Billy and his foster brothers are establishing themselves as heroes, for better or worse, several years after the events of 2019's Shazam!. Billy has taken over as team leader, but not everyone wants to keep together as much as he does. Most obviously, Billy's brother Freddy Freeman has taken to the heroic life with gusto, albeit he likes to go out on his own and truly build up his cred. The Shazam family's humorous antics, however, take a turn when they come into contact with Hespera and Kalypso, the Daughters of Atlas, two goddesses who have just lately escaped from their shackles and are seeking retribution.
Shazam! effectively tells the entire tale of Hespera and Kalypso's background in a brief info dump. Even though Fury of the Gods sounds like it has such a fascinating past, one almost wishes it could get its own spinoff. In a nutshell, Djimon Hounsou, who returned for a bigger role this time, as the Wizard from the first film who kidnapped their powers and imprisoned them in a realm apart from the human world. They now want all they lost and more. Mirren and Liu are great additions to the Shazam! universe because they give their characters a powerful and menacing air.
Yet before Hespera and Kalypso launch their assault on the Shazam family, Gayden and Morgan set the stage for some strong (if occasionally intrusive) character development for Billy. His concerns with abandonment, brought on by his original mother abandoning him, were established in the first movie, as was his reluctance to fit in with his new foster family. This is continued in Shazam! Fury of the Gods by examining his unwillingness to let his siblings go as well as his resistance to acknowledging their foster mother Rosa (Marta Milans) as a legitimate parent.
It makes sense where Billy's story should lead, but as Hespera and Kalypso attack—in a scene that is arguably the most graphic illustration of the destruction the two are capable of—the character stuff is put on hold. There is a lot of plot to fit in, but director David F. Sandberg keeps things going along quite quickly. This just helps to delay down the process since Billy's core problems inevitably come out again. Wrath of the Gods places a lot of emphasis on Billy and Rosa's relationship, yet only really shows them together three times, one of which might not even count.
Those who weren't won over by the first Shazam! and its funnier take on the DC Universe are probably not going to be interested in Billy's quest today. And it's fair to say that some of Fury of the Gods feels like it was released too late because of DC's impending changes. Yet, Sandberg has created an enjoyable sequel that has the proper intentions as it stands alone. Although it makes mistakes, it knows the kind of movie it intends to be: A heartfelt superhero adventure that is both entertaining and moving. There, it undoubtedly succeeds.
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