For our column “Superhero’s Myth” it’s time to talk about the sequel to the 2019 film Shazam! – Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Directed by Swedish director David F. Sandberg, the film was released in 2023.
As the twelfth film in the DC Extended Universe, Zachary Levi portrays the DC Comics superhero, who represents the comedic and endearing side of the dark DCEU.
Returning alongside the protagonist are all the characters from the “Shazamily,” including the young actor who plays Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his adoptive siblings in both their young and adult forms, played by Jack Dylan Grazer, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Meagan Good, Grace Caroline Currey, Jovan Armand, D. J. Cotrona, Faithe Herman, and Djimon Hounsou. The cast also includes Lucy Liu, Rachel Zegler, and Helen Mirren.
Shazam. Fury of Gods – Plot
Two years after Thaddeus Sivana’s defeat, Hespera and Kalypso, two of the daughters of the Titan Atlas, break into the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece to steal the broken staff of the Wizard. They bring the staff to the imprisoned Wizard in the Realm of the Gods, forcing him to repair it and activate its powers.
In Philadelphia, Billy Batson and his “Shazamily” of adopted siblings save people on the collapsing Benjamin Franklin Bridge, but are heavily criticized for their methods. The group is slowly drifting apart due to their growth and personal interests.
Billy is afraid of having to leave the Vasquez family once he turns 18, as he will be out of the foster care system.
That night, in a dream, the Wizard warns Billy of the arrival of Hespera and Kalypso. Billy and the Shazamily research the daughters of Atlas, and Pedro leads them to a secret library in the Rock of Eternity, where they meet a sentient pen named “Steve,” who has all the answers to their questions.
The group discovers the books related to the goddesses and learns that the Wizard’s staff was forged by Atlas himself from a branch of the Tree of Life. It has the power to absorb and infuse the powers of the gods.
As previously mentioned, this film centers around the endearing god trapped in the body of a teenager and his loved ones. It represents the lighthearted, genuine, and charming side of DC. It draws some parallels with Marvel’s character Captain Marvel, but only in name, and it’s clear that the character’s true name is Shazam!
In addition to impressive visual effects, well-placed comedy, and great direction, I appreciate the characterization of the characters based on a diverse cast. The villains, played by great actresses, should not be underestimated. There’s a well-paced screenplay that’s suitable for the whole family and offers interesting perspectives and reflections.
The focal point of the story is protagonist Billy Batson’s desire to do good and work as a team, which showcases his character development compared to the first film.
However, even though this seems like a purely positive note, we see the flip side of the coin. It’s all based on deep fears, clarified by his desperate desire not to isolate himself or anyone else. I think this is an excellent focus on the emotional condition of those who grow up without a stable family.
Billy seems to have found his balance between superpowers, loving parents, and many siblings who make him feel at home, but deep down, he is still a boy who firmly seeks his roots and a sense of belonging to a family unit.
In conclusion, amidst moments of self-doubt where he questions his own worthiness to carry the burden of divinity and save his world, and hormonal struggles that see him indulging in fantasies about Wonder Woman (aka Gal Gadot, who wouldn’t?), he ultimately proves himself as a hero and a true God.
I found the cameo of a well-known superhero in the finale to be epic, which you can imagine, but I won’t spoil it for you.
Overall, I enjoyed the film and had fun watching it. Given the upheavals in the DC cinematic universe, I would be disappointed not to see a third Shazam episode, but it seems we will have to get used to the shocking discontinuity of this film series.