The highly anticipated follow-up to 2019' hit superhero film Shazam! is set to hit theaters later this week, and many are eager to know what to expect. In this post I'll cover everything you need to know before watching Shazam! Fury of the Gods, including a recap of the first film, its critical and box office success, the character's comic book origins, and more!
Should You Watch The First Film?
If you have not seen the first Shazam! movie, I would highly recommended that you do so, especially before watching the sequel.
The film introduces Billy Batson, a teenager who is chosen by the ancient Wizard to be his new champion, and how he becomes a superhero with the power to transform into an adult superhero named "Shazam".
Shazam! is currently available to stream on HBO Max in the US and it can be rented or bought digitally in the UK.
A Recap Of The Previous "Shazam!" (2019)
2019's Shazam! was based on the DC Comics character of the same name. The film tells the story of Billy Batson, a troubled 14-year-old boy who is chosen by the ancient Wizard to become the superhero "Shazam", who is portrayed by Zachary Levi, whenever he says the magic word.
The film begins with a young Thaddeus Sivana being summoned to the wizard's realm, where he is tested for the potential to become the next champion of the wizard's powers. When Thaddeus fails the test and is returned to the real world, he becomes obsessed with finding a way back to the wizard's realm and gaining the powers he was denied.
Years later, troubled teenager Billy Batson is living in a group home and trying to find his birth mother. He is transported to the wizard's realm and chosen to become the next champion of the wizard's powers. When he says the magic word, he transforms into the adult superhero "Shazam", with the powers of super strength, speed, and the ability to fly.
Meanwhile, Thaddeus has grown up to become a successful businessman, but his obsession with the wizard's powers has driven him to seek out a way to gain them. He finds a way to enter the wizard's realm and steals the power of the Seven Deadly Sins, demonic creatures that the wizard had been keeping at bay.
As Shazam begins to explore his powers, he and his new foster brother, Freddy Freeman, realize that Thaddeus has gained the power of the Seven Deadly Sins and is using them to wreak havoc on the city. Shazam and Freddy team up to stop Thaddeus and his minions, using Shazam's powers and the help of their foster siblings.
In the end, Shazam defeats Thaddeus and the Seven Deadly Sins, but not before revealing his secret identity to his foster siblings. The film ends with the group coming to terms with their new lives as a superhero family.
Who Are The Villains In Shazam! Fury of the Gods?
Shazam! Fury of the Gods will see a group of powerful beings known as the "Daughters of Atlas" face off against Billy Batson and his family of superheroes. They are led by Hespera, who is portrayed by Helen Mirren, Kalypso, who is portrayed by Lucy Liu, and Anthea, who is portrayed by Rachel Zegler.
According to Greek mythology, Atlas was a titan who was forced to hold up the sky as a form of punishment by Zeus. The daughters of Atlas were known as the Hesperides. These daughters were nymphs of the evening and were tasked with protecting the golden apples that grew in the garden of the Hesperides.
In the film, the Daughters of Atlas will face off against the titular hero and his family of superheroes in an effort to regain power that was taken from the gods.
While Atlas appears in the Shazam! DC comics, there doesn't seem to be any mention of his daughters in the comic book lore.
Was Shazam! A Critical And Box Office Success?
Shazam! received generally positive critic and audience reviews and currently holds a 90% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotton Tomatoes, as well as a 82% Audience Score. The film was praised for its lighthearted take on the superhero genre, which was a break from the more serious and brooding DC films.
The movie also earned $53.5 million domestically in its opening weekend and $366 million globally, making it a moderate box office success and leading to this year's sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
How Were The Early Screenings Shazam! Fury of the Gods Received?
Early reactions for Shazam! Fury of the Gods have been overwhelmingly positive. Critics and audiences alike have praised the movie for being fun, charming, and action-packed. Some reactions also note that the sequel is just as good, if not better than the first film.
Early reactions suggest that the movie is a much-needed win for Warner Bros. overall, especially as the DC landscape is set to be transformed in the coming years now that James Gunn is at the head.
Will Shazam! Fury of the Gods Include A Post-Credit Scene?
I'll definitely be sticking around through the credits word has it that there are at least two post-credits scenes for the film.
The Cast and Crew
Shazam! Fury of the Gods features a returning cast, with Zachary Levi reprising his role as Shazam and Asher Angel returning as Billy Batson. Other returning cast members include Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman, Adam Brody as Freddy's superhero alter-ego, Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley, and Meagan Good as Darla's superhero alter-ego. New additions to the cast include Helen Mirren as the villainous Hespera and Lucy Liu as her sister Kalypso.
The film is directed by David F. Sandberg, who also directed the first Shazam! film. The screenplay was written by Henry Gayden, who also wrote the first film's screenplay.
Shazam's Comic Book History and Origins
The character of Shazam, originally known as Captain Marvel, was created in 1939 by artist C.C. Beck and writer Bill Parker. The character's powers are derived from six mythological figures: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. In the comics, Billy Batson is a young boy who is granted the powers of these figures by a wizard named Shazam. When he says the wizard's name, Billy transforms into the adult superhero, who possesses super strength, speed, and the ability to fly.
2019's Shazam! is based upon the 2011 New 52 comic book run by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, which reinvents and reboots the Marvel Family. Not only did the New 52 bring a new version of the Marvel Family, it also saw the character rebranded as "Shazam". The New 52 run had both Mary and Freddie were present, as were new additions Darla, Eugene, and Pedro - Billy Batson's foster siblings.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods lands in theaters this Friday, March 17, 2023!
Shazam! Fury of the Gods continues the story of teenage Billy Batson who, upon reciting the magic word "SHAZAM!," is transformed into his adult Super Hero alter ego, Shazam.
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.
The sequel's cast includes Zachary Levi as Shazam, Asher Angel as Billy Batson, Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman, Adam Brody as Super Hero Freddy, Ross Butler as Super Hero Eugene, Meagan Good as Super Hero Darla, D.J. Cotrona as Super Hero Pedro, Grace Caroline Currey as Mary Bromfield/Super Hero Mary.
Djimon Hounsou returns as the Wizard, while Rachel Zegler, Lucy Liu, and Helen Mirren have all joined the movie as newly created villains.