Shazam! Fury of the Gods – Lightning never strikes twice

MOVIE REVIEW – The DC Cinematic Universe hasn’t exactly brought the most consistent and successful films to the screen so far, but the first Shazam! movie of 2019 was a pleasant surprise with its humour, heart and family drama. In the sequel, Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his adopted siblings take on the forces of the divine once again when three evil sisters (Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler) attempt to steal the powers of Shazam (Zachary Levi). Will the magic of the first episode be repeated, or is this just an unnecessary second lightning strike?



The Shazam! The Wrath of the Gods continues the story of Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who becomes a grown-up superhero (Zachary Levi) by uttering a magic word. Set four years after the first episode, Billy must face new enemies, Hespera (Helen Mirren) and Calypso (Lucy Liu), descendants of the ancient Greek gods, who seek revenge on Shazam and his family.



Heads of jokes and great visuals enhance the film…


The film’s strengths remain its humorous tone and spectacular action sequences. Zachary Levi is great as the childlike superhero who has a lot to learn about the world around him. Jack Dylan Grazer as Billy’s best friend Freddy Freeman; Adam Brody as Freddy’s adult alter ego; Meagan Good as a superhero version of Darla Dudley; and Djimon Hounsou as Shazam’s wizard mentor.

The visual design and effects are also of a high standard: the film features the realm of the gods, Olympus; Hespera’s dragon-shaped vehicle; Kalypso’s magic weapon; and Shazam’s lightning power and flying ability.

The music and the atmosphere also fit the humorous and spectacular style. Composer Christophe Beck returns after the first episode to recreate Shazam’s theme song and more exciting and fun tunes. The film’s music perfectly complements the scenes, whether it’s a museum adventure, a dragon chase or a battle of the gods. The mood of the film remains light and cheerful, even when it deals with more serious themes such as family or self-acceptance. The film does not take itself too seriously, but rather seeks to entertain the audience.



but the boring plot and cliché mountains set it back


The Shazam! Fury of the Gods has a weakness in terms of plot and lack of character development. The film uses much of the same elements as the first episode: Billy’s self-doubt; Freddy’s infatuation with other superheroes; Darla’s naivety; and a pair of villains out for revenge on Shazam. The film doesn’t introduce anything new or surprising apart from these.

The characters don’t evolve much either: Billy still struggles with self-acceptance and finding a family; Freddy still envies Billy’s abilities; Darla still remains the sweetest and most honest member of the family, who got the speed of Mercury from Shazam. Faithe Herman plays her role very sweetly and brings many smiles to our faces.

Besides the lack of plot and character development, Shazam! The Wrath of the Gods also has other flaws. The story is full of logical hiccups and missed opportunities. It is not revealed, for example, why the goddesses had to wait four years for the attack; why the gods’ powers are not better used; why other DC superheroes do not help in a crisis; or why there are no consequences for Billy and his companions exposing themselves publicly. The humour and visuals override the story and characters.

The Shazam! The Wrath of the Gods does not take advantage of the fact that it takes place four years later than the first episode. It does not show how the Billys’ lives and relationships have changed in that time. Nor does it address how they fit into the DC Universe or how they are influenced by other superheroes or villains. The film seems to take place in a parallel world where only Shazam exists.



Godless, stereotypical goddesses


But the biggest disappointment is the main villains and the supporting cast. Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu play two goddesses who have no motivation other than to take revenge on Shazam for inheriting the gods’ power. The film does not explain why they would attack now, after thousands of years of leaving him alone. Nor do the two actresses do much with their clichéd lines and costumes.

The supporting cast doesn’t get much attention either, with Rachel Zegler as Anthea, the third sister of Hespera and Kalypso; Marta Milans as Rosa Vasquez, Billy’s foster mother; and Djimon Hounsou as Shazam’s magical mentor, all barely appearing in the film. Shazam! Fury of the Gods  does not invest in making these characters more interesting or important.



Medium continuation


Overall, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a mediocre sequel. The film does not bring anything new or exciting compared to the first part, but rather repeats it. The humour and visuals are still entertaining, but not entirely satisfying. The plot is dull and clichéd; the characters are underdeveloped or superfluous.

Apart from the audience and critics, the box office was not very high. Press coverage was mixed: many praised its humour and visuals, but many criticised its plot and characters. The world market did not take it well either: it made less money than the first part in its first weekend and its budget was not low.

If you liked the first part and don’t expect too much from it, you might enjoy this one. But if you want to see something new or exciting from a DC movie, you should avoid it, because it’s the kind of movie you watch once and then forget about in a flash.


The Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Direction - 6.2
Actors - 6.5
Story - 4.2
Visuals/Music/Sounds/Action - 8.2
Ambience - 5.2



The Shazam! The Wrath of the Gods is a humorous and spectacular superhero movie that can't top the first one. The plot is clichéd; the characters are flat or unnecessary; and the main villains are unmotivated. I recommend this film only to those who liked the first part and don't expect too much from it.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)