Shazam! Fury of the Gods is finally in cinemas.
Starring Zachary Levi in the title role, Shazam! first hit screens in 2019 and delighted audiences with its fresh, charming, and funny approach to superhero fare.
With mixed reactions to other big-screen DCEU releases, it felt like Shazam! got the formula right, building on the success of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman movie from 2017 and 2018’s well-received Aquaman.
It’s all change now at the renamed DC Universe, with high-profile bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran steering the ship and shaping its rebooted content, but we’re all still salivating at the prospect of the sequel to Shazam! — Shazam! Fury of the Gods — in the hope it lives up to its predecessor.
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So who’s in it and what happens? Here’s everything you need to know about Zachary Levi’s return as DC’s young boy-turned-superhero endowed with powers bestowed by a mystical wizard.
The Shazam! Fury of the Gods release date
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is out now in UK cinemas.
If it feels like it’s been a long wait, it’s because Warner Bros pushed the release back. The follow-up was originally slated to release on 1 April, 2022 and experienced a couple more pandemic-related shifts before 17 March 2023 was finalised as the release date.
The running time of Shazam! Fury of the Gods is 2 hours and 10 minutes, which is very slightly shorter than the first film.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods reviews round up
Following the lifting of embargo dates, full reviews for Shazam! Fury of the Gods have begun to surface online.
While shining a light on its weirder moments, movie magazine Empire stated that the character's second outing contains "strong enough emotional threads to keep you invested" in their mostly positive three-star review.
What the critics think of Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Total Film: A disappointing follow-up (2 min read)
Evening Standard: The spell has been broken (2 min read)
The Guardian: Second dose of DC’s impostor-syndrome superhero (2 min read)
The Independent: Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu looking cool can’t salvage pointless DC sequel (3 min read)
The Telegraph: It’s another retch-inducing mix of pixels and gibberish (3 min read)
Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter praised the film's abundance of action sequences but suggested that some of the magic from the 2019 original was "missing".
Over on movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, Shazam! Fury of the Gods holds a fairly decent 65% critics score ahead of its official theatrical release.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods - first reactions
The film world saw the Shazam sequel at press screenings and shared their opinions online. Although 'first reactions' are not official reviews — and should always be taken with a pinch of free salted popcorn — the response to the sequel was encouragingly positive.
Sean O'Connell of CinemaBlend called it "a total blast" and praised the film's action and visual effects, calling it his favourite "oddball corner of the DCU".
Erik Davis of Fandango described it as "much bigger & more explosive" than its predecessor. He added: "Absolutely love the humor & the way it centers a chosen family. Also, no origin story means the action starts right away & doesn't stop."
Who’s directing Shazam! Fury of the Gods?
David F. Sandberg returns to the director’s chair for the sequel to Shazam! So we should expect Fury of the Gods to be in safe hands and to bring us more of the magic formula that made the first a hit.
Sandberg is best known for his work in the horror genre, as director of Lights Out and scary murder doll movie Annabelle: Creation.
In fact, if you’ve seen the Fury of the Gods trailer, you might have noticed an Annabelle doll sitting in the paediatrician’s office, alongside some Wonder Woman and Batman soft toys.
Meanwhile, Fast and Furious franchise writer Chris Morgan joins returning scribe Henry Gayden on screenwriting duties. And yes, there’s a Fast and Furious reference in the trailer.
The Shazam! Fury of the Gods cast
Zachary Levi returns as the adult superhero alter-ego of the teenage Billy Batson. In Shazam! Billy Batson gained his powers when he met an ancient wizard who wanted him to become his new champion.
Billy is played by Asher Angel, who also played the character in the first film.
Fans will be pleased to learn that Jack Dylan Grazer also returns as Frederick “Freddy” Freeman, who also has an adult superhero identity. Freddy’s grown-up alter-ego is played by Adam Brody.
And in case you’re wondering, yes Djimon Hounsou is also back in the role of the ancient wizard Shazam.
Other members of Billy’s foster family who were transformed into superheroes in 2019’s Shazam! will return as well, with Ian Chen, Faithe Herman, Jovan Armand, and Grace Caroline Currey reprising their roles alongside Ross Butler, Meagan Good, and DJ Cotrona. Billy’s foster parents, played by Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans, are back, too.
Excitingly, a trio of Hollywood heavyweights are joining the cast for Shazam! Fury of the Gods with Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, and Rachel Zegler as the Daughters of Atlas and the film’s antagonists.
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Atlas makes an appearance, and is played by Derek Russo.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods plot
The first trailer for the film debuted at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2022, which teased how Zachary Levi’s Shazam is getting along with carrying out general superhero work aka crime fighting alongside his foster family, who were also bestowed with similar powers at the end of 2019’s Shazam! They’re all doing their own thing, he says, while he’s the only one trying to keep it together. He’s suffering a crisis of confidence, and a case of imposter syndrome.
It’s a bad time to ask him to save the world, but that’s exactly what the wizard does when he warns that the Daughters of Atlas are coming for him. They’re disgruntled that this boy, BIlly Batson, and his family have taken powers they have no business taking, believing them to have stolen the powers of the gods. They plan to mount an attack with their dragon creatures and godly powers and annihilate everything.
Since the first trailer, we’ve also had a second which gave us a closer look at villains the Daughters of Atlas – Helen Mirren’s Hespera and Lucy Liu’s Kalypso and Rachel Zegler’s Anthea – who look to be wily opponents for our heroes.
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Here’s the official synopsis for Shazam! Fury of the Gods:
"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."
Is Shazam! Fury of the Gods part of the new DCU?
The sequel was originally intended to be part of the old guard — the DCEU — which has since changed direction under new creative visionaries James Gunn and Peter Safran, who have largely hit the reset button
We don’t yet know how much this film references other DCEU films, but the first one had several references to Snyderverse events in particular including a brief Superman cameo of sorts.
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However, Shazam! was largely standalone, just as the sequel could be. The first trailer did feature shots of actors from the DCEU in character but that doesn’t mean this has to appear in the final cut of the film. And with the upcoming Flash movie going multiversal and tying all the DC movies together, anything is possible.
This could pave the way for the Shazam! franchise’s adoption into the DCU under the new guard, which hasn’t been ruled out.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is in cinemas now. Watch a trailer below.