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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

CineHawk review: “Shazam! Fury of the Gods”

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GRAPHIC: GABRIELLA GUZZARDO ’23 /THE HAWK

A sequel to 2019’s “Shazam!,” “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” reunites us with the age-shifting superhero and his eclectic family as they battle with the Daughters of Atlas, who will stop at nothing to retrieve a mystical artifact. Directed by David Sandberg with a screenplay by Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan, the film stars Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Djimon Hounsou, Rachel Zegler, Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren. It is currently playing exclusively in theaters.

Two years after saving the world from Dr. Thaddeus Savana, Billy Batson, played by both Angel and Levi, has continued his duties as a superhero protecting the city of Philadelphia alongside his siblings. As he struggles to cope with family drama, a powerful trio of villains calling themselves the Daughters of Atlas, played by Mirren, Liu and Zegler, seeks to claim the powers granted to the Shazam team by the Wizard, played by Hounsu.

Sandberg once again proves adept at conveying the lighthearted and sincere tone that the “Shazam” comics are known for. This is combined with a kinetic style of action that never feels tonally out of place, with the scale of danger organically escalating through the events of the narrative. No matter how large the stakes get, audiences will remain invested in seeing this tight-knit family make it through the day.

Unfortunately, this consistent quality is not shared by the screenplay.  Billy and Freddy are once again given the spotlight to grow, so the other siblings of the Shazam family remain frustratingly underdeveloped. The superb efforts of the actors are only barely able to elevate the thin writing. The third act commits one of the gravest storytelling sins by undercutting a major plot point for the sake of franchise continuation. 

“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” also exacerbates a problem that was less noticeable in its predecessor: the irreconcilable performances of Angel and Levi. While Angel uses his limited screen time to portray a soulful teenager contemplating the next chapter of his life, Levi still plays the hero as an immature preteen that is essentially a separate character from his human form. Even if his antics are entertaining, it completely destroys the illusion that these two are playing the same character.

Despite its flaws, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is a fun superhero adventure with a lot of wit and heart.

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