The cast remains a joy to watch, especially the collective team of younger actors.
Despite the script, Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu add some measure of actual weight to the movie.
The mid-credits scene offers some hope of being retained
This is still far from what DC should be putting out as a finished product.
The switch between adult and kid counterparts seems to be confusing for the writers
No, really, why wasn’t this called ‘SHA2AM!’? That just feels like a missed opportunity.
At this point, there is somewhat of a bleak shadow looming over the DC films preceding James Gunn’s upcoming slate. But, while most things remain uncertain, SHAZAM! Fury of the Gods is adamant on being the silver streak of lightning in otherwise dark and dreary clouds. Unfortunately, this does little to make the movie any better than its predecessor, but it is a breath of fresh and unburdened air amidst all the shuffling across the DC Universe of film.
Set just a couple of years after the 2019 live-action big screen debut of the Marvel Shazam family, SHAZAM! Fury of the Gods, or as it is better known (to me): SHA2AM!, dives straight into the larger-than-life action that can only be achieved by way of having the dude from Chuck battle some of the best actresses from the last few decades.
While SHA2AM! doesn’t quite solve just about any of the problems the first movie encountered, it does acknowledge many of these issues, making the overall experience somewhat palatable. Between jokes on how the wisdom of Solomon seems absent, to the lack of a clear idea of the chief character’s actual superhero name (‘cause he ain’t gonna be called Captain Marvel, is he?), there is a fair amount of self-awareness which helps the lacklustre script and plot just more acceptable.
Of course, this doesn’t save the movie from an almost utter lack of character growth or organic development. The frequent shuttling between child actors and super-powered adult counterparts (with an exception of Grace Fulton’s turn as Mary Marvel), paired with the rush towards jumping from action piece to action piece, does very little to allow for any proper character development. Beyond being told that these characters are family, there is little reason to perceive the unit as such.
Much of the pacing and character moments outside of battle sequences almost feel like victims of choppy editing, a common issue with many of the DCEU films dating as far back as 2016’s Suicide Squad and still very much present in the recent Black Adam. But with a very light plot, and even lighter script, the issues are not as glaring as they could have been.
The film ultimately plays out as a cross between an extended SNL skit and a Netflix original superhero movie. While this doesn’t bode well for any superhero franchise, it does retain a genuine and innocent sense of fun. Which is especially odd when considering the scenes depicting some pretty brutal deaths. But consistency in tone isn’t something the DC movies have been particularly fussy about, so why start now?
Slightly confusing, though, is where exactly does Shazam and his family fit in Gunn’s new universe? The mid-credit scene seems to promise the team somewhat of a future, but nothing is set in stone for now. And if it does get a sequel, the post-credits scene may offer a clue of what to expect.
SHAZAM! Fury of the Gods (better known as “SHA2AM!“ by now, I’m sure) is out now, and wouldn’t be too bad a watch.