Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Director: David F. Sandberg
Date Created: 2023-03-17 00:00
From imposter syndrome to a confident defender of his city and family, Shazam Fury of the Gods follows Billy Batson as otherworldly trials test his worthiness as the world’s chosen Champion. A witty and effectively formulaic superhero film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, Shazam Fury of the Gods is a welcome extension to the DC Universe, successfully building upon the positive, fun, and youthful foundation of Shazam 2019.
Is Shazam Good? Shazam Fury of the Gods Review
When the 3 daughters of Atlas come to earth to reclaim their godly power which they believe was unjustly given to Shazam, Billy and his siblings unite to protect their powers and their city.
Shazam (2019) is a good film because it starts off immediately stirring up a lot of intrigue and reveals a villain’s origin story with a clear, understandable motivation. In the first Shazam movie, we understand that the chaos of the villain is fueled by envy and deep feelings of inadequacy.
The stellar acting and endearing characters, keep you engaged in the superhero story. You know how it’s going to end, but following these characters on their journey is a blast nevertheless.
Entering into the sequel of Shazam, there was a lot of anticipation, and that excitement did not go to waste.
On a whole, the movie is good but nothing out of line with what you’d expect from a classic superhero story. Nonetheless, these are 3 parts of Shazam Fury of the Gods that stuck out the most: Shazam’s Cape, the inclusion of many Fantastical Elements, and Shazam’s Character Growth.
3 Outstanding Elements of Shazam Fury of the Gods
1. Shazam’s Cape Has Been Changed
In the first Shazam movie, I was distracted by Shazam’s frilly, double cape. It was giving bed skirt or the bottom of a Victorian wedding dress.
The double cape was an intentional choice by the director, David F. Sandberg, who wanted to pay homage to Shazam’s classic look in the “Golden Age comics.” Even with the sizeable, clunky lightning bolt, the bright red textured suit, and the slicked-back “Grease” hair, the full look wasn’t offering retro. Just a distractingly strange cape.
In the second Shazam movie, Shazam Fury of the Gods, the cape was one seamless piece of fabric and it looks so much cleaner, less distracting, and more befitting for Shazam’s character. He doesn’t strike me as a guy who likes frills.
I imagine it must also be more aerodynamic to only have to deal with one fluid cape instead of two.
A valid critique of the singular longer cape is that it no longer sets Shazam’s look much apart from other superheroes. From afar he may look like a less blue superman.
Who knows, maybe in the next Shazam film, he’ll wear the short half of the original cape, like super high waters but cape style.
2. Fantastical Elements in New Movie Shazam
One of the 3 sister villains, Kalypso, has a particularly fascinating superpower. She has the ability to bring someone to a point of involuntary compulsion, whispering in their ear whatever task she would like them to perform.
We witness this awe-striking magic at the beginning of the film when she spreads chaos like wildfire by simply whispering into one man’s ear.
Later on in the film, she uses her magical gift of mayhem to release a ginormous, mythical dragon with well-worn wings, and a belly full of scorching blue fire.
These supernatural elements of the film continue to fascinate as we also see a magical tree of life “blossom” or more so “spread like metastatic cancer” throughout the city of Philadelphia. As the tree rapidly matures, mythical, horrible, and terrifying creatures hatch from the tree and wreak all kinds of havoc on the world around them.
It really is something to marvel at. I mean – something to DC at, respectfully…
Among the obscenities that were hatched, were creatures that stand apart from the rest. Hidden in dark caves, and for the most part, minding their business, we meet the unicorns.
These unicorns take on a shape different than your average My Little Pony. Although they’re the size of a pony, they trade bright welcoming rainbow colors for a dark, intimidating aesthetic. However, these fierce beasts can be tamed with a handful of skittles (although, ideally they prefer ambrosia).
Shazam’s take on mythology, spirits, and gods is fascinating and fun, sticking somewhat to the original expectation of these magical elements while taking creative liberties with some embellishments here and there.
3. Shazam’s Character Growth
A final aspect of the new movie Shazam Fury of the Gods that stood out was Shazam’s Character Growth. A consistent narrative string throughout the entire film was Billy’s, AKA Shazam, growth in his confidence as a hero, and as a leader. We see him distance himself from his feelings of inadequacy and the imposter syndrome.
In the final fight scene, Shazam takes on the impenetrable dragon. As the exquisite soundtrack builds and swells, we see a serious, confident, ultra-powerful, and self-assured Shazam emerge from the silly, wise-cracking kid that the audience is used to seeing.
You begin to believe in Shazam’s ability to really be the Champion.
It is a far step away from where he was at the beginning of the film, lounging on the couch of a physician who he regarded as his therapist no matter how many times he reminded him that he’s just a pediatrician.
The human within the superhero costume was not neglected which adds depth and relatability to the narrative.
Notable Artistic Choices
The costume design in general is excellent. You can tell the suits are a bit padded, but realistically so. All of the character’s tailored physiques are appropriate for their build.
The music, especially at the movie’s climax, is so majestic and powerful. In fact, every element of the climax scene is stellar. The lighting and editing communicated divine, ultimate POWER.
All of the actors contributed to a well-executed script with standouts being the kid-version of Freddy played by Jack Dylan Grazer, (he is so incredibly endearing), and of course, Zachary Levi as Shazam himself (humorous without crossing into annoying). Djimon Hounsou also played the cynical yet large-hearted wizard very well, making him a lovable character I hope to see more of.
Shazam 2 is riddled with jokes that land more often than not and guarantee a few audience-wide chuckles here and there. There are also some not-so-surprising cameos as well which are crucial to the plot although underwhelming.
The biggest critique of this film is the obscure villain motivations. Shazam’s first installment provided a solid villain origin story making it easy to understand the villain’s motivations.
In Shazam Fury of the Gods, the motivations of the daughters of Atlas (Hespera, Kalypso, and Anthea) feel unclear, not only to the viewers but to the sister themselves as they can’t agree on anything, much to their detriment.
Hespera, played by the regal Helen Miren, is cunning, smart, and focused, Kalypso played by the illustrious Lucy Liu is chaotic and destructive, and Anthea, played by rising star, Rachel Zegler, is passive and empathetic, reluctant to follow through with any of her sisters’ plans.
There doesn’t seem to be much cohesion among the three sisters, their staggering age differences further widening their supposed relatedness. The daughters of Atlas were not originally in the Shazam comics and that fact is evident in the baseless characterization of Shazam 2’s villains.
Because of the weak and muddy character motivation, it becomes a bit difficult to stay as highly engaged in the middle of the movie as it is in the beginning. Between the exciting beginning where people are hypnotized to destroy each other and the powerful ending fight scene, we just see a series of formulaic setbacks to fluff up the middle a bit.
If the villain’s motivations were given a stronger, more impactful backstory, the film could have less of a sagging middle. But on the whole, even after only half a night of sleep, this film is entertaining enough to keep a serial napper like me awake. So – that’s saying something.
Shazam Fury of the Gods is not only good, but it’s also energetic, funny, and fantastical.
This movie successfully carries on the playful energy of the first film bringing with it all the laughter, magic, and wit that makes it one the best, if not THE best film superhero series in the modern DCEU Universe.
The final 2 end credits promise an exciting story ahead. Let’s see if Shazam brings a short cape for next time.
What’s your favorite part of the Shazam story? Let me know in the comments below!
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Peace, love, and lots of popcorn,
This review was made with the Guided Movie Review Generator. Try it out!