Monday 27 March 2023

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (Movie Review)

The DCEU is officially dead, folks. Or at least it is currently suffering its biggest financial failure in the form of Shazam! Fury of the Gods. I finally got to see the movie for myself this past weekend, after being forced to sit out its opening weekend due to the unrest surrounding elections here in Nigeria. And while I'd thoroughly enjoyed the first film, I had approached the sequel with a healthy dose of skepticism. This was mainly because its trailers and overall marketing had failed to sell it as anything more than another generic superhero flick. But did the actual movie deserve better than the poor hand it had obviously been dealt?

The film continues the misadventures of Billy Batson, a teenage orphan (Asher Angel) imbued with the ability to turn into an adult-sized superhero (Zachary Levi). He now works to protect the people of his city along with his foster siblings, having decided to share his powers with them at the end of the last movie. But as it turns out, the source of those powers can be traced back to a titan named Atlas. And now his daughters, Hespera and Kalypso (Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu respectively), would stop at nothing to get those powers back for their own nefarious needs.

I guess I need to start by saying that I actually enjoyed my time with Shazam! Fury of the Gods, a lot more than I thought I would. The film tapped into most of the things that made the first one so great, like its lighthearted humor and overall sense of charm. And while it lacked the first one's heart and emotional pull, it tries to compensate with more action and spectacle. So if watching a giant dragon wreck an entire city is your type of jam, then chances are you'll find much to love in this Shazam! sequel too.

With that out of the way, it is fair to say that Shazam! Fury of the Gods was pretty much dead on arrival. Not only had last year's Black Adam left a bad taste in many people's mouths, it also didn't help that James Gunn had announced a full reboot of the overall DCEU before the new film even got to see the light of day. All this worked together to make the film feel inconsequential. Most people have already deemed it unworthy of checking out at the cinema. And who can blame them, when the company behind the film itself didn't seem to know what to do with it either?

Between all the delays and shifts in release dates, it was clear that Warner Bros. didn't have much confidence in the film. A part of me feels the movie would have probably done better had it simply been released alongside Avatar 2 in December as once intended when walk-in ticket sales are typically at their highest. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats and those who weren't able to secure tickets to the James Cameron effects extravaganza could have opted to see this one instead.

But hindsight is 20/20 like they say and the fact remains that the new Shazam is going to lose quite a bit of money at the end of the day. What that means for the prospect of subsequent entries or appearances by the character in the newly-minted DCU remains to be seen. But I am now more curious than ever to see how the other remnants of the old DCEU perform later this year. There has been much buzz surrounding The Flash, so I'll definitely be checking that one out on Day 1. As for Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, only time will tell.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods feels like an unfortunate product of an already-dead franchise. This is despite the fact that its filmmakers had done everything they could to craft an entertaining follow-up to the first film in the series. And while it is easy to point fingers regarding its financial woes, it is still a shame that it never got the fighting chance that it so clearly deserved. So even though there is plenty of fun to be had with the movie, especially if you were a fan of the first one, I still find it hard to recommend it over some of the other stellar blockbusters currently playing at the cinemas.


  1. And it's a shame because I thoroughly enjoyed it. Like you said, it had all of the elements of the first one. And the surprise cameo was perfect. It's too bad the film won't get a chance to succeed.

    1. Glad to hear that you also enjoyed the movie. It was a worthy follow-up overall.

  2. I did like the first one but as you say the studio chopped this off at the knees with all the drama about rebooting the DC universe. It's basically what happened to "Dark Phoenix" and "New Mutants" after Disney took over Fox. Who wants to watch a franchise movie when the franchise is already dead?

    1. Precisely. I still haven't seen Dark Phoenix for that very reasons. Perhaps I'll eventually get around to it someday.

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