Monday, March 20, 2023

Review: SHAZAM! Fury of the Gods" is Fun for the Entire Shazamily

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 14 of 2023 (No. 1903) by Leroy Douresseaux

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)
Running time:  130 minutes (2 hours, 10 minutes)
MPA – PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and language
DIRECTOR:  David F. Sandberg
WRITERS:  Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan (based on the DC Comics characters)
PRODUCER:  Peter Safran
EDITOR:  Michel Aller 
COMPOSER:  Christophe Beck


Starring:  Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Glazer, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, D.J Cotrona, Grace Caroline Currey, Meagan Good, Rachel Zegler, Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, and Djimon Hounsou with Gal Gadot

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a 2023 superhero and fantasy film from director David F. Sandberg.  The film is based on the DC Comics character now called “Shazam.”  Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a direct sequel to the 2019 film, Shazam! and is also the 12th installment in “DC Extended Universe” (DCEU).  Fury of the Gods continues the story of the teenage foster kid who becomes a superhero by uttering one magic word, “SHAZAM!”

Shazam! Fury of the Gods opens in Philadelphia two years after the events depicted in the first film.  Billy Batson (Asher Angel) can still transform into an adult hero, the champion who bears the name “Shazam” (Zachary Levi).  Billy will turn 18-year-old in a few months, which he believes means that he will loose his foster parents, Rosa (Marta Milans) and Victor Vásquez (Cooper Andrews).

Billy shared the power he got from “The Wizard” (Djimon Hounsou) with his five foster siblings.  He calls them the “Shazamily.”  His foster brother, Freddie Freeman (Jack Dylan Glazer), is an adult superhero who calls himself “Captain Everything” (Adam Brody).  His older foster sister, Mary Bromfield (Grace Caroline Currey) is trying to be an adult while also being a superhero.  The other foster kid/adult hero pairs are Eugene Choi (Ian Chen and Ross Butler), Pedro Peña (Jovan Armand and D.J. Cotrona), Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman and Meagan Good).  Billy/Shazam is desperate to keep his “Shazamily” together, but they are having a rough time being superheroes.  After doing a less than stellar job saving civilians from a collapsing bridge, Shazam and company discover that the local media refers to them as the “Philly Fiascoes.”

Bigger troubles are ahead, however.  “The Daughters of Atlas” have imprisoned The Wizard, and they want to regain the powers he stole from the gods, including their father, the Titan Atlas, and gave to his new champions – Billy and his Shazamily.  Can they survive the attack of the daughters:  Hespera (Helen Mirren), Kalypso (Lucy Liu), and the reluctant Anthea (Rachel Zegler), and save the world from destruction and from the fury of the gods?

In the first Shazam! film, the drama was driven by Billy Batson's internal conflict.  It was built around the tension between the foster family Bill could have and did not want and the biological family he wanted but could no longer have (if he ever really had it to begin with).  In Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Billy/Shazam fears losing the foster family that he eventually embraced, and with such a theme, he must inevitably learn that one should not hold onto things too tightly – even loved ones.  The Daughters of Atlas must learn the same, concerning the things to which they cling too tightly.  Billy/Shazam's dilemmas don't resonate this time around the way they did in the original film, and, at times, Billy and Shazam's obsession with holding onto the family seems forced.  But at least this film has the requisite drama.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods, like Shazam!, is a very entertaining film that is part energetic superhero movie, part charming comedy, and part heartwarming family film.  The superhero action is not as intense as that found in most superhero films, although Fury of the Gods' action is more intense than in the original.  Some of the villains' murderous intentions seem really murderous.

Except for the increase in intensity, everything about Fury of the Gods is a little down from the first film.  It is not as poignant, not quite as funny, and it seems too long, although it is a littler shorter than the original film.  Still, fans of Shazam! will likely enjoy Shazam! Fury of the Gods.  It even has a nice cameo appearance by another DC Comics superhero, and that cameo makes me wish that we could get more Shazam! Films.  It would be fun to see Billy Batson and Shazam team up with other DC  heroes and pitted against DC villains.  It is likely, however, that Shazam! Fury of the Gods is the final half of a truly unique pair of superhero movies.

6 of 10
★★★ out of 4 stars

Monday, March 20, 2023

Shazam! Fury of the Gods has one extra scene in the middle of the credits and one at the end of the credits.

The DC Comics character, Shazam, was the first comic book character to have the name “Captain Marvel.”  A boy named Billy Batson became Captain Marvel by uttering the word, “Shazam!”  Captain Marvel was created by comic book artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker.  He first appeared in Whiz Comics #2 (cover-dated:  February 1940) which was published by Fawcett Comics.  A legal dispute caused Fawcett to stop publishing Captain Marvel comic books in 1953.  DC Comics revived the character in 1972, but by then, Marvel Comics owned the trademark to the name “Captain Marvel.”  Thus, the original Captain Marvel is now called Shazam.

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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