Shazam! Comedic Superhero Flop

Jenna Cao, Editor In Chief

Released to theaters on March 17th, 2023, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, is the latest in line of the many films distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, and is set within the DC comic book universe. Directed by David F. Sandberg, this movie sequel was set out to be another blockbuster success after grossing $367 million dollars worldwide from the first film, Shazam! However, Sandberg’s second superhero movie was not able to gain the same worldwide popularity as the first. 


Shazam! Fury of the Gods, follows young Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his family of fellow foster kids as they learn to navigate their everyday lives with the additional challenges that come with managing new adult superhero alter egos and superpowers. Alongside these everyday struggles, Shazam, Billy Batson’s alter ego (played by Zachary Levi) and his family is also forced to help save the Earth from a trio of ancient gods invoking fear and chaos in an attempt to avenge their father and take revenge on the world where their powers were once stolen from them.


While the plot of the film may seem interesting and would allow for director creative freedom, the movie felt entirely too predictable at times. The sequel follows Billy as he not only fights crime but also deals with his emotional relationships with his family. However, instead of having some unique angle on a young boy worrying about his familial relationships as he is soon to age out of the foster care system, viewers were watching the same “boy finds true family after tragic event” cliche seen a million times throughout television history. 


A lot of the emotional trauma that made hearts wrench for Billy in the first film was glossed over in the sequel. The story of a young kid abandoned by his mother, but was then later able to embrace the love of his new foster family, resonated with viewers across the world in Shazam! The sequel did a poor job of recreating the same heart wrenching and hilarious scenes that made the first film so enjoyable to viewers across the world. This film lacked all of Shazam’s likable qualities as a teen superhero in an adult’s body. 


Levi’s portrayal of a teen in an adult’s body in a superhero costume felt stranger than in the first film because of the serious nature of the scenes, which included very forced humor. Hilarious moments between Freddie, Billy’s brother (Jack Dylan Grazer), and Shazam in the second film were nearly non-existent. Throughout the movie, it almost felt like the director wanted to focus more on the serious side of the relationships of the characters rather than on their funny relationships.


In conclusion, if you are looking for the new best superhero film of the year, this may not be the movie suited for you. However, if you are looking for a movie to watch with family and friends that will offer enough commentary to keep you engaged 70% of the time (allowing room to talk and make jokes with those around you), this is a great movie to watch in theaters or to put on your TV. 


Just don’t expect the same action packed comedic film that the first film was. If you expect a lower-action, forced comedy, version of the first film, check this movie out in theaters near you!