Movie review: Winsome 'Shazam' sequel follows same formula

Fred Hawson

Posted at Mar 15 2023 12:27 PM

A scene from ' Shazam: Fury of the Gods.' Handout
A scene from ' Shazam: Fury of the Gods.' Handout

Two years after the events of the first movie, Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his five foster siblings were all still living with their foster parents Victor and Rosa Vasquez (Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans). As the Marvel Family, they were still doing their best to save the city of Philadelphia from various emergencies. Despite their good deeds, there were those who felt that they were doing more harm than good, giving them the nickname of "Philly Fiascos." 

One day, the city museum was attacked by two angry goddesses, Hespera (Helen Mirren) and Kalypso (Lucy Liu), who were a broken magical staff on display. Upon grasping the staff, they recovered their lost powers and were determined to wreak their revenge on humankind for destroying their world. Meanwhile, Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) was very excited because a pretty newcomer in school named Anne (Rachel Zegler) was very friendly with him. 

The first "Shazam!" (2019) was a very pleasant surprise because of its entertaining combination of family dynamics, childish comedy and Rated-PG superhero action. There was certainly more of this same tried-and-true formula in this winsome sequel. The juvenile comedy may have teetered on the edge of corny; however, the charm and goodwill of the actors, both regular and adult superhero forms, made everything come together just right.

Zachary Levi may already be 42 years old this year, but he's really got that man-child character down pat with perfect comic timing. Among the kids, it was Jack Dylan Grazer who had a longer, more highlighted role as Freddie, who dared take off by himself to seek adventure solo, and was given a love interest to boot. Dame Helen Mirren must have had a tough shoot given her armor and fight scenes, but she can rock any role. 

This sequel gave us major action sequences (the suspension bridge collapsing, the city attacked by manticores, harpies, cyclopses and minotaurs, the charge of the unicorn brigade), as well as silly comic moments (Hespera reading the letter magic pen Steve wrote, the wizard Djimon Hounsou usurping Billy's romantic dream). It had a thrilling star-striking superhero cameo towards the end, even before the mid and post-credit extra scenes. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."