If I'm being perfectly honest, I've always personally been a Marvel-over-DC guy when it comes to recent superhero movies. But that does not mean DC hasn't given me anything I've really enjoyed, either, and the original 'Shazam!' is one of those titles. Here we finally had something that took place in the DC universe that wasn't so dark, didn't feel rushed, and above all else, knew how to have fun with what it had to work with. It was a pleasant surprise from DC for me and made me think it was the 'Ant-Man' of the DCU.
With that said, it's my opinion that a movie like 'Shazam!' should be taken mostly with a grain of salt. This is your fun superhero who relates to a kid's desire to become a superhero, and personally speaking, it should be said that I had a similar attitude toward the sequel here. However, instead of having as much fun as I had with the last one, I felt a touch let down by this. The big problem here is that it's sort of loaded with superhero clichés. So while it remains a fun title in some aspects, there's too much predictability here for those of us who have, perhaps, seen a few too many movies of the superhero genre.
First, a quick recap of 'Shazam!' While adjusting to a new foster family, 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is one day "chosen" by an ancient wizard named Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) to be his new "champion". This allows Billy to say the word "Shazam!" and turn into a grown-up superhero (Zachary Levi) while being able to maintain his identity as a kid underneath it all. Together, with his best friend Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer), they train Billy up and test his powers in order to take on the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) and, strange though it may sound the Seven Deadly Sins. 'Fury of the Gods' picks things up a few years after the first film's events.
It should be noted here that (spoiler alert) at the end of 'Shazam!', several members of Billy's foster family also gained Shazam-like powers. Aside from Freddy (Superhero Freddy played by Adam Brody), we also now have the closeted gay Pedro Peña (Jovan Armand/D.J. Cotrona); bookworm and altogether eldest, Mary Bromfield (both versions played by Grace Caroline Currey); techie, Eugene Choi (Ian Chen/Ross Butler) and the adorably sweet Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman/Meagan Good). Together, we see them all working on the balance between their superhero lives and their foster lives, all while hiding it from their foster parents, Victor and Rosa Vasquez (Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans, respectively).
In the meantime, two daughters of the Titan Atlas show up, Hespera (Helen Mirren) and Kalypso (Lucy Liu), breaking into the Acropolis Museum in Athens, and stealing the Wizard's now broken staff (which Billy broke in the first film, but that's a long story). They then take it to the now-imprisoned Wizard (who once killed their father) and force him to repair it. The sisters then plot revenge by finding a golden apple the seed to the Tree of Life. Hespera wants to plant it in the God Realm, so it can flourish, and revenge can be bringing life back to their world. However, Kalypso would rather use it as all-out revenge on humankind by planting it on Earth.
I skipped over her, but I should mention that there's a third sister as well, Anthea (Rachel Zegler) who becomes Freddy's love interest in this and is the best of the sisters. She's your typical would-be villain who sees the good in humankind. But even going beyond that, I could sit here and write about a bunch of stuff I saw here that I've recently seen elsewhere. The worst part of it was how it ended, which I won't spoil here, but it becomes highly predictable as the story unfolds. But, even if this is jumbled with a lot of those clichés, I'd still probably be able to recommend this on the almost guilty pleasure level. It still has its moments, and many of them are quite funny.
Much like with the first 'Shazam!', for the most part, this wasn't really something to be taken seriously. Although at times, it does get a little confusing about that, as it does have a few genuinely emotional moments. But even having said that those moments are still cliché, and it was hard for me to feel altogether sympathetic when I knew what would happen. And I don't tend to be that guy who "knew it all along" either. At the same time, this is definitely not something I'd say is "bad". If you can take it for the fun time it provides and have a good laugh with it, it's a decent flick. But I think all in all, its predecessor is still something much better.