‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ Movie and 4K/Blu-ray Review
The following review was written by Ultimate Rabbit Correspondent, Tony Farinella.
Your enjoyment level for “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” will depend on how funny or clever you find its main protagonist, played by Zachary Levi. Personally speaking, he is an actor I’ve never been a fan of, especially in these films. I found his performance incredibly irritating, silly and annoying. I understand he’s trying to portray a silly high schooler as an adult who is learning how to be mature and deal with his new superpowers. However, I just found his performance to be very grating after a while. He’s very over the top. I’m all for a superhero film where they have some fun as it doesn’t have to be so dark and dreary throughout. There is room for every type of superhero film out there, and I fully respect and get that. However, he is not the right actor for balancing the goofy scenes along with the more serious action sequences.
Our film opens up in a museum in Athens, Greece where two of the three daughters of the Titan Atlas break in to steal the Wizard’s broken staff from the previous film. Billy Batson (Zachary Levi) is trying to keep his family together as he’s about to turn eighteen and is worried he will be thrown out of the house as his foster parents, Victor and Rosa Vasquez (Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans), are struggling to keep it all together financially. He’s also suffering from a case of imposter syndrome. In essence, he’s insecure and also struggling to figure out his place in the world. Can he keep his “Shazamily” of foster siblings together, as they are maturing and developing their own interests and unique personalities?
However, he has to act fast as two of the daughters of the Titan Atlas, played by Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu, have captured his brother Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) along with a newly repaired Wizard staff. Early on, they are also dealing with controversy for their crime fighting methods in Philadelphia. In fact, they are now known as The Philly Fiascos thanks to some of their mishaps, even though their hearts were in the right place. As mentioned previously, the family has a lot on its mind. For Freddy Freeman, before he was captured, he had a crush on a girl named Anne, played by Rachel Zegler. Pedro Peña (Jovan Armand) is keeping a secret he’s not sure he’s ready to share with the world quite yet.
Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman) is trying to accept growing up while still being a kid at heart. Eugene Choi (Ian Chen) is preoccupied, and Mary Bromfield (Grace Caroline Currey) wants to get into college and is focusing on her studies. They must come together as a family and put their individual interests aside in order to conquer The Three Daughters of the Titan Atlas. They work better when they are together, but it is important they get on the same page and focus on the task at hand. From here on out, we get a lot of explosions, special effects, bad jokes, and a big finale. The film was never boring and it kept my attention for its over two-hour running time. However, it just fell flat for me because of Levi’s performance and just the fact that the film lost its sense of direction near the end and went all over the map.
I’m completely aware that sequels are part of Hollywood when a film is successful, especially when we are talking about a superhero film. People will flock to them. There is a built-in audience already. The “Shazam!” films have been directed by David F. Sandberg, and I was a huge fan of his previous two films: “Lights Out” and “Annabelle: Creation.” The film looks really good, as he has a keen visual sense. However, I didn’t feel the heart of the film as much as I would have liked, and it’s a big problem here. I liked it better than the first one, but when the lead actor is such a ham on screen and so phony and fake with his line readings and performance, it really takes you out of the story. I liked everyone else and thought they did a really good job, but once it becomes a bloated mess and Billy Batson turns into a one-line machine, the film just didn’t work for me. If you liked the first one, you will like the second one. If you didn’t, there isn’t anything here that is going to change your mind or convert you to this character and this franchise.
* * out of * * * *
4K Info: “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is released on a two-disc 4K and Blu-ray combo pack from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment. It has a running time of 130 minutes and is rated PG-13 for sequences of action, violence and language. The film comes with a digital copy to be redeemed as well.
Video Info: We are treated to a beautiful Dolby Vision transfer here that really stands out and pops. The film looks beautiful on 4K, especially the action sequences. Even though they can be overdone and unnecessary at times, I can admit when they look beautiful. My issue is more of the fact they don’t hold as much weight when the emotional heart of the film isn’t present. The darks set the mood when it needs to, and the film is also filled with color and light when it calls for it.
Audio Info: The Dolby Atmos track is also really, really good here. With a film that relies heavily on action, you worry about the film being so loud that it takes you out of the film. Here, thanks to the Dolby Atmos track, it’s never too loud or soft. It’s perfect throughout the entire duration of the film.
SHAZAM! Let’s Make a Sequel – featurette
The Rock of Eternity: Decked Out – featurette
The Shazamily Reunion – featurette
The Zac Effect – featurette
The Sisterhood of the Daughters of Atlas – featurette
Pay By Play: Scene Breakdown – featurettes
Ben Franklin bridge collapse
Rooftop battle of the gods
Unicorn ride in Philadelphia
Epic showdown at the baseball stadium
The Mythology of Shazam! – featurette
Director’s Audio Commentary with David F. Sandberg
Deleted Scenes, Alternate & Extended Scenes
Should You Buy It?
As a 4K disc, it looks and sounds out of this world. I’m a big fan of what Warner Brothers does with its 4K releases. They really place a high importance on giving their big screen movies a proper release on 4K with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. There are also a lot of special features here, so if you enjoy “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” you will enjoy this disc and its special features. If I’m grading this movie overall, it’s just average. It was watchable and entertaining at times, but it’s a film I have no interest in rewatching, and I don’t think it will have great repeat value. There are rare moments where the heart of the film is on display, and I liked those moments. The main struggle here is the balance between comedy, action and drama. The film doesn’t quite pull this task off successfully during its over two-hour running time. When it does, it’s good fun. When it doesn’t, it’s very bland and uninteresting. This is a film in search of a tone. If you are a fan of this franchise, you will be happy with the 4K release. If you are watching this for the first time or didn’t enjoy the first one, this sequel is not going to win you over.
**Disclaimer** I received a copy of this film from Warner Brothers to review for free. The opinions and statements in the review are mine and mine alone.