Review: Shazam Fury of the Gods

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Shazam Fury of the Gods": A Humorous, Yet Unambitious Sequel with Genre Clichés

The highly anticipated movie "Shazam Fury of the Gods" has been released on March 29, 2023, in theaters. Starring Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Adam Brody, and more, the film runs for 2 hours and 11 minutes and falls under the genre of action, adventure, and fantasy. David F. Sandberg directed this movie.


Billy Batson, the teenager who can transform into an adult superhero by saying the word "Shazam!", continues his adventures in the upcoming movie. Along with his friends, he struggles to balance their teenage life with their superhero responsibilities as they harness the power of the gods.

 However, their world is turned upside down when the Girls of Atlas, a trio of vengeful former goddesses, arrive on Earth in search of the magic that was stolen from them long ago. Billy, also known as Shazam, and his family must engage in a battle to preserve their superpowers, stay alive, and save the planet. 

Can a group of teenagers prevent the destruction of the world? And more importantly, does Billy even want to try?


Shazam Fury of the Gods uses the same formula:

While James Gunn has recently taken over the direction of the DC Universe (DCU) in cinema, with the aim of reshaping everything, David F. Sandberg has directed Shazam! The Rage of the Gods, which is one of the latest installments of the DC Extended Universe (debuted in 2013 with Man of Steel). Zachary Levi reprises his role as the famous hero of the DC stable in this sequel, which continues the continuity of the first part in terms of tone, style, and themes.

David F. Sandberg once again offers an adventure centered around family, solidarity, and mutual aid as essential elements in the face of oppression, which is manifested here by the daughters of Atlas (Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, and Rachel Zegler). As in the first film, the narrative combines action sequences that are sometimes thrilling and sometimes over-the-top, with body-built superheroes and a simplistic discourse on the meaning of family, conveyed through teenagers who feel bad about themselves.

Thus, Shazam 2 creates an atmosphere dominated by humor and irony. No one takes themselves too seriously here. David F. Sandberg takes the formula from the first opus, which was inspired by the Marvel Studios approach, and includes plenty of jokes to lighten up a plot that might otherwise be boring, serious, and quite dull. Unlike the MCU, which constantly navigates between different tones, sometimes leading to awkward and unwelcome breaks in tone, Shazam 2 is clear with its viewer: it is a comedy.

Humor as a spoiler, but also as a limit:

Yes, we're joking. David F. Sandberg serves up some delicious sequences, such as the amusing scenes with the magic pen and the comical intervention of a faux Wonder Woman. The staging of this sequence mirrors the appearance of Superman in the first part, with an unexpected twist this time. However, the film's main comedic force is undoubtedly Zachary Levi, who is always perfect in his portrayal of a teenager with the strength of Superman, combining a superheroic physical appearance with a well-balanced childish humor.

The actor convincingly plays this eccentric, ambivalent character who tries to mask his lack of confidence with Shazam's muscles. Unfortunately, this also leads to him overshadowing the other characters, both villains and allies. This creates an imbalance between the hero and the other protagonists, resulting in some uninteresting subplots.

However, the film's constant use of irony and humor is also its downfall. By pushing the comedy to the extreme, the plot loses its gravity and interest. When the director tries to create a darker and more dramatic final act, the emotional impact falls flat. It's difficult to empathize or fear for our heroes when nothing has been taken seriously since the start of the film.

A glaring lack of ambition:

Similar to its predecessor, Shazam 2 lacks ambition as David F. Sandberg directs an enjoyable yet forgettable film. The movie fails to break out of the mold of a "small superhero movie" due to a predictable plot where each element of the scenario feels phoned in. The threat posed by the Atlas girls remains intangible, and the romance between Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Anthea (Rachel Zegler) is tedious and lacking originality. Furthermore, the lack of connection with the rest of the DCEU makes Shazam a secondary character in the DC Universe, and the use of the Z Family only serves as a mere figuration.

David F. Sandberg employs genre clichés without adding any original twists, which was the strength of the first part. For instance, the grocery store scene, a common trope in the genre (Venom, Hancock), was refreshingly funny in Shazam!. In Shazam 2, the filmmaker attempts a similar approach with the bridge sequence, another common trope in superhero movies (Deadpool, X-Men: The Final Clash, Fantastic 4, Spider-Man: No Way Home), but fails to infuse any novelty into it.

In conclusion, while the first film managed to offer some degree of novelty, Shazam 2 mainly relies on references to its predecessors, including the rest of the DCEU, Harry Potter, or Doctor Strange, without creating its own identity. However, the universe in Shazam 2 has endless possibilities, especially with the mysterious gates of the Rock of Eternity. Unfortunately, David F. Sandberg refrains from exploring this inspiring world and instead opts for tiresome and repetitive speeches, or an overly dramatic final battle with unsightly and noisy creatures. Nonetheless, Shazam! The Rage of the Gods elicits laughter, and that is already a redeeming quality.