Review Round Up: Shazam! Fury of the Gods

We take a look at what critics have had to say about the sequel to the 2019 film.

The Guardian: *** “This new Shazam film is cordial, with a puppyish good nature and an awareness of its own silliness; it gestures towards diversity with a gay character (although we might not stop at one as the Shazam franchise develops). There are some nice lines here and Mirren, Liu and Djimon Hounsou (as the ancient wizard) have some fun with their roles – albeit while looking as if the subject of what they’re having for supper after the day’s shooting isn’t far from their minds. I have to say that we don’t entirely break free of the superhero-movie template, but Shazam two has a just-out-of-the-fridge orange juice taste that makes it likable.”

Roger Ebert: ** 1/2 “Most of the big emotional moments lack cornball vigor, though Levi still takes all the extra room he’s given to create a goofy character who, like an actual teenager, doesn’t have a filter or an indoor voice. This makes up for some things, especially in a movie where the big action scenes mostly sit there, and the gags need to be both sped up and punched up. You have to want to hang out with the Philly Fiascos, and Levi’s arguably the best combination of main character and lead performer in a recent superhero pic. It’s too bad there are several other characters in this movie.”

The Independent: ** “Director David F Sandberg, and his writers Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan, haven’t been given the room – or simply don’t care enough – to actually establish how a Shazam! film should look and move.”

Empire: *** ” Despite the information overload and occasionally more-miss-than-hit comedy, there are enough laughs, cool comic-book moments and heartfelt performances to make Fury Of The Gods a fun, frivolous watch.” 

Den of Geek: *** 1/2 “Sandberg and his team also come up with some impressive set pieces (including an opening scene on a collapsing bridge) and visuals that, while not necessarily eye-popping, are a lot more consistent and effective than the work we’ve seen lately from that other superhero universe.” “Part of the challenge here is conceptual. Origin stories aren’t always exciting, but the first Shazam! generated suspense and humor from Billy’s discovery of his powers and his family of fellow foster children’s eventual discovery of theirs. Now, they’re just another superhero team, going about saving Philadelphians from assorted menaces, and the movie has gone from being a kids’ wish-fulfilment fantasy to just another effects-smothered action flick.”

Variety: “The villains are defeated, the mythology is fulfilled, but the real story here is that a superhero saga that seemed to hold out possibilities of lifesize quirkiness and delight winds up getting squashed into the shape of any other superhero franchise. The force that does that is the true power that needs to be defeated.”

Daily Express: “It’s all great fun, the special effect gleam, and the humour and heart remain almost untarnished. There is definitely potential for more but the very late arrival of Wonder Woman, I fear, signals the future of this franchise.”

iNews: ** “The film is amiable enough in its own goofy way. It flickers into life now and again but ultimately lacks the spark and energy of the best DC superhero pictures.”

Evening Standard: ** “The obstacle that confronts director David F Sandberg is that the script in the sequel is not as spry as that of the first installment. In what’s technically the 12th movie in the DCEU (DC Extended Universe), despite some spectacular CGI (Harry Potter-ish libraries; alt-unicorns; a city-squishing dragon), the sense of wonder has gone.”

The Upcoming: **** “However, this sequel at least understands that there’s a fun sandpit to play in for the central family, who all continue to enjoy riffing off each other and elevating a lot of expositional dialogue through endearing performances. Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer and Adam Brody) is the highlight, as his immediate crush on Zegler’s character taps into the heart of male coming-of-age and how to process such feelings. But the true MVP of this film is Djimon Honsou, who is hysterical as the last surviving member of the Council of Wizards. He slices through the archetype of the wise old mentor with humour and style. It’s a huge credit to director David F Sandberg that he knows sequels don’t always need to be more serious and sombre – sometimes it works to simply keep things sweet.”

Digital Spy: ** “Within Shazam! Fury of the Gods is an enjoyable, earnest buddy-comedy starring Jack Dylan Grazer and Djimon Hounsou. Unfortunately, you have to watch the rest of Shazam! Fury of the Gods to see it.”

The Telegraph: ** “Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu are unlucky to be dragged into Fury of the Gods, a sequel to Shazam! that’s light on ideas and heavy on inanity.”

The film is out in cinemas now.

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