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Movie Review: “Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods”

Release Date: March 17, 2023

Runtime: 2h 10m

Directed By: David F. Sandberg

Starring: Zachary Levi

          Asher Angel

          Jack Dylan Grazer

          Rachel Zegler

             Lucy Liu

          Helen Mirren

Spring break concluded with the release of“Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods,” marking the first DC film release in 2023.

Following 18-year-old Billy Batson (Angel) and his alter ego Shazam (Levi), the film depicts the titular character and his family struggle with balancing his real life with their alter ego’s and sees them both face a new threat. 

The villains of the film are the three daughters of the Greek Titan Atlas who seek to reclaim a magic which was stolen from them long ago.

From the get-go, the acting in the film was spectacular. Zachary Levi was once again a high point and according to the DCU’s leader James Gunn, still has a clear future in the DC universe despite the overall franchise’s uncertainty moving forward. 

Another high point of the film was newcomer Rachel Zegler. Only two years after her breakthrough role in Spielberg’s 2021 adaptation of West Side Story, Rachel enters the superhero genre with a stellar portrayal of Anthea, one of the daughters of Atlas. Her performance promises a bright career ahead, especially as she is set to star opposite Gal Gadot in 2024’s live action Snow White.

Along with Zegler, the other two daughters of Atlas performed spectacularly. This is to be expected, as Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren are veteran actresses, but all three “sisters” possessed fantastic chemistry, which speaks to the versatility of the two older actresses and showcases Zegler’s acting professionalism.

The chemistry between the other actors is also something to be commended, especially between the main characters. Shazam and his family of superheroes interact well and possess a sense of humor felt even during the “intense” movie moments.

However, when the humor stops, there is not much to this film in terms of plot. Given the DC Universe’s uncertain future (debating which movies will be canon and non-canon now as Gunn has taken the helm), it is hard to tell if this movie is setting up a larger story or not.

Fans do know a larger story is coming. When James Gunn and Peter Safran took over DC Studios, the pair began laying out plans for a new multiverse of movies, not dissimilar to Marvel’s own franchise. What is unclear, however, is where movies like Shazam 2, which overlaps the previous DC films and Gunn’s new franchise, fit in.

Perhaps this uncertainty explains why the Shazam sequel did not perform well at the box-office. Opening with a low $35 million, the film seemed, at least to critics, a disappointment given how likable the character of Shazam is, along with Levi’s portrayal.

While critics point to low earnings, fans who did get out this past weekend to watch the film were satisfied, as the movie currently holds an audience score in the 85% range.

In my opinion, I found the Shazam sequel slightly less unfocused than the original, but at the same time the chemistry, charm and humor made the movie a good time. Agreeing with Zegler, I’d encourage people to “give it a chance.”

Out of 10 stars, Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods warrants six.

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