Shazam! Fury Of The Gods Early Buzz: Sounds Like The Sequel Is A Total Blast

When "Shazam!" first flew into theaters in 2019, the young-at-heart hero was a breath of fresh air. After being called upon by an ancient wizard, 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel) gained unbelievable powers as the adult superhero, Shazam (Zachary Levi). And as any teen boy would, he immediately put those powers to excellent use by skipping school, wreaking (accidental) havoc, and bonding with his foster brother, Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer).

At the time, "Shazam!" was a surprisingly pleasant entry in the lackluster DC Extended Universe (sans "Wonder Woman" and maybe "Aquaman," if you're swayed by the drumming octopus). And though it found interesting ways to integrate horror, it veered away from the grim Snyder-era films with its distinct sense of humor. Between being genuinely great and earning plenty of love, a sequel was inevitable. Four years and a complete upheaval of the DCEU later, the Shazamily has returned for "Shazam! Fury of the Gods"! And based on the early buzz, they're more magical than ever.

The "Shazam" magic extends far beyond Billy Batson in "Fury of the Gods," with all of his foster siblings now sharing his special ability to transform into a superhero by uttering a single word. With Mark Strong's Doctor Sivana officially defeated, the family must now contend with the mysterious Daughters of Atlas: Hespera (Helen Mirren), Kalypso (Lucy Liu), and Anthea (Rachel Zegler). Director David F. Sandberg has returned to helm the sequel, working from a script by Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan.

Though not technically the start of a new DC era, the Shazamily could easily have a future in the forthcoming DC Universe; it all depends on the reception (and box office receipts) of their latest adventure. While the public still has a few weeks to go until "Fury of the Gods!" hits theaters, the first reactions have started pouring in — and they're trending toward the positive.

Bigger! Bolder! And a little scarier!

The early consensus is that "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" is "bigger" and "bolder," but still holds tight to the heart and humor of the first film. With the origin story out of the way, the movie delves right into the action, which is balanced alongside character development for the beloved foster family. According to Geeks of Color owner Dorian Park, the sequel is even better than the original. "['Shazam! Fury of the Gods'] delivers on every level. The action is spectacular, the humor is on point, and the surprises will leave you wanting more."

That excitement is echoed across the board: Fandango's Erik Davis praised the humor and the decision to center chosen family, while Variety critic Courtney Howard dubbed the film a "super-powered sequel" with "a super solid, super fun & super smart blend of hilarity, heart & heroics."

The film also includes many standout performances — which is no big surprise given it's packed with immense talent. Discussing Film's Ben Rolph points to Helen Mirren, as does Shahbaz "The Movie Podcast" host, who writes that Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler are "a force to be reckoned with & a joy to watch."'s Brandon Davis hints that the sequel leans into the realm of horror, much like the first film. He notes that David F. Sandberg "sprinkles some horror elements while maintaining the childish joy & charm of the Shazamily."

Black Girl Nerds founder Jamie Broadnax adds, "Shazam continues to lean into his silliness and immaturity in this sequel which tells us this franchise will remain to keep these films funny, light and slapstick-ish. "

Does Shazam drop the ball with its third act?

Naturally, all of this praise doesn't come without criticism. The most frequent critique will be no big surprise to dedicated Marvel Cinematic Universe and DCEU viewers: The dreaded third-act curse may be striking once more. Too often, superhero movies devolved into messy CGI battles that lose sight of the story and according to some, the "Shazam!" sequel is no exception. Digital Spy critic Gabriella Geisinger wrote that somewhere within "Fury of the Gods" is "a fun buddy comedy starring Djimon Hounsou & Jack Dylan Grazer" but added: "Unfortunately, you have to watch 'Shazam 2' to see it."

MTV's Tyrell Charles doubled down on that sentiment, adding: "The third act drags way too long which got tiresome."

Nerd Reactor's John Nguyen landed on the positive end of the spectrum, dubbing the film "a fun-filled adventure that's a solid follow-up to the first film," but also pointed to the packed extended cast, adding "I wish the movie was longer since there are a lot of characters."

Cinema Blend's Eric Eisenberg sums it all up by landing somewhere in between. He writes that the "Shazam!" sequel is "not a game-changing comic book movie," but adds that it "wins you over with its characters and energy."

Totally unbiased spectator James Gunn was also one of the many to weigh in on the film , which he called a "complete blast." The DC co-head also praised Zachary Levi, David F. Sandberg, and Rachel Zegler, adding, "the whole crew killed it."

/Film will have a full review up on March 15, and "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" will hit theaters on March 17, 2023.