Shazam: Fury of the Gods is the 2023 film directed by David F. Sandberg and written by Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan. This sequel to the 2019 superhero film based on the DC character is miles away from its surprisingly charming and heart-warming predecessor. Whereas the first film assembled an engaging character study and origin story, Shazam: Fury of the Gods falls squarely into the endless list of forgettable superhero sequels, in a time when this genre already appears to be on its last leg. This latest film is visually frenetic and narratively thin, shedding most of the interesting themes of the first movie, and instead settling for a far more unoriginal and rehashed plot and style. Shazam: Fury of the Gods isn’t unwatchable; there is still some buoyant energy left over here, but it’s clear to see the script is clunky and weightless. Director David F. Sandberg displays moments of creativity and playfulness but it’s in service of a film that has very little narrative weight. Compare it to the latest superhero offering, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and it’s a masterpiece. That’s hardly a starry recommendation though.
The performances in Shazam: Fury of the Gods are sometimes considerably poor, due in part to some of the odd casting choices of the film. Namely, the trio of villains, played by Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren, and Rachel Zegler don’t work well with each other, and their characters are about as paper-thin as it gets. Therefore, the villains’ threat and menace feels generally watered down and particularly weightless for a superhero film. Zachary Levi is passable as titular hero Shazam, but there isn’t much for him to work with, apart from trying to keep up with the energy of a seventeen-year-old alter-ego.
Shazam: Fury of the Gods is not as soulless as some other recent big-budget studio releases but it’s hardly an inventive or particularly interesting endeavor. The entirety of the film feels recycled and frenzied, with a screenplay that never develops its characters or themes in a unique or engaging way. Action sequences bleed into each other with little to differentiate one from the other, and mostly the film suffers from a lack of tension, due to the very thin plot. Shazam: Fury of the Gods is another unimpressive comic book film that feels particularly irrelevant in the face of creative overhaul at DC.