Zachary Levi returns as the happy go lucky, gullible hero in this sequel to the first Shazam film in 2019. At the time it was a breath of fresh air from the more common gloominess of other DC movies. However, this follow-up misses the same magic of the original and instead leans too far into the jokey cartoonish-ness of the plot and the characters without much deviation from the norm.
Billy Batson (Asher Angel) continues to live with his foster parents and siblings, with them all now being able to transform into superheroes at the uttering of the word “Shazam” (Zachary Levi). He is still anxious and finding his way as a superhero. His friend Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) throws away the crutches when he transforms into Captain Everypower (Adam Brody), and is also coming into his own with and aside from the Shazam gang, particularly as he falls for new schoolmate Anthea (Rachel Zegler).
The villians here are Greek gods Hespera (Helen Mirren) and Kalypso (Lucy Liu) who want control over Earth and try to take powers away from the team. They appear to be having a good time in their costumes and comedic moments really sing thanks to their delivery.
As a whole, Shazam 2 is a bit of a mess. At times the drama seems confusing and the final act of the film takes too long to leave a lasting impact. The screenplay leaves something to be desired at times, and director David F Sandberg does what he can with the sprawling metropolis at the center of the action, even as the film progresses, more emotional storylines are left behind.
It’s a good time that aligns nicely with its predecessor, but doesn’t break free of the mould that it initially tried to mock and subvert. Levi is still the shining light of the film and his performance is worth ticket admission. But aside from that, the Shazam series will need to continue to evolve and feel different to prevent it falling into the same rhythm that so many other superhero movies do where they become stale.