In an attempt to bring a dose of joy to their shared universe, DC decided to invest in a beloved and charismatic comic book character in 2019: Shazam. Four years have passed and now, Shazam: Fury of the Gods hits theaters this Thursday, the 16th, amid a total overhaul within DC Studios.
Fury of the Gods is fun, and does more than its own duty to entertain the audience with the basics. However, postponements, marketing campaign problems, and poor box office projections may have put the sequel in check, even if the content lives up to what it promises.
Check out the film’s review below and see if the character’s adventure is worth going to the cinema, or if it’s better to wait for the streaming release – the film should arrive at HBO Max in the future.
This family is very close…
2019’s Shazam was responsible for being the “most Marvel” movie within DC, which had been establishing itself as a great dark universe. However, the arrival of the first feature opened the door to light and silly productions.
Fury of the Gods embraces this silliness, just like its predecessor, and guarantees an Afternoon Session movie. The plot follows the family of children adopted by the couple Victor and Rosa Vázquez, composed by the protagonist, Billy Batson, and his adopted brothers, having to fight the fearsome Daughters of Atlas.
The screenplay by Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan relies on a classic adventure for a group that is still discovering how to work together. Afraid of losing another family, Billy starts to control how and when his brothers can use their powers, causing minor friction with some characters.
Again, the main dynamic of the plot revolves around Billy (Asher Angel/Zachary Levi) and Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), in the old story of the older brother who wants to take the reins of the younger one. The story manages to tell this quickly, and avoiding unnecessary drama and dialogue, showing that Freddy, and the others, just want a little more freedom, without having to do absolutely all the family chores.
“Shazam: Wrath of Gods is a live-action movie.
Afternoon Session style”
But as soon as the threat of villains begins to take over the plot, these problems disappear to be discreetly resumed at the end. Although Rage of the Gods has the family as background, character development doesn’t matter as much to the audience.
In the end, this causes the feeling that solving these problems is almost useless for the story, and does not cause the viewer to move during the outcome. However, if Gayden and Morgan’s script had tried to lean more on this arc, it would have resulted in a film that was more drawn out and with a greater dramatic load, which definitely does not seem to be the purpose of this sequel. Different from the first one, which still made a point of touching on the mother-son relationship with Billy, Fury of the Gods doesn’t waste time and leaves for another horizon.
The Fury of the Goddesses
If the feature makes the family more neglected, we cannot say the same about the mythological aspect of the production. The film increasingly embraces the magical and fantastical depth of the universe., but without becoming too dark. The new Shazam manages to expand well, but it doesn’t take a step bigger than its own leg to do so.
The main antagonists are in charge of the Daughters of Atlas, three goddesses who regain their powers after stealing the Mage’s staff, and go after the Shazam Family to take the powers of the champions.
Hespera (Helen Mirren), Kalypso (Lucy Liu) and Anthea (Rachel Zegler) play the role of these deities embittered with human beings, and plan – guess what – to destroy the Earth by spreading chaos in the world. Motivations aren’t original, but given the context of Shazam: Wrath of Gods, expecting villains with more ingenious plans and authenticity is a mistake.
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In the end, Helen Mirren’s Hespera carries this bow on her back thanks to her experience, even if her character is not well used. Lucy Liu is unconvincing as Kalypso, sneaking in a lot of superficiality, even though she is a great actress. To be fair, Kalypso’s text doesn’t help with further development, putting this villain on the most generic level possible. Rachel Zegler continues to work well at this stage of career advancement, and develops a good antagonist, albeit a very predictable one.
Solomon’s wisdom, but only when it suits
Essentially, Shazam and his entire family are children or teenagers who get their abilities through powers taken from other gods. The strength of Hercules, the wisdom of Solomon, the endurance of Atlas, the power of Zeus, and the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury are the exact words uttered by the Magician before passing the hero’s mantle to Billy Batson.
It’s comical how Shazam manages to have all these attributes, minus Solomon’s wisdom. Rage of the Gods makes it clear that this character is stupid, and even makes a great joke about it.
Sure, while Zachary Levi’s Shazam isn’t smart, this character is a 17-year-old in a man’s body on steroids. The problem is that his 13-year-old adopted sister seems infinitely smarter than the protagonist. In fact, the entire family is smarter than Shazam himself, who relies on the idea of having a “pure heart”.
In addition, Levi is fine in the film, with a good time for comedy, although I find his performance too cartoonish. On the other hand, Asher Angel seems to have less screen time and manages to give the character a calmer air. While Shazam is a goofball, regular Billy is much calmer and more laid back.
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The supporting cast makes a name for itself, with highlight for Jack Dylan Grazer and Grace Caroline (Mary); plus cute Faithe Herman (Darla). This trio is the one that was used the most, making the rest not receive as much attention.
in the right direction
Director David F. Sandberg returns to Wrath of Gods after helming the original film, and while his work here is anything but extraordinary, the filmmaker puts the feature in the right path of the new management of DC.
Although production started before the arrival of James Gunn and Peter Safran, Shazam: Wrath of the Gods has Gunn’s almost trademark: the silly comedy, the script that doesn’t take itself seriously, the very vivid color palette, good action scenes, and the feeling of oneness with the family.
Sandberg managed to create a solid project with a budget that is even “low” for a modern hero movie, around US$ 100 million, and surprisingly the CGI manages to convince well most of the time. The exception happens in small moments where it is noticeable the use of a chroma key to make the actors fly.
It’s worth watching?
Shazam: Fury of Gods is a fun and unpretentious movie, which never plans to be bigger than it needs to be. The film does not innovate in any element, and is a repetition of several other feature films of the genre, but it fulfills its function well.
The sequence is a good option to go to the cinema, laugh with some jokes, and see fun action scenes, without worrying about a complex or deep plot. While it’s silly, if audiences buy into the idea that the heroes are children in an adult’s body with powers, they should leave the screenings satisfied. In the midst of so many films that want to be “big events”, the new Shazam is just a simple movie to entertain yourself, and that’s okay.. Not everything needs to be extraordinary.