The first Shazam movie really resonated with me. What most of us dreamed of at 14 years old happened to Billy – he got godlike superpowers from a magic wizard.
The first movie nailed it. I practically cried when Billy’s mom abandoned him. At the same time, I couldn’t have been happier that Billy found this perfectly imperfect foster family. I laughed constantly. I mean, I could’ve watched Billy and Freddy try to figure out all his powers and post videos on YouTube for at least two more movies.
Considering the major upheavals in the DCEU, pundits warned that Shazam! Fury of the Gods was a good one to skip. I should have heeded their warnings because someone zapped all the magic from this movie.
I’ve been trying to put my finger on what went wrong. I think it’s everything. Nothing was terrible, but everything fell flat.
The “Funny” Moments
The movie had a few funny moments. Billy, in Shazam form, had a therapy session with his pediatrician, who aptly identified Billy’s imposter syndrome. The feng shui of the Rock of Eternity changed into a teenage hangout. How they handled the Wonder Woman cameo. All the interactions between the Wizard and Freddy. Steve, the sentient quill, and the negotiation letters sent to the villains. The Fast and the Furious reference that we had all heard in the trailer. Were any of these actually funny, or were we just supposed to think they were funny?
The movie opened with Hespera and Kalypso, the daughters of Atlas, stealing the Wizard’s magic staff from a museum. Billy shouldn’t have broken the staff in half at the end of the first movie because it prevented these gods from entering our world. Hespera and Kalypso had cool powers. Hespera could essentially control the elements and levitate objects. Kalypso could make anyone do anything by whispering it in their ear.
It turned out they had a younger sister, Anthea, who manipulated Freddy at school. That became obvious the minute Rachel Zegler appeared on the screen. But Anthea may have had the best powers. The way she could control the environment felt like a combination of Dr. Strange and Inception.
Ultimately, I’m just not sure whether the villains’ motivations made sense. One minute they were all the bad guys. The next, everyone was fighting Kalypso.
Underdeveloped Plot Lines
Shazam 2 bit off more than it could chew. What have these characters been doing? They seemingly made no growth as superheroes since we last saw them (except Darla, who grew physically so much since the last movie – too much?). I wanted to see some new powers and methods of using them, not watch the Philadelphia Fiascos collapse a bridge.
Mary tried to convince Billy that he needed to figure out what’s next after he ages out of foster care. Am I missing something? Rosa and Victor had no plans to kick him out. Also, does Mary hate her superpowers? Because I will take them.
So much more didn’t work. Pedro’s coming-out moment fell flat after they shoehorned in the baseball subplot. They didn’t lean nearly enough into Freddy turning from a disabled pre-teen to Captain Every Power. They made unicorns a pivotal plot point and shamelessly advertised Skittles as if Starburst weren’t 100 times better. Apart from the unicorns and Skittles, these were all good ideas that just fell flat.
This movie was a 4 out of 10. I wish I had saved my money. I stuck around for the post-credit scenes (there are two), but I don’t think they’re going to matter. Honestly, I’m doubtful we will get another Shazam movie at all. What do you think the future is for Shazam? What should it be? Can we get back to the first movie’s magic?