2023, Movies

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023, David F. Sandberg)

Whatever goodwill was engendered in me from the first Shazam! has been utterly sapped by this stupid sequel, which just leans into every 21st century comic book film cliché. It feels like a bad Thor sequel if Thor was a teenager instead of a drunk who is pining for his ex.

Not content to just have a successful film, or focus on a character who does is a man-child who has to discover things about himself, this film instead has to introduce the usual world-threatening stakes and the usual gods, all supposedly due to the totally reasonable decision Shazam made in the first movie, to keep his enemy from getting more power.

The casting of the gods is ridiculous. They are sisters who have lived forever yet they are played by woman in her late 70s, a woman in her mid 50s and, inexplicably, a woman who is barely in her 20s. No explanation is given as to why two of these gods have aged and one hasn’t. The reason, of course, is that one can be a love interest for Freddy if she is in her early 20s.

As with every other set of gods in a comic book movie, these are bad characters. Their motivations are driven entirely by plot and very little time is spent on how any of this really fits with the mythology of the first film. (About that mythology: they freely mix Greek mythology with Christian, as they did in the first film. But here the film sucks so you pay more attention to how nonsense it all is.) Why do they do what they do? Honestly, who knows? Why do of them become good? Who knows? Reasons!

Everything that worked well in the first movie works less well here. It’s the same stuff only with gods who want to destroy earth, which has definitely never happened in a 21st century comic book movie before. It’s a pretty textbook case of how not to expand the world of your successful superhero movie.


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