Quick synopsis: After the events of the first film, Billy Batson lives with his super-powered siblings, then shit goes down due to Helen Mirren using a magic tree.
Before talking about Shazam! Fury Of The Gods (or FOTG, pronounced Phottog), I’m going to start talking about a subject I don’t often delve into; sports. You occasionally get times towards the end of the season when teams have nothing else to play for. From the fans to players and to the owners, everybody knows that what is about to happen is not important, so they don’t really pay much attention to it. It makes sense, it’s difficult to convince yourself to be invested in something when you know it doesn’t matter (that’s why nobody pays attention to any of my opinions). Fury Of The Gods has a similar problem, it’s hard to get invested in it when there’s a small part of you thinking “This is the last film with this character”. Nobody knows the future of the DC Universe, and Warner Bros are at the point where even “this film has been advertised and is in post-production” won’t stop them from cancelling a movie (RIP Batgirl, damn I wish I could see that movie). There’s no plan, everything seems to be decided on a whim, which causes a problem with audiences. The big problem is; Audiences don’t trust DC any more. There’s no excitement for the Flash movie, despite the fact it features the return of Keaton as Batman. This should be a big deal, but people are so jaded with DC at the moment that it doesn’t matter (doesn’t help that Ezra Miller is a prick). So how is that relevant to this? Well, it’s the only reason I can think of for the lacklustre box office. If you enjoyed the first one, you’d enjoy this. It’s tonally very similar to the first one; with a mix of genuine emotion and innocent humour of a kind you can only get away with if you have a character like this. Weirdly, and I am aware this may be sacrilege, the worst casting decision in this is Helen Mirren. She is a fantastic actress, and she does it well, but she’s just quite right for the character, especially compared to the other two. Lucy Liu, everybody knows what she’s capable of, and while it’s a shame she’s not given more to do physically, she has just enough to do for it to work. The best new cast addition is Rachel Zegler. Zegler is in a weird position because she has only had one film credit before this, so a small part of you considers her inexperienced and new. But that one role? Maria in West Side Story. So you go in with high expectations of her, whilst still being unsure of what she can bring. She brings everything, her character’s true motives are a bit too obvious to anybody who has ever seen a movie before, but she performs it so damn well that you don’t care.
That predictability is one of the weakest parts of FOTG, it doesn’t feel like it’s bringing anything new to the table. There are moments where it does look like it can, the opening attack on the Acropolis wouldn’t look out of place in a horror movie and really sets up the villains as a force to be reckoned with. Sadly, the villains then fall victim to the standard action movie trope of being able to wipe out hundreds of named characters immediately, but have to get close and get a direct hit to even damage a named character. There’s another scene where a teacher is compelled to step off a high building to their death, which is terrifying, and not really used again. The other weak part if the ass-pull at the end, where a certain superhero cameos to fix a problem that comes up, then leaves. This person shows up with the smallest amount of foreshadowing possible, with no indication of how she got there or how she knows to fix the problem, or even if she knew what the problem was.
On the plus side, there are things FOTG does a lot better than its predecessor. The relationship between Billy and his family is more developed in this. The family members themselves are also given a lot more to do. Darla, especially, now has enough about her that a spin-off is not completely out of the question. I mean, it’s not likely, but it would be fun to see. That’s kind of this film in a nutshell; not essential, but a lot of fun. I hope this isn’t the final outing for Levi as this character as he is damn near perfect in the role, I doubt they’ll find anybody better.