Shazam! Fury of the Gods and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by David F Sandberg
The announcement of James Gunn taking over the DCEU has certainly put this and a few of their other recent projects in an awkward position. Sure, there are questions of continuity and whatnot which I’m sure will be hashed out eventually, but these are projects that were built from the ground up under a regime that is no longer in charge, and it’s still a huge question mark as to how much Gunn is willing to carry over from the years that can be charitably called misguided. Still, the future is a concern for another day and the first Shazam movie was definitely a bright spot in the DCEU’s darkest days and perhaps it’s better suited than most to make the leap from old DCEU to Gunn’s DCEU. Does this movie prove that this is a viable character and film series going forward, or will this be a depressing reminder as to why they handed it over to Gunn in the first place? Let’s find out!!
A few years after the events of the first film, we find Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his family (Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Grace Caroline Currey, and Faithe Herman) are still protecting Philadelphia from whatever crimes and random disaster befalls their city using their Shazam powers that turn them into super hunky adult superheroes (Zachary Levi, Ross Butler, DJ Cotrona, and Megan Good). Still, the one thing their powers cannot overcome is the ceaseless march of time and Billy is already seventeen which means he’s going to age out of the foster system soon and doesn’t know what to do with his life if he’s no longer with his family who will also one day go their separate ways. Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) in particular seems ready to fly the coop and start a solo act with his superhero persona (Adam Brody), but when he gets caught up in a plot by three Gods (Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, and Rachel Zegler) who steal his powers and want to do… something nefarious, Billy and the rest must find a way to save him and stop these Gods before Philly is destroyed. Will Freddy find a way to be heroic even without the superpowers gifted to him? Will Billy be able to stop these Gods and come to terms with growing up and moving forward with his life? Will the other Shazam heroes also find something to do in this movie, or are they just kinda there for emotional support?
The Intruder and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing and Screen Gems
Directed by Deon Taylor
It either takes a whole lot of brains or a whole lot of nerve to try and squeeze a non-franchise thriller right between such big box office money sinks, and when talking about Screen Gems it can go either way. Yes, this is the studio that made my beloved Resident Evil movies, but also gave us the horrendous Slender Man, and frankly the rest of their filmography is just disparate; but all the credit to them for churning out low budget shlock and turning it into box office gold! They’re like the Blumhouse of the mid 2000s that’s still hanging around on the margins making ridiculous stuff like When the Bough Breaks, but also some real modern classics like last year’s Searching which you all better have seen by now! Where exactly will this movie fall in the Screen Gems canon? Well you can probably take a guess given its silly premise and wacky stunt casting, but let’s find out!!
Scott and Annie (Michael Ealy and Meagan Good) are your typical city folk who spent their entire married life in the hustle and bustle and have decided that now might be the PERFECT time to find a place a little off the beaten path and settle down to start a family. Hold your horses though! They aren’t looking for just ANY house! They want the PERFECT house that has like a bajillion rooms, a giant yard, and some real history to it! Well lucky for them that they found the one dude with the perfect house AND a strong need to sell it as soon as possible! Yes, good ol’ Charlie (Dennis Quaid) is moving to Florida to be with his daughter and has decided to sell his family home. Four generations have lived in this house, and for a rather steep price Scott and Annie can be the fifth. After some careful consideration and another look at the size of this place (they’ll have to Airbnb this mansion year round just to keep up with the payments!) they decide to purchase it and give Charlie a fat stack of cash that he can retire on! Everyone’s happy, right? Well… as it turns out there are a few loose ends here and there that Charlie needs to finish up and is still in town, but that’s not a problem, right? Well… he noticed the yard is looking a bit overgrown and thought it’d be neighborly to mow the yard, but that’s a good thing, right? Well… let’s just say that one thing leads to another, and another, and another, until Scott and Annie begin to wonder if this guy is ever gonna go to Florida, and that’s just the beginning of the weirdness that these two are being subjected to with Charlie still around! Will Scott and Annie ever get rid of this dude who CLEARLY didn’t seem ready to sell his house? What exactly does Charlie have planned, and just how far will he go to take back what he believes is rightfully his? Anyone get the feeling that this is what he did after making Movie 43? I mean sure he had money BEFORE that film, but that’s a movie so bad that it retroactively sucks away any success you may have had.
Shazam! and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by David F Sandberg
The slow course correction of the DCCU is perhaps not the most surprising thing in the world (you fail at something long enough, you might start to learn from those mistakes), but with Aquaman being a critical hit along with the… let’s say INTERESTING reactions to the Joker trailer, DCCU might just be on the upswing with this movie being the big test to see if this whole experiment can work now that we’re more or less in Phase Two. Not only is this a fresh start in terms of being the first one more or less completely separate from the Snyder version of the universe, it’s also the first one to FEEL different from all the other ones; same way that Guardians of the Galaxy was a shot in the arm for Marvel after a somewhat serious phase for them. Does this left turn into sunshine and happiness work turn out to fix many of the problems with the DCCU, or is Warner Bros beating a dead horse at this point? Let’s find out!!
Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is your typical teenager who loves to roam the streets of Philly looking for his mother who disappeared many years ago and is willing to any length to find her! Okay, maybe that’s not the typical teenage experience, but it’s Billy’s whole deal and the state is getting real tired of him running away from foster homes to search for a person that clearly doesn’t want to be found. Now they don’t want to just toss his butt into juvy just yet, so they’ve found ONE more family willing to take him in which includes Rosa and Victor as the parents (Marta Milans and Cooper Andrews), a bunch of other kids (Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, and Pedro Peña), and his new roommate Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) who’s sassy, handicapable, and REALLY into superheroes. That last one wouldn’t be TOO bad if it weren’t for the fact that he likes Henry Cavell’s superman, but I guess those are the only toys he can get on clearance, so what are you gonna do? ANYWAY, while all this is going on (and for several decades prior) a wizard by the name of Shazam (Dijmon Hounsou) has been scouring the Earth for decades to find SOMEONE worthy of taking his power and being the new protector of the planet which depressingly is a much harder task than you’d imagine. Even with that caveat, I can’t say I’m too fond of his methods as he just pulls kids out of nowhere to give them a test and then send them back to reality when they fail to disappoint; especially when of these candidates is a young Thaddeus Sivanna (Ethan Pugitotto) who will one day grow up to be the ADULT (and doctor) Thaddeus Sivanna (Mark Strong) and is still obsessed with finding that weird dude who told him he wasn’t good enough to be a super hero. Thaddeus does get his… revenge I guess (perhaps more of a make-up test?) when he finds the secret to accessing this magic realm and steals the EVIL version of Shazam’s power for himself. Well darn it! Now that Shazam has plum run out of options, it’s time to just pick one before it’s too late, so Billy? It’s your lucky day! The wizard scoops him up, gives him his powers, and then kicks him back to reality as well only now he’s in the rockin’ bod of the superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi). Can Billy learn how to use his powers and be the best superhero on Instagram, or was the wizard’s desperate Hail Mary ultimately a bad move? Will he be ready by the time Dr. Sivanna realizes the wizard’s champion has been chosen and goes after him to take his power as well? Be honest! If you got super powers, you’d be an obnoxious attention seeker as well!