The uneven quality of DC’s cinematic universe is no secret. The franchise’s films have ranged from critical darlings like “Wonder Woman” and “Shazam!” to box office disappointments such as “Justice League” and “Suicide Squad.” The constant reshuffling of creative teams, the departure of key players, and the lack of a cohesive vision have left the DCEU in a precarious position.
Unfortunately, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” fails to recapture the spark that made its predecessor, which was a delightful addition to the DC Extended Universe. While attempting to replicate the charm and witty banter of the original, the sequel comes across as repetitive and uninspired. Director David F. Sandberg’s reliance on the franchise’s formulaic elements exposes its weaknesses, including subpar special effects, hackneyed dialogue, and underdeveloped villains.
The film follows Billy Batson, an orphan with a heart of gold, as he leads a team of superpowered foster siblings to battle Hespera and Kalypso, the daughters of the Greek titan Atlas. The novelty of kids in adult bodies quickly wears thin as the movie descends into a routine plot with little substance. Even the talents of Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu can’t elevate the two-dimensional villains beyond their clichéd roles. Although, Mirren is clearly having a blast with her indignant Hespera, and does delivers some of the film’s best laughs.
The constant switching between young and older actors playing the same characters feels jarring and hinders the emotional connection to the story. While Zachary Levi’s infectious energy as Shazam is still a highlight, the lack of character development and uneven pacing prevent the film from reaching its potential.
Despite some fun moments and a promising mid-credits scene, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” ultimately falls short of its predecessor’s accomplishments. Its unremarkable storyline and reliance on familiar comic book tropes fail to set it apart from the crowded superhero genre.
“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” arrives at a time when the DCEU is in flux, and unfortunately, the film’s lack of originality and uneven execution may not bode well for the franchise’s future.