The Magic Begins to Fade – The Hollywood Reporter
2019’s Shazam! Provide a magical origin story for DC Comics character Billy Batson, a teenage boy who meets a wizard who gives him the power to become an adult superhero upon uttering the magic word. Now, Billy, along with his adoptive siblings, who have the same superhero self, are back in the sequel Shazam! Wrath of the Gods. But like some kids who aren’t cute anymore after they get a little older, this follow-up lacks much of the appeal of its predecessor. While the film delivers the well-done set-piece action, colorful villains, and world-saving plot mechanics expected of the comic book movie genre, some of the magic is missing.
The villains of the story are the daughters of Atlas, a trio of ancient gods who have come to Earth to retrieve magical powers taken from them by the wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou). (Why they need them, since they seem to have plenty of magical powers left, is another question.) Of course, defeating the bad guys is up to Billy aka Shazam (Asher Angel/Zachary Levi), along with his extended family/fellow superhero Freddy ( Jack Dylan Grazer / Adam Brody), Eugene (Ian Chen / Ross Butler), Darla (Fathy Herrmann / Megan Good), Pedro (Jovan Armand / DJ Cotrona) and Marie (Grace Caroline Currie) play both the regular hero and the superhero versions of her character. with a change of hairstyle).
Shazam! Wrath of the Gods
Goddesses Hespera, Calypso, and Anthea – played by Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu, and in her first film since her breakout role in Spielberg’s film. west side story, Rachel Zegler, respectively – a formidable bunch, with a wide range of mythical creatures at their disposal, including a giant wooden dragon that looks like it came from a ’60s-era Japanese monster movie. They’re a beguiling bunch too, with Anthea, the youngest who’s only 6,000 years old, posing as a new girl at school who expresses an interest in innocent Freddy, whose voice breaks every time he talks to her.
The movie opens with a sumptuous and well-executed sequence in which Shazam and his fellow superheroes rescue dozens of people from a collapsing bridge. Unfortunately, they failed to save the bridge as well, which led to them being ironically carried with the nickname “Philadelphia’s Failure”. Shazam appears to be grappling with his superhero identity as himself, taking his fears and self-doubts to a pediatrician (PJ Byrne). He also has a nightmare about a dinner date with Wonder Woman, who turns out to have the sorcerer’s head on her body.
These are the kinds of gags made by screenwriters Henry Jayden and Chris Morgan that fall flat far too often. (There is also a humorous reference in the joke to The Fast and the Furious films, several of which Morgan wrote and Mirren appeared in). There are still funny moments, to be sure, plenty of them delivered by Grazer’s entertaining, if slightly loud, Levi’s fast-paced timing and fun burglary. And the scenes depicting the budding relationship between young Freddy and Anthea, who cannot help falling in love with this insecure human despite the importance of her mission, are mesmerizing.
But as is so often the case with these kinds of movies, Shazam! Wrath of the Gods It gets boring with its over-the-top spectacle that relies, in this case, on unbelievable CGI effects that make you crave a bit of Ray Harryhausen-style stop-motion. By the time an army of unicorns is recruited by young Darla with a handful of Skittles, you’re ready to get your hands dirty. (Place Reese’s Pieces product in ET It was grainy here not so much.) Yes, Shazam The movies are aimed at a younger comic book movie audience, but this seems a lot like cartoon territory on a Saturday morning.
To their credit, or maybe not, Merrin and Leo play their evil goddess roles quite straight. (You can just imagine how often they dissolve into laughter during takes.) Unfortunately, their personalities aren’t very interesting other than their ability to wave their arms around and cause all sorts of mayhem, with one smutty wisecrack between them. And so Levi is forced to pick up the comic slack, and you can feel his efforts starting to strain.
On the plus side, Hounsou is given more work here than he was in the previous film, and his joy at letting his comic flag fly is infectious. Ziegler is as attractive here as she was as Mariah, and the young performers who play Billy’s foster siblings both literally and figuratively grow into their roles. And DC fans will be treated to a late-in-game appearance by a front-row character who, of course, won’t be named here.
Production companies: New Line Cinema, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros.
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Cast: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Megan Good, DJ Cutrona, Grace Caroline Currie, Fethiye Herrmann, Ian Chan, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, Djimon Hounsou, Rachel Ziegler, Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren
Director: David F. Sandburg
Screenwriters: Henry Jayden, Chris Morgan
Producer: Peter Safran
Executive Producers: Walter Hamada, Adam Schlagman, Richard Brenner, Dave Neustadter, Victoria Palmieri, Marcus Viscidi, Geoff Johns
Director of Photography: Gyula Pados
Production designer: Paul Kirby
Editor: Michelle Aller
Composer: Christophe Beck
Costume designer: Louise Mengenbach
Pour; Rich Delia
Rated PG-13, 2 hours 10 minutes