I love the first SHAZAM! film. That first film resonated with me so much that it is in my Top 10 Comic Book Film list. However, with the recent quality of Black Adam, the way that DC was being restructured at the time, and the supposed meddling from executives for most of DC Comics projects my hopes were not high for this sequel. I was excited from all the trailers that were shown but I was very hesitant as to not have my hopes and dreams crushed by how the film might have turned out.
So the question is “Was it good? Did it break Johnny?” I am happy to say that it did not break me luckily. Overall the film was a delight to watch, there were merely 1 or 2 moments that I will say I did not care for, but as a whole I think that it is an excellent sequel to the first film.
However, I do enjoy the first film more but funny enough this film does make the first one even better. One thing this movie proves though is that David Sandberg, Zachary Levi and the writers of the film have an understanding of the SHAZAM characters. Seeing how good this film is makes me excited for SHAZAM’s future going forward in DC Comics movies and I can only begin to ponder the beautiful possibilities that James Gunn and Peter Safran have in mind for the SHAZAM-ily.
Let’s quickly address the issues I have though. Firstly, the villains of the story do not entirely service the narrative of what Billy is experiencing in this film. By comparison to Doctor Sivana in the first film, he acts as an excellent foil to Billy’s journey. Whereas in Fury of the Gods, the Daughters of Atlas are intriguing foes who have excellent performances behind them, though their motivations and journey do not align well with Billy’s internal conflicts that he experiences.
The other issue I have is with the way that the film decides to end. Without spoiling anything, there is definitely a deus ex machina that comes in at the end to resolve an issue. It is however done in a way that is not very abrupt and can honestly be laughed off but it is just noticeable enough that I take minor issues with it.
As for my favourite aspects of the film. I love that we get to see more of Billy’s siblings and what their roles have become. Such as Eugene’s desire to map out all the magical doors in the Rock of Eternity, Freddy’s desire to go solo and the fact that Mary did not go to University.
Though, the Mary story does feel incomplete. There was also the return of a character thought gone from the first film who was a very pleasant surprise to have back and added a fair bit to the dynamic of the overall family. Of course SHAZAM himself was an absolute delight and it has to be noted that the moments that are meant to hit you at the heart really did a number on me. The emotional vulnerability that Zachary Levi presents with his charisma has honestly been greatly missed since James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, so to get some in this was a breath of fresh air.
Overall, SHAZAM! Fury of the Gods is a movie that I will happily watch at least one more time in theatres with friends and so far it is my favourite superhero film of the year (given there is not much competition as of yet.) It is not some big game changer for the DC Comics movies, but honestly some of the best DC Comics movies are the inconsequential ones that don’t try to go out of their way to make big impacts on the film universe’s status quo.
If you like the first SHAZAM! film then do yourself a favour and give it a watch before it is out of theatres, because it is honestly worth seeing on the big screen.