Thursday, September 14, 2023

SHAZAM Fury of the Gods Was... Ok?


I finally got around to watching SHAZAM And Back Again.
(Apologies, Anabelle has threatened me with grievous bodily harm if I do any more "boogaloo" jokes.)

I liked the original enough to get this one on disk sight unseen, but not enough to make the effort to see it in the theater.

It was fine.

There were great moments here and there there.

The villains were fantastic. You can't really go wrong with Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu.
However, considering how many top notch bad guys DC has in general and the interesting and unique ones Captain Marvel mythology has, it's an odd choice to make new ones. 

The kids were also really amazing. The bonds between them and their combining the responsibility of being a hero with dealing with normal kid (or young adult) life were the best parts of the movie.

Here's the thing, the most exciting part of the original Shazam! was the ending where they all had powers and worked together. This film didn't deliver on that. Combining a real time jump since the last movie with the idea that they still weren't good at using their powers didn't jibe.

I guess for a character I have this much invested in, I expected more. 

The weirdest part was the kids were much better, and more believable as superheroes than the superhero adults playing kids turned into adults.  Or maybe that wasn't weird, that was the problem. As much as I normally like Zachary Levi, his and most of the other the adult superhero versions were kind of annoying, and often seemed less mature than the kid versions. (Except oddly,  Darla- the youngest, she was awesome as both versions.) Pointing out the "Wisdom of Solomon" had been missing was a nice acknowledgement, but using it all along would have been better. 
The actual kids' interactions with each other and their parents were also well done. 

Freddy (untransformed) was my favorite again, I guess because I was a superhero geek like him at that age. (And this age)  A major observation- as superhero savvy as Freddy is, there is no way he would think "Captain Everypower" was a good name. I did give them points for working in a "Junior" reference, though.

The Greek Mythology stuff and creatures were well handled and very fun to see, giving a Harryhausen vibe to the film. I would have liked more of them too.

I'm torn on the resolution. It is Billy's film, and showing his empathy and understanding being key to splitting the villains up, leading to him with a final one on one against a single villain made sense, since he's the main character. 

Then undercutting the lesson he learned and the price he paid by having a literal Deus Ex Machina. (Well... not Machina. More like Deus Ex Stage Left but close enough) erase it made it weird. 

But I also feel like it was a lost opportunity to not have the group of bad guys that work well together, and get taken down by the "Shazamily" (ugh. that name) working even better together.

I don't know.
There were some wonderful moments. 
It was overall fun.
I'm glad I bought it.

But I'm looking forward to James Gunn retooling things and hopefully getting better overall films in the DC universe I've known my whole life.

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