Shazam! Fury Of The Gods

Certificate: 12A

Starring: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, Rachel Zegler

Release date: 2023

3 out of 5


A sequel to the 2019 about a teenage boy who can transform into a forty-something superhero, this lacks the charm of the original but still has some nice moments – and a couple of terrific leading ladies as its bad guys – to keep fans entertained.

Four years on from the events of Shazam!, Billy Batson (Angel) and his fellow foster kids are pretty comfortable with their grown-up superhero alter egos, after powers were bestowed on all of them at the end of the first movie. They have a secret lair, including a very Harry Potter-esque cavern of mysterious floating doors, and regularly fight crime in Philadelphia when they are not at school.

There’s a new threat, however, in the form of goddesses Hespera (Mirren) and Kalypso (Liu), who have come to Earth to retrieve a magical golden apple that should revive their realm to its former glory.

There are lots of special effects and action sequences – including a rampaging group of mythical creatures (including minotaurs) that may be too scary for the littlest of viewers – and the adventure romps along at a decent speed, but it lacks both the wit (it says something when the funniest scene is a post-credits one) and charm of the first movie.

While the talented Jack Dylan Grazer is given more to do as Billy’s pal Freddie, the other kids are sidelined for most of the movie and the theme of family that made the first film so darn adorable is lost as everyone splits up to do different things as the goddesses attack.

And speaking of goddesses – you cast Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu as the bad guys and yet don’t give them any snappy lines, or, for that matter, many lines of dialogue at all? There are a couple of scenes where both actresses shine – including the one that introduces them as they rampage through a museum – but they just highlight the many missed opportunities to feature them more heavily in the movie.

The rest of the cast – including, of course, Zachary Levi as the super human Billy and Rachel Zegler as the third goddess sister, who is also a love interest for Freddie – are all fine, but one can’t help wondering how much better a movie they could have made given a better script and half the chance.

Note: there is a mid-credits and also a post-credits extra scene.

Is Shazam! Fury Of The Gods suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

As mentioned in the review, the goddesses unleash monsters in Philadelphia – younger children (under 9s) may find them quite scary.

Characters are often in peril, and people and creatures are killed, but it is no more frightening than other 12A films.

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