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22-04-23 | A month after Shazam! Fury of the Gods premiered, we look back at it’s critical reception. And it’s not pretty. The original Shazam! was a fun and uplifting superhero romp the whole family could enjoy. Sadly, the sequel is general considered to be a major let down.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods deals with a band of teenagers with the power to transform themselves into adult superheroes. Powers which goddesses Kalypso and Hespera wish to claim for their own evil purposes. ´For a comic book movie, Fury of the Gods is awfully slow. There’s not much fury or fighting until the end … ´ said Mark Goodyear of Battle Royal with Cheese. ´There’s still some charm to be found, young Jack Dylan Grazer still has his moments as Billy’s brother and best friend, Freddy Freeman, but it is hollow compared to the original.´

It is a sentiment shared across the board. Travis Hopson of Punch Drink Critics observed that ´… there’s simply too much going on in Fury of the Gods, and that includes a major superhero cameo that feels like it was tacked on at the last minute … probably because it was.´ Simon Abrams of added that ´… one should expect a certain level of creative committee-mandated, Mad Libs-y monotony, regardless of how one feels about the surprisingly decent Shazam!´

Nevertheless, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren garner quite a bit of praise for their portrayals of Kalypso and Hespera. ´Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu ham it up wonderfully …´ said Jacob Richardson of Film Focus Magazine. ‘ … And in particular it is nice to see Mirren continue her late domination of this genre from her work in the Fast and Furious franchise – revelling in the sheer ridiculousness of it all.´ ´Both are fascinating casting choices … ’ added Saxon Whitehead of Doctor Popcorn ‘ … as Mirren seems to be overqualified and Liu hasn’t been in the spotlight all that much over the past few years.’

Whitehead also praised director David F. Sandberg: ‘Sandberg’s direction was one of the biggest strengths of the first film, and this is certainly true of the sequel. His work might not come across the same way as it did in the original, but it at least holds the film together fairly well.’ It’s safe to state that Shazam! Fury of the Gods has a lot going for it, but never seems able to rise to the occasion. The success and charm of the first film make this extra frustrating.

As eminent critic Kim Newman put it, ‘ … it makes for a good evening out, but I miss the heart of the earlier film, which was more about Billy finding a foster family than taking down superpowered baddies.’ One is equally inclined to go along with Mark Goodyear’s harsh conclusion: Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a disappointment that takes the wonderful work of the first film and has no idea what to do with it. The upcoming Flash film may well mark the end of this DC universe, and that’s probably for the best.’

Read the full reviews here:
Mark Goodyear at Battle Royal with Cheese
Travis Hopson at Punch Drink Critics
Simon Abrams at
Jacob Richardson at Film Focus Magazine
Saxon Whitehead at Doctor Popcorn
Kim Newman at Johnny Alucard