Shazam: Fury of the Gods

Cora Coleman, Writer

If anyone can remember a time before Covid, people will remember a movie called Shazam back in early 2019. It’s not exactly a hot take to say that the DC live-action movies are about as successful as me doing a cartwheel. With infamous pitfalls like Justice League (2016), Batman vs Superman (2016), and Suicide Squad (2016), it’s easy to write off the DC movie-verse as a cheaper version of the MCU. (But I mean, have you seen a recent MCU movie? Even those movies feel like a cheaper version of the MCU.) That’s where Shazam stands as an outlier because that movie was actually good. A charming cast of characters, a simple but effective story, and a unique premise. It was a positive, fun contrast to the usually dark and gritty tone the DC movies have like they’re all trying to be a Batman movie. Now four years later, Shazam: Fury of the Gods hit theaters, and well, it was a decent movie. Not what I call groundbreaking cinema, but compared to the garbage that Mr. Mouse has been spewing out recently, the movie is enjoyable. 

Much like the original, the movie is centered around Billy Batson aka Shazam, along with his superpowered family, the Shazamfam(?),  and their struggle to find a balance between their normal human lives and their superhero alter egos. Throughout the story, each family member wants to find their own way in life and Billy wants to keep everyone together. They do this all while trying to battle three powerful goddess sisters (who are all widely different ages, so I don’t know how that works) the Daughters of Atlas. That’s pretty much the whole movie, which is nice because the movie is clearly fleshed and doesn’t have dumb, unnecessary side plots. There are parts where the movie loses me with how slow-moving it is, but after a few minutes we are right back to action, and I am engaged once more.

Does anyone notice how many recent movies are about the importance of family? Think about these: Multiverse of Madness, Wakanda Forever, Avatar: The Way of Water, Puss-in-Boots The Last Wish, and that new Fast and Furious movie FastX is coming out soon, and we all know what that is going to be about. Anyway, Shazam Fury of the Gods is no different with the “family is important” theme. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s a very heartfelt and positive idea. It’s just been done so many times, and it’s starting to get stale and predictable, especially when a film doesn’t add to or expand on the concept. 

It’s clear that Billy Batson or Shazam has that all-powerful plot armor. I know, shocker, the title character is impervious to literally everything. But still, some points of the movie make you painfully aware of that fact. When the antagonists attack, they never directly go after Billy, even though they are 10 feet away threatening him. Instead, they go after the side characters, the wizards, his siblings, and such. Billy never really gets a chance to prove himself as the powerful, god-like hero that can go toe-to-toe with Superman that the movie claims he is. So when the inevitable CGI final fight scene comes around, his power feels unearned and comes out of nowhere. 

The big hype of this movie was the Wonder Woman cameo, so it was disappointing when what we got was an awkward and clunky interaction. Gal Gadot looks disoriented as if she’s only there to collect a paycheck. She read out her lines like a sophomore doing their baby book speech for Comm Studies. Wonder Woman is one of the faces of DC, so you think the script and directors would treat her with more attentiveness. 

One thing I appreciate about this movie is the handling of the character amount. This movie has a lot of characters with their own things going on. Usually, that would result in a bloated and crowded story, but surprisingly the movie didn’t feel that way. They focus on the characters that drive the plot and let the supporting roles tailgate off of those people. It makes the movie feel more natural and clear. 

The final verdict: it’s pretty good. It’s fun, provides a good laugh, and is engaging for the most part. If you liked the original Shazam, you’ll definitely like this one. Even if you didn’t watch the original, it’s still a decent movie. I look with optimism at the current stuff being released by DC and Warner Bros, such as Peacemaker, the new Suicide Squad, and Shazam. These succeed and are received well by audiences. Along with the recently announced new DC movie franchise plan, we can hope it’s going to be better than what came before it.