With all the controversy surrounding “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” I began to hesitate to write a review. For many reasons, it’s the DC superhero movie that people either embrace with love or love to hate. I was a big fan of the first “Shazam!” in 2019, and my positive review was one that got me the most hate mail out of anything I have ever written. Here’s hoping this mildly “fresh” review won’t have history repeating itself.
Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his foster kid family (Jack Dylan Grazer, Jovan Armand, Grace Caroline Currey, Ian Chen, Faithe Herman) are still learning how to balance their awkward teen years with their adult superhero powers. The gang is called on to save the world when a vengeful trio of ancient gods (Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren, and Rachel Zegler) arrives on Earth in search of the wizard ‘s (Djimon Hounsou) magic staff that will reactivate their powers so they can dominate all of existence. What follows is an epic battle complete with dragons, unicorns, mythical creatures, and a group of young heroes against a formidable foe.
There’s not a whole lot to say about this sequel, but it kept me entertained. The plot is average, but the CGI looks great, and the kid and adult cast (Zachary Levi, Adam Brody, Meagan Good, Ross Butler, D.J. Cotrona) is extremely likeable (let’s just not think about Levi’s social media meltdowns, shall we)? The performances are good enough for a superhero flick, and the addition of Mirren and Liu ups the overall acting credibility. The problem is that it’s Levi who dumbs things down too much. He’s supposed to be almost 18 years old, but he acts like he’s 12. It’s off-putting to almost anyone who has been through puberty (the movie seems geared towards young teens).
The movie has its share of cringe-worthy moments, including a misplaced DC superhero cameo (and a head-scratching end credits stinger), and a laughably overt advertisement for Skittles candy (one character even screams, “taste the rainbow!”) that should start up a chorus of mocking guffaws from audiences.
I guess the best way to sum up this review is “c’mon, guys, it’s not that bad.” I realize that isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for a movie, but “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is good enough to provide a mildly amusing escape for a couple of hours.