The sequel keeps the heart and the humor – Deadline

The Shazamily is back, and on a much larger scale, but at its core, this superhero saga is still about family, and that’s the good thing here.

In the 2019 origin story (which dates back to the 1940 comics when the then-named Captain Marvel was introduced), a group of teens in foster care, often bullied at school and going through life alone, bonded as family and as their superhero alter ego elders. This film, by Swedish director David F. Sandberg, was a great success for the DC brand at Warners and even won over critics. We could therefore naturally expect a sequel, even as this comic book brand is undergoing major changes. Employing the same mix of humor and heart, but really amplifying the superheroes so to speak, this second edition bodes well for his future in the uncertain DC Universe, at least in terms of achieving what the wayward fans await.

This time around the characters are firmly established, with all of the original stars returning except for a new set of villains to deal with. This latter group adds a nice feminine touch with Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler as the Greek goddesses, the Daughters of the Atlas, who seek to obtain the magic they believe has been stolen from them and given to them by The Wizard. (Djimon Hounsou, also returning) to 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a child who shared him with his foster family of other children and now must save them – and of course, the world – by doing simply transitioning in and out of his alter ego while shouting “Shazam!” Given that in the first movie we had the awkwardness of suddenly finding ourselves with superpowers on the sidelines, in this one they can get to work when needed, all while juggling the demands of life. being a teenager trying to cope in a world full of bullies and questions about the future.

Sandberg and his screenwriters Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan skilfully navigate here between the two worlds, that of teenagers being the most engaging. When they become thirties led by their older superheroes, this sequel really upped the ante with fire-breathing dragons and other creatures employed by those evil goddesses Hespera (Mirren), Kalypso (Liu) and the youngest member of the trio. Anthea (Zegler, of West Side Story fame). The action is really quadrupled here, as are the special effects. Of course, the ideally cast Zachary Levi once again leads the way as the older Billy, still truly a lost-at-heart teenager looking for his place in the world, and commanding superhero Freddy (Adam Brody). , Super Hero Eugene (Ross Butler), Super Hero Pedro (DJ Cotrona), Super Hero Darka (Meagan Good) and Super Hero Mary (Grace Caroline Currey, who also plays young Mary, the oldest of the teenagers). Levi, almost in the manner of Paul Rudd, really knows how to inject comedy without sacrificing the heroic antics the role demands.

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However, it was the actual teenage characters that I think made this work little more than an effects-driven, planet-saving show. Angel is quite effective again, a few years older now, as Billy Batson, the young man who feels he needs to be a leader but struggles to figure it all out, including these new powers. Scene-stealer Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman is once again irresistible, with the actor truly finding this kid’s heart. Faithe Herman (Darla), Ian Chen (Eugene), Jovan Armand (Pedro) and Currey all have their moments as youngsters too.

Mirren seems to be enjoying himself after confronting the fast furious, and now lands with dignity intact in a DC comic book movie. Liu plays it straight throughout, riding on the back of a dragon as she does every day, and Zegler is again revealed to be a glowing screen presence. And since it’s teased in the trailers, look for a lovely cameo from Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman (for the last time? I hope not) offering some welcome advice in the realm of superheroes.

Stick to the credits, of course, for some clues as to where this franchise might go, should DC’s New Gods James Gunn and Peter Safran let this ragtag crew live to see another world to save. They probably have an advocate in Safran, who produced this film as well as the first. Warner Bros. post it on Friday.

Title: Shazam! Fury of the gods
Director: David F. Sandberg
Screenwriters: Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan
Discard: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou, Adam Brody, Helen Mirren, Rachel Zegler, Lucy Liu
Distributer: New Cinema Online/Warner Bros.
Operating time: 2h10

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