Film & TV

Film Review: Shazam! Fury of the Gods

The latest rollicking adventure from the DC comics world, features an extraordinary cast.

Great snippets of humour, with much of the original cast and crew. Definitely welcomed the newcomers!
4

Great start for the year with DC film’s first release of 2023, Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

With a four year wait since its predecessor, Shazam!, has once again been directed by David F. Sandberg, with screenplay by Henry Gayden. All the original superheroes have returned, with Zachary Levi (adult) and Asher Angel (child) as Billy Batson, Adam Brody (adult) and Jack Grazer (child) as Freddy, D. J. Cotrona (adult) and Jovan Armand (child) as Pedro, Meagan Good (adult) and Faithe Herman (child) as Darla, Ross Butler (adult) and Ian Chen (child) as Eugene, and Grace Fulton as Mary (adult and child). Foster parents Rosa (Marta Milans) and Victor (Cooper Andrews) are also back, as is Djimon Hounsou as the wizard.

With such a large cast it is great to refresh your memory if you can, to enhance your enjoyment and remember all of the backstory. Particularly this is useful with the subplots outside of the main storyline. The fight this time is with the fury of the Gods and comes in the form of the newcomers, the daughters of Atlas – Hespera (Helen Mirren), Kalypso (Lucy Liu), and Anthea (Rachel Zegler). They have come to retrieve the staff, their magical powers, and the seed of life.

The three sisters are at odds with each other, evident in the bursting opening scene as Hespera and Kalypso retrieve the staff from the museum. However, this is not as predictable as it sounds. The plot does little to fully cover their full backstory emotionally, with most of it covered only in one particular scene where Hespera and Billy have an exchange, with Billy typically and naively trying to settle things without violence. Levi as the immature and ever hopeful adult Billy makes for much of the humour throughout the film, with comments by or about him. His consistency in character and demeanour makes for a good performance.

In fact, most of the characters were well portrayed. Mirren gave her usual absorbing depiction of a character, as it seems she can do no wrong in whichever role she takes on. Lucy Liu was also captivating, and Grazer as Freddy (who also played quite a large part in this film’s story), was equally enjoyable. The emotional aspect of the superhero characters is reasonably complex, bringing in the emotions of the Superhero team, and the differing representations of what is a family, and what values are important. This contrasts with the values of the three sisters. Unlike the three sisters of Atlas, they are also struggling in other ways, as they trying to integrate a normal everyday life into a superhero world. Something the sisters have never needed to address.

The use of lighting in scenes highlighted to the audience what to focus on or enhanced the meaning of particular objects. This quite was a useful animation effect and worth noting. The monsters in this film were not overly colourful, and would suit most audiences, bearing in mind that the sophisticated imagery of the monsters may not suit a less mature audience. To fully immerse yourself in Shazam! Fury of the Gods, it is worth seeing on the bigger screen.

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