At this point, it’s probably best just to see The Flash movie in June and hope what comes after in the new DCU is better.
Set two years after the original film’s conclusion, Shazam! Fury of the Gods sees the Shazam Family — consisting of OG member Billy Batson (Asher Angel/Zachary Levi) and his fellow foster siblings Freddy (Jack Dylan Geazer/Adam Brody), Mary (Grace Caroline Currey), Eugene (Ian Chen/Ross Butler), Pedro (Jovan Armand/D.J. Cotrona), and Darla (Faithe Herman/Meagan Good) — as they take on literal gods in the form of the daughters of Atlas, Kalypso (Lucy Liu)and Hespera (Helen Mirren). Wanting revenge on those that hold the power of Shazam, Kalypso and Hespera make it their mission to take Billy and his family down at all costs, something that ends up being far easier to accomplish considering the “Shazamily” is already drifting apart as heroes, and more importantly, individuals. Trying to hold his family together despite the stacked odds, Billy is swept up in another superhero story that he’s not entirely sure he’ll make it out of, a situation made worse by the thought that his family might not survive this harrowing ordeal either.
Compared to the other Shazam-related DCEU movie, Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is an ever so slightly better-made film (though I think I liked the former a bit more based on its over-the-top action alone), mostly attributed to the fact that this one has that all-important element every movie should strive for: character development. Whether it be Billy wrestling with the fact that he’ll soon be aging out of his foster home, Mary wanting more in life outside of superheroing, or the fact that every member of the Shazam Family is starting to feel like they need to be their own person for a time, the beating heart that made the original movie so good is present and accounted for, despite it getting buried under a thick layer of “four-quadrant” scripting that ends up doing the film no favors.
Stuffed with a fair bit more action than its predecessor, Shazam! Fury of the Gods isn’t in the wrong for leaning into these scenes when they come about, it’s just that almost everything we see here isn’t as fresh or exciting as the first film almost by default, as its unfocused narrative isn’t able to blend all of its elements as well as it could have and should have, considering the original film did both of these things seemingly without trying. Throw in the complete and total uncertainty surrounding what the new DCU will look like after this film and the feeling that this movie doesn’t matter on a large or even small scale bogs down an experience that was already below average.
This movie was never going to be better than the first Shazam! for more than a few reasons, with its fun action scenes and always reliable superhero shenanigans simply not being enough to make this film as good as it was clearly striving to be. Who knows what will happen when the transition from the DCEU to the DCU is complete, but after seeing Shazam! Fury of the Gods, I’m gonna need better-executed films for any character that’s still left standing to get one.