‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ overview: Superhero overstays welcome
There’s an exasperating pattern in superhero motion pictures that has reached the tip of its shelf life and must be chucked. Back within the 2010s, a light-weight contact appeared contemporary and humorous, with quippy, ironic dialogue popularized by Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers” that felt revolutionary, and snarky, motor-mouthed performances from stars like Ryan Reynolds in “Deadpool” that had been downright radical. But one whiff of the “Shazam!” sequel “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” and also you’ll discover that this overly jokey strategy is properly previous its expiration date.
The D.C. film is exceedingly grating, labored and annoying, and that’s largely resulting from star Zachary Levi’s completely confounding efficiency as Shazam, the superhero alter ego of teenage Billy Batson (Asher Angel).
In 2019’s “Shazam!,” additionally directed by David F. Sandberg, there was one thing quite charming about Levi’s boyish efficiency, a grown man enjoying Superman with all of the aw shucks surprise of a youngster. In the 4 years therefore, the shtick has grown previous, or Levi is just laying it on too thick, adopting a vaguely city accent, speech peppered with drained slang (“trippin’”) and an extra-randy angle.
The greatest downside together with his efficiency is that it’s fully out of step with that of his youthful counterpart, which was additionally a difficulty within the first movie. Angel’s Billy is a extra grounded, even anxious, teenager, worrying about his massive, multicultural foster household and his position in it as he will get older. When he Shazams into Shazam, because of the magic granted him by a wizened wizard (Djimon Hounsou), the Levi model of Billy out of the blue turns into bratty, smug and mouthy.
Levi’s efficiency could be the crown jewel of nonsense swirling on the middle of “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” however the movie round it doesn’t assist issues. It is ugly, noisy and poorly written (the script is by Henry Gayden and “Fast & Furious” author Chris Morgan), which is a disgrace, as a result of director Sandberg has churned out some reliably impressed style gems, like “Lights Out” and “Annabelle: Creation.” But “Fury of the Gods,” which boasts an nearly laughably random solid (Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler play a trio of goddess sisters, the daughters of Atlas), is excruciating.
We know this movie is about in Philadelphia solely as a result of Shazam and his superhero buddies have been dubbed “The Philadelphia Fiascos,” and Liu’s Kalypso vegetation a golden apple that sprouts mythological beasts in the midst of Citizens Bank Park, the place the Phillies play. A Wolf Blitzer chyron studying, “Philadelphia trapped under strange dome,” is the one true chuckle of the film, an unintentional one at that.
Despite these references, there is no such thing as a sense of place — the motion largely takes place throughout a unusually golden-hued magic hour on prime of buildings, and there’s a portal to a green-screen nightmare legendary realm the place the goddess sisters do their evil enterprise. Visually, it’s a mess, with computer-generated imagery that appears straight out of a CW present. Everything is flat and framed in medium photographs, lacking the darkish cityscape aesthetic of the primary movie, which jived with the ethos of contemporary mythology.
The juvenile tone, deal with a family-friendly story and painfully explicated themes and classes clearly point out that this movie is geared toward a youthful viewers. But simply because this film is for youths doesn’t imply it needs to be this unhealthy. It could also be a shoddily made Skittles advert masquerading as a superhero riff, however it’s Levi’s efficiency that sends it into the stratosphere of cringe. Here’s hoping this isn’t solely Shazam’s final outing however the nail within the coffin of the smarmy superhero as properly.
Walsh is a Tribune News Service movie critic.
‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’
Rated: PG-13, for sequences of motion and violence, and language
Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Playing: Starts March 17 basically launch