Shazam! Fury of the Gods First Reviews: Predictable and Overstuffed, but Charming and Fun

Critics say the DC hero's second outing isn't nearly as good as the first, but it's still a decent, family-friendly popcorn movie that knows what it's doing and does it just well enough.

by | March 16, 2023 | Comments


With the DC movie franchise in flux at the moment, audiences might not know what to expect with the Shazam! series, but the sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods reminds fans that its standalone charms push the extended universe issues out of mind. While not nearly as well-reviewed as the first Shazam!, most critics agree that if you liked the original, you’ll have a good time with the follow-up. Ironically, its winsome main hero is the least likable part for many, though everyone seems in agreement that Jack Dylan Grazer steals this movie even more than the last one. Perhaps this is simply how these movies should be, entertaining enough to pass the time.

Here’s what critics are saying about Shazam! Fury of the Gods:

How does it compare to the first Shazam!?

Shazam: Fury of the Gods delivers everything that worked for me in the first movie, dialed up to eleven.
– Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is a delightful ride and a worthy follow-up to the first film.
– Jamie Jirak,

Shazam! Fury of the Gods had a lot to live up to, and it delivers!
– Rachel Leishman, The Mary Sue

This sequel has really upped the ante with fire-breathing dragons and other creatures… The action is really quadrupled here, as are the special effects.
– Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood Daily

For the most part, director David F. Sandberg has managed to replicate the winning formula – even if the film never quite flies as high as its predecessor.
– Mark Cassidy,

While Shazam! Fury of the Gods doesn’t entirely recapture the giddy fun of the first film, its humor, sweetness, and delightfully human heroes remaining bright spots in a genre too often obsessed with the dark and the gritty.
– Kate Erbland, IndieWire

Shazam! Fury of the Gods offers fans of the first film more of the same: a family-friendly action adventure with humor and heart. And that’s not a bad thing.
– Matt Fernandez, Geeks of Color

There’s not much more audiences could ask for in a sequel.
– Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Ross Butler, Adam Brody, Grace Caroline Currey, Zachary Levi as Shazam, Meagan Good, and D.J. Cotrona in Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Will DC superhero fans enjoy it?

It raises the bar for DC films.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

A predictable but effective entry in the genre, this is a fun way to spend an afternoon in the DC Universe.
– Brandon Zachary, CBR

This is a fun, family-friendly superhero film – still set firmly within the DCEU – that has all the action and laughs you’d want.
– Abigail Chandler, SciFiNow

How is the story?

A lot is going on within the narrative, and one pivotal character’s motives flip-flop so many times they put in a line that cracks wise about it. Still, it all comes together in a gloriously berserk third act that features a mythical monsterpalooza, a badass dragon, a well-earned sacrifice and Skittles.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

There is a lot more plot crammed into Fury of the Gods. However, the film fully commits to each of its plot lines and keeps a quick pace that never drags under unnecessary or filler scenes.
Matt Fernandez, Geeks of Color

Shazam! Fury of the Gods offers more action a more sustainable crafted storyline that moves the plot forward that is a bit more sensical than its predecessor.
– Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds

When there’s exposition to move the plot along, it feels clunky. When it’s just the fun of kids being adult heroes? Then it’s  still very fertile ground.
– Joey Magidson, Awards Radar

Zachary Levi in Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Is it funny?

This movie mostly retains the level of humor of the first, which was its best feature. The movie smartly pairs Hounsou and Grazer together for large portion of the story and their comedic repartee is consistently good.
– Kyle Anderson, Nerdist

One smart move was to just completely move Djimon Hounsou’s Wizard fully into comedic territory.
– Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk Critics

While Fury of the Gods delivers plenty of laughs… this time around Sandberg has dialed back the humor for a more mature and slightly darker tone.
Matt Fernandez, Geeks of Color

How is Zachary Levi this time around?

Levi, almost in Paul Rudd-like fashion, really knows how to inject comedy without sacrificing the heroic antics the role requires.
Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood Daily

There are still some laughs to be mined from the premise, but after a while it begins to grate, and, unfortunately, one of the movie’s biggest detriments is how irritating its main character becomes.
Mark Cassidy,

Levi is also now playing a 17-year-old rather than a 14-year-old, and so some of the childish charm of his performance is inevitably lost.
Abigail Chandler, SciFiNow

Zachary Levi in Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

What about Asher Angel’s Billy?

It’s as if all we learned all we needed to know about Billy from the last movie.
Matt Fernandez, Geeks of Color

The resolution of Billy’s arc feels wholly unsatisfying, both because of Angel’s limited involvement in conveying it and in how quickly it’s all tied up.
– Tom Jorgensen, IGN Movies

He was far more annoying than I remember in the first movie. His ineptitude and emotional immaturity, while occasionally funny, just seemed so much more out of place here. I didn’t buy his arc, all the way up to the end.
Kyle Anderson, Nerdist

Billy hasn’t matured much from the first film to this sequel, and whether it is intentional or he’s just using this silly persona as a guise to lead people on because it works for him, it feels a little mechanical at this point.
Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds

How are the villains?

Mirren and Liu are excellent additions to the Shazam! world, embodying their characters with a formidable and fearsome air… Watching them play off each other is one of the highlights of Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
– Rachel LaBonte, Screen Rant

These ladies are incredible, badass, and bring a whole lot to the film… The sisters aren’t your typical straight forward villains.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

They’re surprisingly effective villains, even if the script doesn’t give them a ton to work with.
Joey Magidson, Awards Radar

Mirren, I’m sorry, is wasted, and so is Lucy Liu, whose chill ferocity is reduced to a kind of one-note snit fit.
– Owen Gleiberman, Variety

The characters are not very interesting other than their ability to wave their arms and cause all sorts of mayhem to happen, with nary a single wittily snide wisecrack between them.
– Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren, and Rachel Zegler in Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Are there any standouts in the cast?

The entire cast shines, but it is Jack Dylan Grazer who steals the show… He just has this personality that sucks you in, and this movie benefits from that.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Grazer’s easy transitions from swaggering bravado to sheer terror to bashfully lovestruck elevate his character from quirky sidekick to the real champion of the film.
Matt Fernandez, Geeks of Color

Zegler proves again to be an incandescent screen presence.
Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood Daily

Hounsou is given more to do here than in the previous film, and his pleasure in letting his comic freak flag fly is infectious.
Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

How are the special effects?

Fury of the Gods benefits from an increased special effects budget… A lot of attention to detail clearly went into designing [its] monsters.
Matt Fernandez, Geeks of Color

Considering this movie had nearly half the budget of a certain recent Marvel threequel, it’s astounding how much better it looks than the Marvel film in question.
Jamie Jirak,

Visually, the special effects have taken a step up, particularly in a dazzling final battle inside a giant dome lit up with atomic fire and super-powered lightning.
Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk Critics

The monsters look good, the lightning Shazam so often employs has never looked better, but it all feels as if was shot on a single backlot.
Kate Erbland, IndieWire

Its not-so-spectacular CGI effects make you long for a little Ray Harryhausen-style stop-motion.
Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

Jovan Armand, Meagan Good, Zachary Levi, and Grace Caroline Currey in Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Is it satisfying enough as a superhero movie?

Fury of the Gods has no designs on reinventing the wheel (or even putting a rough idea down on paper), but what it does, it does very effectively overall.
Mark Cassidy,

While Shazam! Fury of the Gods isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, it’s an adorable movie with a lot of heart that is sure to satisfy the whole family.
Jamie Jirak,

This new Shazam! film is cordial, with a puppyish good nature and an awareness of its own silliness.
– Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

It has its stumbles, but it knows what kind of movie it wants to be: An earnest superhero romp that entertains and tugs at the heartstrings. It certainly succeeds there.
Rachel LaBonte, Screen Rant

Despite the information overload and occasionally more-miss-than-hit comedy, there are enough laughs, cool comic-book moments and heartfelt performances to make Fury Of The Gods a fun, frivolous watch.
– Sophie Butcher, Empire Magazine

Is Shazam! Fury of the Gods disposable? Sure. Is it still a lot of fun? Absolutely.
– Joey Magidson, Awards Radar

Yes, the Shazam films are geared to a younger comic book movie audience, but this seems more like Saturday morning cartoon territory.
Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

Should there be more Shazam! movies?

There’s something to be said for a series like this that can truly stand alone. It’s charming — and it’s different, and it’s worth saving.
Kate Erbland, IndieWire

Although the future of the Shazam! films is uncertain under the new James Gunn/ Peter Safran regime, Fury of the Gods presents a convincing argument that Earth’s Mightiest Mortal is still worthy of that movie magic.
Matt Fernandez, Geeks of Color

This second edition bodes well for its future in the uncertain DC Universe, at least in terms of delivering on what finicky fans expect.
Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood Daily

Shazam! Fury of the Gods opens in theaters everywhere on March 17, 2023.

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