Genre: Action/Comics
Director: David F. Sandberg
Cast: Zachary Levi, Dame Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, Asher Angel, Rachel Zegler, Jack Dylan Grazer
Runtime: 2 hr 11 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence)
Released By: Warner Bros
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 16 March 2023

Synopsis: Bestowed with the powers of the gods, Billy Batson and his fellow foster kids are still learning how to juggle teenage life with having adult Super Hero alter-egos. But when the Daughters of Atlas, a vengeful trio of ancient gods, arrive on Earth in search of the magic stolen from them long ago, Billy—aka Shazam—and his family are thrust into a battle for their superpowers, their lives, and the fate of their world. After a catastrophic crash on an unknown planet, pilot Mills (Adam Driver) quickly discovers he’s actually stranded on Earth…65 million years ago. Now, with only one chance at rescue, Mills and the only other survivor, Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), must make their way across an unknown terrain riddled with dangerous prehistoric creatures in an epic fight to survive. 

Movie Review:

There was a time when superhero movies were all the rage. The world was introduced to two major franchises in the late 2000s - the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe in the late. Wiewers would flock to the cinemas to cheer their superheroes with the countless popcorn flicks produced by Marvel Studios and DC Studios. But things have changed. And this sequel to the very delightful Shazam! (2019) seems to be a casualty of superhero fatigue, plus a few other unfortunate occurrences happening in showbiz.

David F Sandberg returns to direct the sequel, which sees the protagonist Billy Batson / Shazam (Asher Angel / Zachary Levi) and his foster siblings fight the daughters of Atlas, who were, of course, trying to destroy the world. The "Shazamily" includes the physically disabled Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer / Adam Brody), the clever Mary Bromfield (Grace Caroline Currey), the kind hearted Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman / Meagan Good), the video gamer Eugene Choi (Ian Chen / Ross Butler), and the shy Pedro Pena (Jovan Armand / D J Cotrona). If you don’t already know, the characters have their regular form, as well as their respective adult superhero forms. And with so many characters, you can expect unequal focus on character development.

Besides Billy, the attention is otherwise on Freddy. Dylan Grazer (whom you may remember from Andy Muschietti’s rendition of Stephen King’s It) delivers a commendable performance as the schoolboy trying to fit in, and giving it his all to impress a new girl in school. This new girl is Athena / Anne (Rachel Zegler from Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story), who turns out to be with the baddies. The sweet girl is one of the daughters of Atlas, and her older sisters Kalypso (Lucy Liu) and Hespera (Helen Mirren) are devising a plan to revive their lost realm. Djimon Hounsou also returns as the last surviving member of the Council of Wizards, and is as amusing as ever.

Like the first movie, this 130 minute sequel plays off an almost silly concept and it mostly works. Levi tries his very best to make us chuckle, and one really can’t fault his good naturedness. His Shazam is a likeable dude, and he doesn’t harbour any grand ambitions or godly plans. He’s the average guy trying to enjoy his time as a superhero, and having fun with his foster siblings. There are a few truly funny moments which will remind you that superhero flicks can be lighthearted fun (remember the first Ant Man movie?)

But alas, there is a larger problem looming over this otherwise enjoyable movie. The DC Extended Universe is rebooting, which puts this 12th instalment in the franchise at a very awkward position. It doesn’t help that the folks behind Jaume Collet Serra’s Black Adam (2022) didn’t seem to want to be associated with this goofy movie, despite having its roots in the same concept of drawing power from the wizard Shazam. To the public, this just looks like a case of two siblings from the same family not getting along. Also, despite Levi’s efforts to keep the energy going, one can’t help but feel that the other aspects of the movie are trudging along. We had hoped to see more of Liu and Mirren’s menace, but they do the bare minimum.

Regardless of all the things that are not in favour of this movie, it is still an agreeable and entertaining movie to sit through. We are hoping that this is not the last we’ll see of the charming "Shazamily".

Movie Rating:

(This sequel to the delightful Shazam! has enough charm as an entertaining popcorn flick, but is bogged down by some rather unfortunate business decisions involving the future of the DC Extended Universe)

Review by John Li

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