Shazam! Fury of the Gods Review - IGN (2024)

The joyful teenage energy 2019’s Shazam! brought to DC’s cinematic world of heroes was a breath of fresh air next to the dark grittiness of Zach Snyder’s versions of the Justice League characters. However, it was Billy Batson’s soulful search for his biological family – and realization that the family he’d longed for was in front of him all along – which helped it achieve more staying power than a lot of other movies in this genre. The sequel, Fury of the Gods, is regrettably missing some of that heart. This time we see the Shazamily putting their newfound abilities to the test against a trio of deadly deities set on overrunning Earth, and though the Greek myth iconography the villains bring to the table gives all involved a significantly increased Pandora’s toy box to play with, the movie stumbles on some storytelling basics that leave the sequel feeling less powerful than the first.

Taken collectively, the evil Daughters of Atlas represent a lateral move for the antagonist role in Shazam’s story. In the original, Mark Strong’s Dr. Sivanna didn’t have much of a personality to speak of, but his role as a power-hungry foil for Billy’s (Asher Angel) insecurities kept the personal stakes in focus throughout. By contrast, the Daughters’ titanic grudge against the Shazamily – and the promethean wizard (Djimon Hounsou) who empowered them – doesn’t have the same clean hook. As a result, their plan to overtake Billy’s realm feels overcomplicated for this superhero movie, and its dependency on fetch quests and games of keepaway gets old quickly. All of that’s before even taking into account that their ultimate plan very closely retreads one we’ve already seen in another DC film.

The broad strokes of that action may feel familiar, but to his credit director David F. Sandberg excels at weaving in fun moments to give this story a little more identity. Pausing to allow the foster siblings the time to speak up about how, even in the face of the world-ending threat the Daughters bring to Philadelphia, they’re still pretty psyched they get to fight a dragon as a result adds personality to what might otherwise have been a dry rehash.

What the Daughters lack in compellingly communicated motivation they make up for in screen presence. They’re led by Hespera, and Helen Mirren’s near-total command of her character’s function as not just the lead villain, but as a steely confident straight woman to the goofy Shazamily’s antics is delightful. Her performance left me wishing Fury of the Gods had found more time to use those good, good Mirren vibes to better sell the Daughters’ personal investment in the conflict.

Her sister Kalypso (Lucy Liu) feels like a redundancy for Hespera, though her set of powers does lead to some of Fury of the Gods’ most memorable action moments – including a creepy opening sequence which hearkens back to the boardroom scene from the first film. But with Hespera representing the Daughters in most conversations, Kalypso feels woefully underwritten and leaves Liu’s god with nothing but fury to work with. Rachel Zegler’s Anthea fares better as the voice of reason, and her steadfastness and charm are welcome in situations involving both her more hot-headed sisters and Billy’s perpetually off-the-wall best bud, Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer).

Their powersets and godly lineage create opportunities for Sandberg to scale up the spectacle, but the Shazamily’s imaginative solutions to countering the Daughters keep that action grounded in the superhero wish fulfillment that serves as the backbone of the series. Moments where the kids come up with goofy solves for Serious Problems are gratifying, but Fury of the Gods’ action starts to feel a little tiresome going into the third act, where samey mythological creatures are dropped in to essentially distract the heroes who get less screen time while Shazam gets to do the monologuing with the villains. There’s little other than the kids’ boundless enthusiasm for crimefighting differentiating Shazam’s action from countless other superhero movies, and the farther the action strays from that conceit, the more forgettable it winds up.

For his part, Freddy remains a chaotic ball of anxiety, nerdiness, and wit, and his increased screen time here is an obvious byproduct of a classic sequel gambit: cede time that might’ve been better used on the protagonist’s story to highlight a character that popped unexpectedly hard with fans last time. Grazer scores most of Fury of the Gods’ funniest moments and maintains that momentum through scenes which require him to realistically convey the terror that a kid may feel if faced with the judgment of gods. It’s Grazer’s horrified reaction to an especially callous act of violence inflicted on a friend that grounds the Daughters’ malice in something recognizable after a first act which mostly sees them operating in the background.

There’s not much to dislike about Grazer’s performance in a vacuum, but it’s what Fury of the Goes is missing as a result of its focus on him that leaves Freddy’s exuberance a double-edged sword. There is no shortage of action scenes or big laughs, but with a whopping six Shaziblings (you can have that, WB), three Daughters of Atlas, two foster parents, a wizard, a dragon, and a sentient pen all in play, it often feels like there’s very little time for Billy’s major (and very ironic) struggle here: he’s terrified he’ll be abandoned all over again once he turns 18.

Fury of the Gods tells its own story on its own terms.

Angel, who’s already sharing a significant part of Billy’s screen time with Zachary Levi, feels stranded by the script. When Billy’s having fun and being playful it’s usually when he’s in Shazam form, which leaves Angel the short stick of having to mostly convey the character’s melancholy. The resolution of Billy’s arc feels wholly unsatisfying, both because of Angel’s limited involvement in conveying it and in how quickly it’s all tied up. In life, a misunderstanding being cleared up with a short, reassuring conversation can be cathartic… in a movie, however, a character’s entire emotional arc being resolved the same way is frustrating.

As for Levi’s embodiment of Shazam, the word that rings loudest here is “consistent.” The boyishness of Billy Batson still comes through clear in Levi’s performance, but his occasional melancholy self-doubt isn’t much of a substitute for the comedic goldmine of Billy learning how to be both an adult and a superhero last time. The rest of the Shazamily – those with and without powers – fall into predictable supporting positions, with little to contribute other than character-non-specific quippery. Meagan Good’s adult iteration of youngest sibling Darla is the one exception, benefitting from the wide age gap between Darla’s child and superhero forms.

Though the Shazam sequel can’t sustain the emotional earnestness of its predecessor, it feels unfair not to acknowledge and appreciate that its shortcomings are at least unencumbered by the heavy world-building expected of superhero franchise entries these days. Even in the face of James Gunn and Peter Safran’s impending DCU reboot, Fury of the Gods tells its own story on its own terms, and the missteps it makes along the way at least feel part and parcel with the efforts of a team trying to forge their own path – both in front of and behind the camera. That’s not to say there aren’t references to the larger DC world to be found, just that they’re obviously not the point of this movie existing in the first place.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods Review - IGN (2024)


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.

Was Shazam Fury of the Gods good? ›

If you want to see a fun, light film with exciting action and a wholesome family theme, see Shazam! Fury of Gods in theaters. It is one of the year's best popcorn films.

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.

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.”

Why did people not like Shazam Fury of the Gods? ›

Fury of the Gods disappointed with its derivative plot, lackluster villains, and underdeveloped characters, failing to match its charming predecessor.

Is Shazam 3 cancelled? ›

If a Shazam 3 does happen, it is likely several years away as DC Studios currently has other projects in motion and only releases two live-action movies per year. A 2028 release date is possible unless there are changes to the production schedule.

Why wasn't Gal Gadot in Shazam 2? ›

Gal Gadot's cameo as Wonder Woman in Shazam! Fury of the Gods suffered massively due to conflicts with both her schedule and Warner Bros. ' While Gadot's time as Wonder Woman is almost certainly at an end, she made one final appearance as the Amazonian warrior in the DCU's most recent theatrical release, Shazam 2.

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.

Is Shazam stronger than Superman? ›

Shazam is in a similar strength class as Superman, but he can also command lightning. Shazam's magical powers give him a clear advantage over Superman whenever they meet in battle. The two heroes have fought several times, and Shazam almost always takes the win unless outside forces are at play.

Who is the worm at the end of Shazam Fury of the Gods? ›

Mister Mind appears in Lego DC: Shazam!: Magic and Monsters, voiced again by Greg Ellis. This version is the leader of the Monster Society of Evil who seeks to metamorphose into a giant moth. Mister Mind appears in the post-credits scene of the DCEU film Shazam! Fury of the Gods, voiced again by Sandberg.

Why was Wonder Woman at the end of Shazam? ›

Summoned by a letter Billy sent earlier, Wonder Woman appears in the godly realm to revive the magic found within the Staff of the Gods - as the world's only remaining god, she's the only one who can do it. Though she doesn't help out during the final battle, Wonder Woman does provide Shazam!

Did Wonder Woman date Shazam? ›

But what's the comic book connection between Wonder Woman and Shazam? Is there a comic book reference point for the movie's joke about Shazam and Wonder Woman dating? The short answer is… not really, no.

Why can Black Adam say Shazam? ›

Black Adam and Shazam both get their powers from the same Council of Wizards, which explains why Teth-Adam says "Shazam!" to power up. Unlike Billy Batson, though, Black Adam draws his powers from the Egyptian gods: Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, and Mehen.

Why is Black Adam not 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.

Who is the 7th Shazam? ›

After spending a decade in prison, C.C. returns to Philadelphia to find Billy at the Vazquezes' foster home. When he is attacked by Black Adam and the Seven Deadly Sins, Billy shares his Shazam powers with his father, making him the prophesied seventh and final member of the Shazam Family.

Did Shazam 2 lose money? ›

The film received mixed reviews from critics, who considered it inferior to its predecessor. It was also a box-office bomb, grossing $134 million worldwide against a production budget of $110–125 million.

Is Shazam 1 hit or flop? ›

But Shazam! was an unqualified hit, earning a higher rate-of-return than (deep breath) Man of Steel ($668 million/$225 million), Batman v Superman ($873 million/$250 million), Justice League ($656 million/$300 million), Ant-Man ($519 million/$130 million) and The Wolverine ($412 million/$120 million).

Why didn't Shazam 2 do well? ›

Faulty Marketing

So, many people believed that they had already seen too much, and could wait for its streaming release. On top of that, Zachary Levi also believes that the marketing campaign wasn't clear on the fact that this was a “Family Movie.” So, most families didn't show up to support the movie either.

Why did Black Adam flop? ›

The Dwayne Johnson-led film was released in October 2022 to middling critical reception. The overblown action sequences, lack of a tight script, thin story, and poor character development meant that Black Adam was a disappointment for those excited to see the so-called shift in the hierarchy of the DCEU's power.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Barbera Armstrong

Last Updated:

Views: 5343

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Barbera Armstrong

Birthday: 1992-09-12

Address: Suite 993 99852 Daugherty Causeway, Ritchiehaven, VT 49630

Phone: +5026838435397

Job: National Engineer

Hobby: Listening to music, Board games, Photography, Ice skating, LARPing, Kite flying, Rugby

Introduction: My name is Barbera Armstrong, I am a lovely, delightful, cooperative, funny, enchanting, vivacious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.