Following on from the surprise success that was Shazam!, Shazam! Fury of the Gods again aims for the same gentle, satirical sweet spot that made the first film so refreshing. However, this time I doubt you’ll be tasting all the flavours of the rainbow.
It’s not that there’s anything violently wrong with this follow-up, it’s just that there’s nothing really, super compelling about it either in terms of plot, tone or dialogue. Whereas the first outing was Tom Hank’s Big meets Superman, this is more a slavish saga drowning in Nordic mythology by way of a backdrop to Zachary Levi as Shazam dealing with imposter syndrome.
… this time, I doubt you’ll be tasting all the flavours of the rainbow.
Story-wise Shazam and his other childhood friends (who also can turn themselves into adult superheroes at the mere mention of his name) are becoming distracted. Unable to keep them all focused on the superhero-ing at hand, Billy (aka Shazam) starts to doubt himself which is further amplified by the fact that he might soon lose his adoption status and, as a consequence, his adoptive family. However, there’s more world-threatening news on the horizon. Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu have returned as vengeful daughters of Atlas who want to remake the world in the image of their devastated realm. Cue fights, threats, furrowed brows and teenage humour squaring off against some very over-qualified actors. There’s a big climactic fight coming and there’s not much sassy insight or humour to entertain you until it arrives an hour or so later. There’s a new CGI character called Steve the Pen, who behaves like ChatGPT whenever the Shazam gang need more exposition added to their dialogue, but besides that, the film boasts possibly the worst case of product placement in recent years. There’s also a you know walk-on role at the end to set the world back to the way it was, all of which grimacing-ly renders all the aforementioned dramas null and void.
So, in the case of “Shazam you will” or “Shazam you won’t”, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a lightweight bang-crash spectacle that, which whilst it ticks all the visual boxes, doesn’t offer much on the inside when opened. Set soon to join the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and Thor: Love and Thunder, this is very workmanlike fare which would have benefited from some serious sparkle being put into the script.