If you have followed my work for any amount of time you know I have quite the relationship with the first Shazam movie from 2019. I had mixed feelings on the film and ended up going rotten on my score. As one of the first to go negative, and the first female critic to do so, the world went insane and death threats came, the FBI had to be notified and it was a genuinely traumatic experience.
Now we have the sequel Shazam: Fury of the Gods and I honestly struggled with what to do about it. On one hand I could recuse myself for my own mental health. I don’t have to cover it for an outlet, so why put myself through that? On the other hand, isn’t that letting the idiots win?
Today I'm seeing the sequel to the movie that caused me major trauma. I debated about seeing it but I'm not letting the terrorists win on this one. Screw them. I'll say what I think and not be stopped pic.twitter.com/PIQGMJkEVa
— Rachel's Reviews- Queen of Movies! (@rachel_reviews) March 15, 2023
Eventually I decided to go with the latter and was able to find a critics screening here in Austin which I attended with my friend Sean Chandler (check out his terrific youtube channel for lots of great rankings and reviews of superhero movies and more)
Now I have seen the film I’m left with decidedly mixed feelings once again. I do think director David F Sandberg improves upon the first film in some ways and fixes some of the problems I had with it. The tone is much more balanced and consistent throughout the film (some might say that makes it more bland and I don’t disagree but overall it was a positive.)
They also did a better job of connecting the performances of Asher Angel and Zachary Levi. They felt more like the same person, which was a problem in the first Shazam. I also enjoyed the family spirit particularly the foster parents Rosa and Victor Vasquez played by Marta Milans and Cooper Andrews respectively.
There is also a cameo which I had a fun time with (and I guess the studio has spoiled in the trailer!) As he or she is a favorite character of mine I’m glad I got to see him or her one more time in this universe.
So where does the movie not work? Well, actually I shouldn’t even say that because it works fine but it’s all completely average and something we’ve seen a million times before. If you want a fine superhero movie with likable actors and disposable action Shazam: Fury of the Gods will scratch that itch. If you were hoping for something more than it won’t deliver. Even the characters superpowers are bland and non-descript (and all the same for the entire family?)
The cast including Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu as the Daughters of Atlas are fine as villains but bland and forgettable. Djimon Hounsou is involved in the story but not given much to do. Rachel Zegler is wasted in a boring role.
I don’t know. If you loved the original I’m not sure what you will think of Shazam: Fury of the Gods. As someone who didn’t, I did see some improvement, and I liked its heart of family, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before a million times. In the end, whatever. Go see it if you want or don’t and leave me out of it.
5 out of 10
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