Shazam! Fury of the Gods movie review (2023) | Roger Ebert (2024)


Shazam! Fury of the Gods movie review (2023) | Roger Ebert (1)

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“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” arrives with two strikes against it since it’s not only a studio-produced sequel but also a superhero movie made in 2023. One should expect a certain level of creative committee-mandated, Mad Libs-y monotony, regardless of how one feels about the surprisingly decent “Shazam!”. The makers of that fine-enough 2019 franchise-starter, including director David F.Sandberg,toned down both the Troma Lite cynicism and post-Spielberg sentimentality that’s come to define the lighthearted James Gunn-style super-projects that dominate thelandscape.


“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” meanders further in that direction. The first “Shazam!” works as well as it does because it’s mostly focused on two adolescent pipsqueaks, Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer), who get sucked into a generic fantasy, with some assistance from their extended family of orphan buddies. “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” mostly sticks to the comic book formula that the first movie poked fun at, despite another strong comedic performance from star Zachary Levi and some sporadic yuks throughout. It’s schtickier and less assured than the first “Shazam!” but these leftovers still reheat well enough.

Billy, Freddy, and their foster family members return to fight the latest vengeful dangling plot thread, this time a trio of vindictive sorceresses called the Daughters of Atlas, led by Hespera (Helen Mirren) and Kalypso (Lucy Liu), who want to avenge their father, Atlas (not in this picture). The identity of the third Daughter is briefly shrouded in mystery.

Billy’s anxieties speak loudest for the “Marvel Family,” as comics fans know them, a convivial group of tweens whom, after yelling the magic word “Shazam,” are granted godlike superpowers. But even the residents of Philadelphia, where most of “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” takes place, don’t seem to know who these kids are. They refer to the Marvels as the “Philly Fiascos,” presumably because you can’t successfully brand a DC Comics character as a Marvel anything. Billy also longs to know what his “superhero name” is; he gets some answers after he unexpectedly reunites with his grumpy guru/mentor, the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou), who somehow survived the events of the first “Shazam!”. Don’t worry if you forgot this last plot point, Billy and Freddy repeatedly joke about it.

That kind of pre-chewed humor is only charming because it’s finessed by the movie’s ensemble cast members, especially the actors who play the punchy, adult-aged demigods that Billy and his family become when they say the magic word. Levi, who plays Billy’s alter-ego Shazam (also known as Captain Marvel), and Adam Brody, who plays “Super Freddy” (AKA Captain Marvel Jr., Elvis’ favorite super-guy), both stand out as adolescents struggling with thankless grown-up feelings and responsibilities. The movie’s adult villains don’t stand out, though Mirren still smirks like a champ.


There are signs of a warmer and cleverer adolescent super-drama throughout “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.” Clearly enunicated and frantically declaimed dialogue hints at Billy’s prevailing fear of “aging out of” his family, especially now that he’s about to turn 18 years old. His other family members also have lives to live, but we only catch glimpses of them whenever the plot stalls long enough to highlight likable but under-developed supporting characters, like the unicorn-loving Darla (Faithe Herman) or the closeted Pedro (Jovan Armand), both of whom graze the heart-strings with focus-group-level efficiency.

“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” might have been better if it were more focused on both Billy and Freddy and their hormonal anxieties. Billy dreams of wooing Wonder Woman (in two scenes), and Freddy’s got a crush on new girl Anthea (Rachel Zegler, who sadly has no chemistry with Grazer). Billy keeps saying he’s all about family, but maybe he should focus on feuding with his surrogate brother and wrestling with his super-ego? That worked before, so why not an encore?

Most of the big emotional moments lack cornball vigor, though Levi still takes all the extra room he’s given to create a goofy character who, like an actual teenager, doesn’t have a filter or an indoor voice. This makes up for some things, especially in a movie where the big action scenes mostly sit there, and the gags need to be both sped up and punched up. You have to want to hang out with the Philly Fiascos, and Levi’s arguably the best combination of main character and lead performer in a recent superhero pic. It’s too bad there are several other characters in this movie.

Honestly, Captain Marvel’s a tough character to get right, and if DC still can’t nail a sunny—or functionally grimdark—Superman movie, what hope does Levi’s big red cheese have of surviving the latest DC implosion? The odds never really favored another live-action “Shazam!” but this new one will still do in a pinch.

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Film Credits

Shazam! Fury of the Gods movie review (2023) | Roger Ebert (9)

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

Rated PG-13for sequences of action and violence, and language.

130 minutes


Zachary Levias Shazam

Asher Angelas Billy Batson

Jack Dylan Grazeras Freddy Freeman

Adam Brodyas Super Hero Freddy

Grace Caroline Curreyas Mary Bromfield / Super Hero Mary

Helen Mirrenas Hespera

Lucy Liuas Kalypso

Rachel Zegleras Anthea

Meagan Goodas Super Hero Darla

Faithe Hermanas Darla Dudley

Ross Butleras Super Hero Eugene

D.J. Cotronaas Super Hero Pedro

Jovan Armandas Pedro Peña

Djimon Hounsouas Wizard

Cooper Andrewsas Victor Vasquez


  • David F. Sandberg

Writer (Shazam created by)

  • Bill Parker
  • C.C. Beck


  • Chris Morgan
  • Henry Gayden


  • Gyula Pados


  • Michel Aller


  • Christophe Beck

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Shazam! Fury of the Gods movie review (2023) | Roger Ebert (2024)


Shazam! Fury of the Gods movie review (2023) | Roger Ebert? ›

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Fury of the Gods is a 2023 American superhero film based on the DC character Shazam. Produced by New Line Cinema, DC Studios, and the Safran Company, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is the sequel to Shazam! (2019) and the 12th installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). › wiki › Shazam!_Fury_of_the_Gods
” mostly sticks to the comic book formula that the first movie poked fun at, despite another strong comedic performance from star Zachary Levi
Zachary Levi
Zachary Levi Pugh (/pjuː/ PEW; born September 29, 1980) is an American actor. He starred as Chuck Bartowski in the series Chuck, and as the title character in Shazam! and its 2023 sequel. Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S. › wiki › Zachary_Levi
and some sporadic yuks throughout. It's schtickier and less assured than the first “Shazam!” but these leftovers still reheat well enough.

Was Shazam: Fury of the Gods a good movie? ›

More unfocused and less satisfying than its predecessor, Shazam! Fury of the Gods still retains almost enough of the source material's silly charm to save the day. A sequel with plenty of action and tons of heart, Shazam! Fury of the Gods should satisfy anyone who enjoyed the first film.

What was the last movie Roger Ebert was in? ›

Because he continued reviewing movies until the end of his life, there has always been a lot of curiosity about what his last review was, and whether there might be any special meaning to what he said about it. His last review was for Terrence Malick's To the Wonder.

What was Robert Ebert's last review? ›

The last review by Ebert published during his lifetime was for the film The Host, which was published on March 27, 2013. The last review Ebert wrote was for To the Wonder, which he gave 3.5 out of 4 stars in a review for the Chicago Sun-Times. It was posthumously published on April 6, 2013.

Do I need to see Black Adam before Shazam: Fury of the Gods? ›

Fury of the Gods” takes place after “Black Adam” and the multiverse-traversing “The Flash” takes place all over the place — but is chronologically set around the same time as “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.”

Is Shazam: Fury of the Gods flop or hit? ›

After a forgettable theatrical run and lukewarm reception, it makes sense that Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023) wouldn't do well at the box office. However, what is surprising is how bad it did because it is the worst-performing movie in the history of the DC Cinematic Universe.

Is Shazam stronger then Thor? ›

In the MCU, DCEU Shazam is no match for Thor. If you mean comics Thor vs Shazam, then it's a closer fight to deal with, but Thor is still stronger. Thor can win by controlling Shazam's lightning and redirecting it to turn him back into Billy Batson. In the MCU, DCEU Shazam is no match for Thor.

When did Ebert stop drinking? ›

He once took a leave of absence from the Sun-Times, so that he could work as a screenwriter for tawdry exploitation filmmaker Russ Meyer on the 1970 movie Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. He was a recovering alcoholic who stopped drinking in 1979.

What did Roger Ebert say before he died? ›

Sometime ago, I heard that Roger Ebert's wife, Chaz, talked about Roger's last words. He died of cancer in 2013. “Life is but a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Who is the wife of Robert Ebert? ›

Chaz Ebert (born Charlie Hammel; October 15, 1952) is an American businesswoman. She is best known as the wife and widow of film critic Roger Ebert, having been married to him from 1992 until his death in 2013.

How old was Ebert when he died? ›

On April 4, 2013, one of America's best-known and most influential movie critics, Roger Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, dies at age 70 after battling cancer.

How many stars does Roger Ebert give? ›

The late great Roger Ebert acknowledged this in his review of the film, awarding it his famous and highest rating of four stars, making it the last film to receive such an honor from arguably the most influential film critic of the past fifty years.

Is there a secret scene in Shazam Fury of the Gods? ›

There are two post-credit scenes in Shazam 2: Fury of Gods, one in the middle and one at the end, both of which offer glimpses into future Shazam movies and the direction of the DC Extended Universe. As genuine post-credit scenes, it is highly recommended to stay in the theater to catch them.

Why wasn t Black Adam in Shazam fury of the gods? ›

The movie was a financial failure, much like Black Adam was a few months beforehand. Johnson reportedly fought to eliminate the connection between Shazam and Black Adam by shutting down a post-credits scene in Black Adam that showed the film's Justice Society attempting to recruit Billy Batson/Shazam.

Why didn't Black Adam appear in Shazam 2? ›

Last week, The Wrap reported that Dwayne Johnson interfered with the sequel by preventing the filmmakers from using Black Adam characters in its post-credits sequence — even though Black Adam and Shazam originated in the same series of comics.

Does Shazam 2 worth watching? ›

It's an enjoyable sequel exploring the consequences of Billy's actions at the end of "Shazam." An end-credit scene gives hope the franchise has some sort of future in James Gunn's rebooted DC universe.

What is the rating for Shazam: Fury of the Gods? ›

Was Gal Gadot actually in Shazam: Fury of the Gods? ›

But Fury of the Gods (now streaming on Max) also features another key DC figure: Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, who makes a surprise cameo near the end of the film.

Why wasn t Black Adam in Shazam: Fury of the Gods? ›

The movie was a financial failure, much like Black Adam was a few months beforehand. Johnson reportedly fought to eliminate the connection between Shazam and Black Adam by shutting down a post-credits scene in Black Adam that showed the film's Justice Society attempting to recruit Billy Batson/Shazam.


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