Shazam: Fury of the Gods was actually supposed to arrive in theaters almost a year ago. In the time since then, the fate of the DC film universe–and content universe as a whole–has been turned on its head with James Gunn and Peter Safran taking over executive duties from Walter Hameda. While not a lot is known about where Gunn and Safran want to take DC’s film universe, we do know that they are essentially burning the house that Zack Snyder and Geoff Johns built to the ground and starting (kind of) from scratch.
This brief lesson in Hollywood politics and inside baseball is all to say that Fury of the Gods has not only the pressure of a pandemic-delayed film but also the fate of the franchise on its shoulders. The question on the minds of viewers going into the theater is not just is the movie good or bad, but does Shazam: Fury of the Gods make a case for the Shazamily to live on? Kind of, but not really.
Shazam remains a bright spot of humor and heart within the dying DCEU. The second film keeps the comedy of teenagers morphing into the bodies of their super-powered, older alter-egos intact and manages to weave in a heartwarming backstory even more effectively than the first film. In the sequel, Billy (Asher Angel) is months away from turning 18 and aging out of the foster care system. Faced with the fear of being turned out of his newfound home once the state stops sending checks to his foster parents, Billy is ardently pushing for the Shazamily to fully mesh as a group and cement themselves as a family before circumstances tear them apart. Unfortunately, they each have individual interests and goals that don’t leave them with much time or desire for teambuilding or family bonding. Trying to stick together only becomes more complicated when the three daughters of the vengeful god Atlas–played by Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, and Rachel Zegler–arrive, ready to take the Shazamily’s powers to restore their decaying world after being stuck there by the Wizard (Djmon Honsou).
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