Shazam: Fury Of The Gods - everyone had fun, so that's all that matters
3 out of 5
Let me start this review by asking answering a question: do you have to have seen the first Shazam! film before seeing this sequel? Strictly, speaking, no, but it will make a little more sense if you have. Plus, it's not like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you won't have to have seen every DC Universe film for it to work, although knowing who Wonder Woman is might help - a little.
Let me also say that these Shazam! films are just over-the-top fun. They are not to be taken seriously and are simply good escapist fun that won't tax your brain too much.
This sequel sees Billy Batson and his fellow foster kids learning how to juggle teenage life with their adult superhero alter egos. When a vengeful trio of ancient gods arrives on Earth in search of the magic stolen from them long ago, Shazam! and his allies get thrust into a battle for their superpowers, their lives, and the fate of the world.
Thee are laughs, there are cameos, there's lots of scenery-chewing and the obligatory CGI battle at the end.
The charm of David F. Sandberg’s 2019 original was like Spider-Man: Homecoming, in that it was a small-scale superhero outing that didn’t have to up the scale and was more interested in exploring the fun and emotional company of its youthful protagonists. Along with the comedy, there was even a touch of horror, (no surprise given the director’s previous credentials), as well as placing his young cast into the realm of 80s kids adventure flicks like The Goonies.
Although the DC fans might be disappointed by this sequel not building upon its predecessor’s mid-credits scene that featured a certain sinister caterpillar, Helen Mirren makes up for it as the villainous goddess Hespera, proving that she is not above the genre blockbusters - and she looks like she is enjoying herself. The supporting cast actually have more fun than the leading man himself, particularly Jack Dylan Grazer as the physically disabled Freddy, who has the more interesting arc from his cute relationship with the youngest Daughter of Atlas, Anne (Rachel Zegler), to his comedic banter with the Wizard, played by Djimon Hounsou.
It's harmless, it's fun. Enjoy.