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Shazam! Fury of The Gods: Non-spoiler Review

Director: David F. Sandberg

Runtime: 2 hour 10 minutes

In Shazam! Fury of The Gods, Billy Batson hopes to maintain his family by organizing everyone into a crime fighting team, while maintaining their secret identities, especially from their parents.

Naturally, everyone has different priorities and personalities, so the team, nicknamed the “Philly Fiascos”, never really finds their crime fighting rhythm, especially when a new girl named Ann/Anthea (Rachel Zegler) arrives at their school and clicks with Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer).

Simultaneously on another world, the Daughters of Atlas, led by Helen Mirren as Hespera and Lucy Liu as Kalypso, are desperate to return their world to the glory of the old days before the original wizard Shazam! (Djimon Hounsou) sucked their power into the magic staff from the original.

The sequel is a good, family focused and relatively family friendly movie. The first film did well amongst most groups because of the tonal shift from the other dark, gritty, or serious films in the DC Extended Universe. Fury of The Gods leans into what worked for the first film and takes advantage of minimal exposition, though it suffers from rushed plot.

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What works best for the film is that it’s very aware of itself and leans into that mode. Multiple scenes in the film caused the audience in my screening to laugh out loud, but other times we groaned together at the humor. This was a fun experience because the characters laughed or groaned too.

There’s a very explicit nod to the Fast & Furious franchise (writer Chris Morgan worked on both) as well as one of the most overt Skittles product placements ever. All of these joking moves work for the film and fit the tone well.

Levi was a little too sporadic for me in the original Shazam!, but I found him more endearing this time around. His energy pairs really well with the rest of the team, most notably Meagan Good as Super Hero Darla, Jack Dylan again as Freddy, Adam Brody as Super Hero Freddy, and Hounsou.

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The film gives everyone, new and old, a fair share of screentime, so I applaud that equity, but the stars above were my favorites. Hounsou interacts more than in the original, Adam uses his range more, Jack carries the film, and Meagan brings the heart. Faithe Herman is right up there as the child version of Darla Dudley so it’s quite possible the character is written extremely well AND cast perfectly in both versions.

The entire cast has chemistry though, so audiences will be able to tell that they sincerely enjoy one another’s company and actually feel like a family. I could have used more screen time for the parents, the Atlas Sisters, and the kid versions of the heroes, but everyone gets at least one moment.

In an expected turn, the last act of the film is a VFX slugfest, but once again, the film knows we expect this. In an unexpected turn, the film continues the comic book movie trend of using post credit scenes.

If you’ve committed to DCEU movies thus far, then the scenes, one mid credit and one post credit, do provide some connectivity and excitement for what would have been. But if you’re excited for James Gunn’s vision and the DCU, the scenes may be a little jarring and confusing.

Even though the DCEU is being rebooted and the DCU begins soon, I appreciated that this movie wasn’t too obviously edited and reshot in order to create closure. It’s still well aware what universe it started in and that’s ok. It’s a solid one time watch, so 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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