and others. The enemies are Hespera and Kalypso (played by Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu).
In addition to the heroes, there is a god character who helps Billy. That character is also named Shazam and he is played by Djimon Hounsou. Sadly, though, the film does not develop this character enough or take it seriously.
Again, the directing in this film just seems out of focus. The pacing is off and the excess of humor detracts from the superhero importance. There is also not enough backstory about the enemies. The film leaves the audience wondering who is more powerful. Instead of lots of superhero jam it just keeps resorting to the buzzword, “Shazam!,” to keep the enticement going.
The credit I do give Shazam! Fury of the Gods is that it keeps its family-friendly approach. And that will help sell it to its target audience. But unfortunately, it is one of those continuation films that will leave much of the audience not appreciating the franchise. I still do, but this film didn’t help my appreciation. Overall, I just wish it could have stepped up its action, its twists, and given us some hidden gems of what is to continue in the franchise. This sequel was not very detailed, and when there is not much detail to a superhero franchise it doesn’t gives its audience enough information to anticipate what to expect down the road. I will say that I didn’t totally hate Shazam! Fury of the Gods, but I definitely didn’t love it, and it fell way below my expectations. Two stars for Shazam! Fury of the Gods.