Not long after the events of Shazam!, Billy Batson and his foster siblings are still trying to figure out the whole superhero thing… with mixed results. While they manage to save many lives, there’s plenty of collateral damage along the way.
Billy does his best to lead his new superhero team, but he has his own self doubts. He questions why the Wizard chose him. He feels like superheroing with his siblings is like herding cats. And with his impending 18th birthday, he’s worried about aging out of the foster system and going into the real world alone. Amid these concerns, a new threat arises.
Thousands of years ago, the Wizard stole the powers of the Greek gods before giving them to Billy. But now the gods have returned and they want the powers of their ancestors back.
Hespera, Anthea, and Calypso (aka The Daughters of Atlas) plot to take back their powers and make the human world suffer. But to do so, they must first defeat Billy and the kids. Are the children up to facing their biggest challenge?
If you liked the first Shazam! movie, you’ll more than likely enjoy this one. It has a lot of the same strengths of the first film. First and foremost, it’s funny. From the witty dialogue to the comedic situations to the adults acting like kids, it generates a lot of laughs.
That sets it apart from all of the other superhero films. The idea of children with the powers of superheroes is unique and gives it a unique feel compared to the other Marvel and DC films.
Second, the returning cast remains excellent. Zachary Levi continues to find the right mix of superhero as Shazam and kid as Billy Batson. His energy and humor carries the film the whole way. But Jack Dylan Grazer continues to stand out as Freddy Freeman. His snarky dialogue, cartoonish reactions, and well-timed quips are perfect.
And when he’s paired with Djimon Hounsou as the Wizard, they form an unlikely superhero duo that I never knew I wanted. Hounsou is given significantly more to do in this sequel than the first film and it elevates him as one of the standouts. No gag is below him and I won’t spoil one of the most memorable here, but suffice it to say you’ll never look at him the same again.
Among the sibling superheroes, Meagan Good continues to stand out as Super Hero Darla. She manages to capture the childlike innocence of Darla but infused with super speed. When she Oohs and Aaahs over kittens in the middle of a rescue, you fully believe her as an elementary school girl and it’s a funny moment you won’t see in another superhero film.
While the superhero action is fairly generic, there are a couple of twists involving Greek mythology that keeps things interesting. And the way the monsters are thwarted is a twist that I did not see coming and will give audiences a good laugh.
Look for two bonus scenes in the credits as well as a couple of surprise cameos that will make DC fans happy.
While there’s a lot to enjoy in Shazam! Fury of the Gods, it’s not quite as strong as the first film. One of the main problems is that the villains are rather flat. Helen Mirren brings gravitas as Hespera and is a good foil to the childlike Shazam, but she does little else.
Lucy Liu is surprisingly flat as Kalypso. Through most of the big final battle she’s rather stone faced. For someone who is the embodiment of chaos, she’s not very chaotic. And Rachel Zegler does the best she can as Anthea but is only interesting when she’s on the screen with Freddy.
There were other elements that didn’t fit. Faithe Herman is the youngest member of the superhero family as Darla Dudley. She embodies the innocence of the children. Yet at one point in the finale she yells out, “Motherf****r!” It didn’t seem like a good moment for her character – not a good moment in a film aimed at children.
The movie also tries to score woke points by making Pedro Pena gay. There were plenty of other ways to make Pedro Pena compelling without having him drool over baseball players with his foster mother.
If you liked Shazam! then Shazam! Fury of the Gods is worth checking out. It’s a light, fun popcorn movie worth seeing on the big screen.
SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS REVIEW SCORE: 6.5 OUT OF 10
Warner Bros. Pictures‘ Shazam! Fury of the Gods is now playing in theaters. The film is rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and language.