The ‘Shazamily’ returns to the big screen to fight off a new threat in the form of the Daughters of Atlas – a trio of sisters hell-bent on doing evil things for the sake of being evil. David F. Sandberg returns to direct and Zachary Levi stars in what is a very fun yet formulaic outing.
I enjoyed 2019’s Shazam! for what it was – it’s a funny, somewhat heartwarming and enjoyable ride. Consistency seems to have prevailed as that’s almost exactly what I think about this sequel. It’s packed with great comedic moments and funny running jokes that had me laughing more than I thought I would. The comedic timing is on point throughout the film and so much of that is down to the natural comedic talents of Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer. These two carry the brunt of the film’s humour and nail almost every funny quip and running gag. Some of the jokes can be a little too silly, but for the most part they hit the mark and make for an enjoyable ride. Where the comedy provides something unique and unexpected, the story does not.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a straightforward story with superhero clichés aplenty. It progresses almost exactly how you would expect it to, hitting all the signature superhero movie beats and following the path set by all the other genre hits from the past 10+ years. On top of this, the Daughters of Atlas are nothing special in the realm of comic book villains. They’re somewhat elevated by the talented actors behind them, but still fall into the category of ‘cookie-cutter villains’ that have no real discernible qualities.
It doesn’t try anything new with its story and villains, but that doesn’t necessarily hurt the film. Following a formula doesn’t instantly mean “bad” – it’s a basic story with basic villains that allows you to just cruise on through. The comedy takes centre stage and turns an uninspired narrative into a fun ride, so I don’t hate the film for its approach.
One aspect I really liked is the continuation of the family dynamic introduced in the first film. The chemistry and banter amongst the ‘Shazamily’ makes way for some fun, lighthearted content that lifts the mood in key moments. Zachary Levi’s charismatic performance elevates the film the most, while the other adult superhero counterparts each have their moments. Meagan Good (Darla), Adam Brody (Freddy) and Ross Butler (Eugene) are good in their limited scenes, while Grace Caroline Currey (Mary) shines the most in group settings to the point where I’d have loved to see more of her.
The only real gripe I have with the film is the dialogue. There’s a couple of shocking dialogue exchanges throughout the film that ripped me right out of it. It’s either in instances where a character dishes out the most cringeworthy cliché response or when they say something that comes across as forced and unnatural. The moments are few and far between, so they don’t do much to ruin the film, but they’re certainly there.
Part of me also feels bad for this film due to it coming out in a really strange time for the DCEU. With a big reset on the horizon and a bunch of characters on the way out, it’s uncertain what will happen with Shazam going forward, making it hard to get too excited about what happens in here.
In the end, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a satisfying watch and a fun ride where the comedy shines. It doesn’t offer anything special in the way of an original story or compelling villains, but they’re both appropriately serviceable. The chemistry amongst the ‘Shazamily’ is strong and lends itself to some great moments with Zachary Levi flexing his charismatic charm. The action is nothing more than simple superhero film action, but again it works fine in here.