Amusement parks for the brains, museums apparently are. Shazam: Fury of the Gods opens with that in what may as well be a loose knock to the superhero discourse around amusement parks. Amusement parks are fun. Shazam: Fury of the Gods is not. Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu collect their legacy paychecks and find themselves in an embarrassing opening scene that cannot convey much carnage. Seeing Zachary Levi consider the actions of Shazam as fraudulent, a bout of imposter syndrome, gives Shazam: Fury of the Gods some accidental, contemporary presence. The superhero genre is a failure in itself. Much of this film dedicates itself to subversion. Of what? David F. Sandberg is yet to figure that out as his muddled superhero antics push the same few establishing shots and orchestral cycles every other piece has.
Bonnie Tyler record scratch moments to summon the presence of heroes is about as dumb as it gets. “No way, did I just save you listening to this song.” As though a reference enough were not enough, it needs to be addressed also so that every mouth breather and passer-by understands the point of its inclusion. One of many examples of the hand-holding desperation present in Shazam: Fury of the Gods. Callbacks and scene-for-scene repetition of a feature that released just four years ago is present and frequent. It is also hollow and a striking example of just how shallow this new turn for the DC Extended Universe is. Predictable and offensively so, mindless grey sludge for those that need the repetition of joke patterns and predictable references that rest on a legacy they do not have.
Soulless lair constructions and a cast of actors who are thoroughly struggling to maintain the belief needed in a film this dull. They are nothing more than bingo card slots for what is expected of Shazam as a formulaic, drab explosion. Liu and Mirren are marketing structures for a film in desperate need of real star power. Djimon Hounsou and Mark Strong deserve more than a generic character and a snub from the credits. Pathetic writing is the key to this one. Expected is one thing, but this is written as most of the other DC Universe features. Years behind where they want to be and never close to catching up with its insipid one-liners and failure to understand that Titans are the children of Gods and not Gods themselves. Still, a particular mythological detail like that is no matter to a film as error-ridden and business-friendly as this.
Lacking the bite of a good movie and the benchline markers of a passable one, Shazam: Fury of the Gods is an embarrassing state of emptiness. Levi is still unenjoyable in a lead role which shows his lack of charisma and his inability to shift a storyline that step further. Shazam: Fury of the Gods is nowhere close to being better than the credits of John Wick 4, Zachary, let alone the movie itself. For all his TikTok clip tears, nothing within this messy residual is worth seeing. Outdated, outmoded and outclassed by the other features released at the same time as this, Levi and Sandberg present a step-by-step rendition of scenes and characters written with marketability in mind. Generic villains, soulless direction and no detail that could ever convince of its popcorn-ready movie-going fun. Not a drop of decency throughout this, a film that plays to its dumbed-down expectations and droops lower and lower as they march on to those inevitably cold and grey final fights.