Every Main Character In Shazam! Fury Of The Gods, Ranked

Contains spoilers for "Shazam! Fury of the Gods"

"Shazam! Fury of the Gods" has the unenviable task of opening during an unprecedented creative limbo. Is it the last shakes of the DCEU death rattle, or will these characters stick around for the soft-rebooted DCU? Whatever cinematic universe it officially belongs to, it's an action-packed, fun adventure flick. The first one delighted fans and critics with its mix of "Big" meets "Superman." There's still plenty of that residual charm here, even when the big CGI battles take over. 

Two years after the first movie's events, the Shazamily's day-to-day crime-fighting antics are about to escalate when three ticked-off deities, aka the Daughters of Atlas, appear — Hespera (Helen Mirren), Kalypso (Lucy Liu), and Anthea (Rachel Zegler). Miffed that the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) bestowed the power of the gods to children, they vow to reclaim that power and rebuild the Gods' Realm, even if it means destroying Earth in the process.

This movie does what sequels often do, jam-packing its plot with heroes, villains, monsters, and DC cameos. Even if the sequel is overstuffed compared to its predecessor, it's still an infectiously entertaining ride, and we hope James Gunn allows lightning to strike a third time. Fan favorites from the original, like Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer), step into much more significant roles while other cast members are nudged into the background a bit. While the future may be unknown, why don't we light up this list and see where each main character ranks?

12. Cameos galore

The DCEU is known for post-credits scenes that go nowhere, with the most egregious (and recent example) being Henry Cavill's surprise return in "Black Adam." Cavill was released from his "Man of Steel" duties mere months later. So with these cameos, it feels like watching the cliffhanger season finale of a show that we're pretty sure is getting canceled. 

Let's start with the biggest reveal, ruined by a frickin' TV spot. After Billy sacrifices himself to defeat Kalypso, his family buries him in the Gods' Realm. Before tears can well up, a familiar theme blasts at ear-bleeding levels as Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman struts in to promptly resurrect him. It's meant to be a moment where fans lose their minds, but instead, it seems more like a death whimper for a beloved character. 

The mid-credits scene brings in "Peacemaker" alumni Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and Josh Economos (Steve Agee) to recruit Shazam. He enthusiastically agrees, thinking they want him to join the Justice League. There's funny banter about how confusing it is having two teams with "Justice" in the name, but since this feels like a "Black Adam" tie-in, another possibly dead DCEU venture, should we be excited?

The post-credits scene finds Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) in his hieroglyphics-covered jail cell when Mister Mind, the hyper-intelligent caterpillar, returns. Sivana complains about how long he's been waiting. Mister Mind says he must do one more thing before revealing his vague plan and slithers off. It's a fun way to set up more misadventures with this creepy caterpillar or a knowing nod to the complete uncertainty the audience feels watching most DC movies. 

11. Pedro Pena/Superhero Pedro

When you have a movie with six heroes, three villains, a dragon, a cyclops, and demon unicorns, there are bound to be a few characters that draw the short straw. Enter Pedro Pena/Super Pedro (Jovan Armand/D.J. Cotrona), the shy kid in the family who is given the least to do. When Pedro's re-introduction involves staring at a shirtless man in a magazine, there are hints that his arc will deal with his struggle to come out to his family. Then, that's wholly dropped until the movie's end, when he blurts it out. Everyone says they already knew, and it's not a big deal. They love him for who he is. It's a touching moment but not fully earned since there's no further exploration of his internal conflict.

Pedro is depowered halfway through the movie, so Super Pedro barely sees any action and sits out almost every big battle. While most of the adult cast acts and feels legitimately like superpowered versions of their younger counterparts, D.J. Cotrona is too cool to match Jovan's shy awkwardness. If a third Shazamily outing happens, we hope these edged-out family members get more time to shine.

10. Eugene Choi/Superhero Eugene

Eugene Choi/Super Eugene (Ian Chen/Ross Butler) only gets slightly more to do than Pedro. There's a fun bit in the first act where we learn Eugene has spent the last two years categorizing every dimension in the Hall of Doors on the Rock of Eternity. He labels them with video game ratings ("E: For Everyone," "M: For Mature"). Before a team meeting, an unseen creature tosses a slimed-covered Eugene out. Once the meeting goes awry, Eugene decides he may want to test the slime for toxicity since he's feeling a bit woozy. 

One of Eugene's best bits is his relationship with Steve, a sentient pen that can write letters to the gods. He introduces the family to his inky BFF and explains, "He looked like a Steve." Steve pens several laughs, including one of the best jokes where a confused Hespera reads back Billy and the Shazam siblings' rambling dictated message, ending with someone suggesting they all get Gatorade. Aside from that, Eugene mainly serves as an encyclopedic exposition dump, but he doesn't get to flex much more character development. Eugene is yet another character we'd love to see with more screen time if this ever becomes a trilogy.  

9. Mary Bromfield/Superhero Mary

With Mary Bromfield and Superhero Mary, Grace Caroline Currey is the only actor to play both alter egos, replacing the original Superhero Mary (Michelle Borth). As the oldest, Mary is the de facto voice of reason and the most mature member of the Shazamily. Billy often looks to her for guidance, even though he rarely admits it. Mary jumps into action with the rest of the heroes to save citizens from a collapsing bridge. Later, she manages to stave off Hespera's attacks longer than the rest but is eventually depowered mid-flight and narrowly rescued from an impossibly high fall by Shazam. In her non-powered form, she still rides into battle on a murderous one-horned steed (more on that later). 

Currey plays the big-sister role with warmth and knowing humor. She also gets substantially more screen time than the other actors who have to share with their superpowered co-stars. Unfortunately, since she starts as the beacon of strength for the kids, she has nowhere to go. We get hints that she's going back to college and even hangover jokes when she shows up at the Rock of Eternity wearing sunglasses. Yet, we only hear about her life outside the Shazamily, never seeing what it looks like. Mary does have a few nice moments, encouraging Billy and the other younger siblings, but again, there are so many bases to cover in this sequel Mary's story gets a bit sidelined.

8. The Wizard aka Original Shazam

How exactly the Wizard returns from his dusty demise is a bit unclear. When Billy broke the staff, it freed the angry goddesses, and they trapped his essence and brought him back ... somehow. Honestly, it's all Greek to us. The point is, he's back, and the Daughters of Atlas force him to repair the staff, so they can reclaim the power of the gods and find the "Seed" — a double MacGuffin, but it's a comic book movie, so roll with it. Upon his kidnapping, Freddy ends up in the cell with the Wizard, and the two search for a way out of this mythical labyrinth. The Wizard later offers Billy a pep talk that helps him shed his "imposter syndrome" and save the day. Before the credits roll, we meet a much cooler Wizard leaving in an Uber to see what wonders this modern world has to offer.

The Wizard's grumpy world-weariness, matched with Freddy's motor-mouthed awkward optimism, serves up a pitch-perfect odd couple pairing. There's also a fun callback to the headless Superman cameo of the first movie. Billy dreams he's on a date with Wonder Woman, but we never see her face until she turns around, and shockingly it's the Wizard's face on her body, offering Billy a dire warning. It's hilariously unnerving, like a deep fake nightmare. We're happy to see the criminally underrated Djimon Hounsou shine more in the sequel. Here's hoping this is only scratching the surface of his wizarding adventures.

7. Anthea

Rachel Zegler plays Anthea, one of the Daughters of Atlas. She wields a visually stunning but somewhat confusing ability to manipulate reality. Anthea is absent during her sisters' museum rampage, first appearing under the alias Anne at Freddy's high school. She recognizes the hero in Freddy when he stands up to bullies twice his size. He is immediately smitten with her, and their exchange is adorably awkward. A short time later, Freddy discovers she's in cahoots with her sisters. Her endgame is not without conflicted emotions, as she sees the good in humanity while being aware of what the Wizard stole from her family.  

Anthea's reality manipulation powers are similar to the mirror dimension in "Doctor Strange" but far less defined. Shazam flies to save Freddy in one action set piece while Anthea rearranges the skyscrapers around him like a Rubik's Cube until he crashes into one. We don't know if she's actually shifting these cityscapes around. And if she is, then what is happening to the people inside the buildings? Maybe Anthea can warp reality for the person under her spell. That's our best guess. There's also a weird romantic storyline with Freddy, even though the movie calls out how she's around 6,000 years old and he's 17. That said, Rachel Zegler is infinitely charming, and her powers are visually stunning, even if they are a bit head-scratching. 

6. Kalypso

From the moment she walks on screen, Lucy Liu's villainous Kalypso isn't messing around. Her powers may be the scariest of the trio, as she possesses what Lucy Liu describes to /Film as "chaos" magic. With one whisper, she can make anyone do her bidding. In the opening museum heist, she enchants the crowd to turn into whisper demons, spreading her curse from one victim to the next in the world's most terrifying game of telephone. As the story progresses, Kalypso becomes the most ruthless of Atlas' daughters. No longer content with restoring her world, she wants to destroy Earth to satiate her need for revenge. Hellbent on pruning the Shazam family tree, she rides into the final battle on the back of the dragon Ladon. 

While Lucy Liu is a badass as Khaleesi 2.0, we need more backstory to understand why she's so determined to burn down our world. She and Hespera start on the same page, casually turning a room full of people to stone, with Kalypso flicking one to the ground, where they crumble into a thousand pieces. However, later she accuses her sisters of weakness and goes on the warpath. It's a vengeful streak that doesn't feel wholly earned. A flashback to the sisters' pre-imprisonment by the Wizards or any further visual explanation of their past would have helped the audience empathize and fear her wrath more. Instead, we get a talented actress bringing her A-game to a C-level character.

5. A dragon, a centaur, demon unicorns, and more...

The first "Shazam" introduced the Seven Deadly Sins and children to new nightmare fuel. "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" goes into total mythic mayhem in its third act. Ladon the dragon takes center stage, forged from the Tree of Life and invoking paralyzing fear in its victims before devouring them. The movie doesn't stop with merely a dragon. The finale is chock full of so many ancient creatures you may need a Bachelor's in Greek Mythology. Luckily, /Film's Jenna Busch has a keen eye for spotting each beast. Jenna clocked a manticore with "the body of a lion, the tail of a scorpion, and- bat wings." Also flapping into battle are the harpies or "winged hounds of Zeus." Then, there's a rampaging Cyclops, a minotaur, and a herd of demon unicorns tamed by Skittles (possibly the most on-brand product placement ever featured in a blockbuster). 

While we wish these mythical monsters got more screen time, we appreciate the big swing director David F. Sandberg takes in the climactic battle. Even with modern effects, these monsters have a classic feel, and that's probably due to their inspiration. Sandberg told /Film that the creatures intentionally had "Ray Harryhausen-inspired designs." We need to mention the unicorns. Sandberg explains he loved "doing the dark, scary version of a unicorn because they're so associated with fun times and good things. But to do brutal murder unicorns was like, oh yeah, that's right up my alley." 

4. Darla Dudley/Superhero Darla

Darla (Faithe Herman) is the youngest member of the Shazamily. She continues the first movie's wish-fulfillment vibe and is genuinely excited about being a superhero. Even after being depowered, Darla shows that her innocence and trust can be a superpower. She's the only member who fearlessly walks up to the unicorn as it lingers ferociously in the shadows, sure her rainbow-colored treats will taper this steed's baser instincts. Darla also has one of the funniest oneliners. As she and the Shazamily ride into battle on their unicorns, she shouts what should be Skittles' new tagline: "Taste the rainbow, mother —" (a loud unicorn neigh obscures the rest to keep it PG-13). 

Whether it's Superhero Darla (Meagan Goode) rescuing a box of kittens during a bridge collapse before saving the adult passengers or her idea to tame the "murder unicorns" with Skittles, her character offers a gold mine of sugary sweet naïveté. All her choices and the jokes built around them feel grounded in a genuine kid's reaction to all these other-worldly events. Meagan Goode naturally exudes the childlike excitement of young Darla. It's a character demand that can be a tricky balancing act, but Goode never makes her exuberance feel forced or like a caricature. 

3. Hespera

Hespera (Helen Mirren) opens the film by turning a room full of men, women, and children into stone — a pretty ruthless introduction to this vengeance-hungry goddess. Several scenes of Mirren masterfully twirling her metaphorical mustache follow until a standout quid pro quo with Shazam ends in a powered-up punching match. Once Hespera gets what she wants, her bloodlust lessens, and her allegiance to her sister Kalypso falters, eventually leading to Kalypso delivering her a death blow via dragon spike. Billy brings her back to life briefly to help in the final battle shuffling off into eternity.

Helen Mirren steals every scene she's in, commanding the screen with grace and menace. She's both intimidating and a total blast to watch. Her throwdown with Billy Batson/Shazam, where they toss each other around like ragdolls, is hilarious and well-choreographed, offering equal parts laughs and kickass moments. Her abilities to wield the elements are a tad undefined and seem limitless, but Mirren sells everything so well that we're happy to ignore a few plot holes. As with all the daughters of Atlas, we could have used some more backstory to understand her decision to change sides at the end, but having a legend like Mirren in a DC movie is a big enough win to celebrate.

2. Freddy Freeman/Superhero Freddy

Nearly becoming the new lead, Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) gets a ton more screen time in "Shazam! Fury of the Gods." He and Billy start at odds because Freddy wants to spread his wings and fly on his own occasionally. At the same time, Billy's deep fear of abandonment makes him cling too hard to keep the Shazamily together. Freddy's charmingly awkward encounter with Anthea is a well-worn trope, but Grazer mines it for new laughs. He later pretends to call Captain Every Power (his current moniker as Superhero Freddy), who appears and builds up how cool Freddy is to Anthea. Before any more shenanigans, Hespera and Kalypso appear and steal Freddy's powers. He spends the rest of the movie discovering how to be a hero without having "Every Power."

Adam Brody thoroughly nails the awkward faux-bravado and sarcasm that Jack Dylan Grazer exudes. We don't get much screen time with Brody, but it may be for the best because Grazer is the movie's beating heart. He is depowered for nearly the entire runtime but has the most significant emotional arc. As Anthea puts it, his superpower comes from within, not his actual abilities. He gets the biggest laughs, with moments like when Kalypso whispers her Siren call to "Say his name" (to find Shazam's true identity), only to have Freddy respond he liked Destiny Child's version better. When Billy sacrifices himself to defeat Kalypso, Grazer brings tears to Freddy and the audience. We'd be happy to see a Captain Every Power spin-off in the new DCU. 

1. Billy Batson/Shazam

Shazam, aka Billy Batson, returns to tackle bigger threats and bigger insecurities. In the last film, he mainly experienced the joy of becoming a superhero. Now he's forced to grapple with a nagging imposter syndrome in a world littered with far more famous superheroes. It doesn't help that the Shazamily have been labeled the Philidelphia Fiascos. They may save the day, but they often inflict millions in property damage. Shazam confronts the Daughters of Atlas and ultimately proves he's worthy when he selflessly sacrifices himself to save his family and city.

Being a Shazam movie, it's only fitting that Shazam is the best character, but if we're honest, Freddy and Shazam are neck and neck. Freddy brings the heart, while Shazam brings the thunder and lightning. Once again, Zachary Levi perfectly captures this man-child superhero (we mean that as a compliment). He beams with the same giddy joy without missing a step from his first outing as the titular hero. The sequel continues to explore his ever-present fear of abandonment and need to hold onto his new "found family." While Asher Angel is sidelined as the young Billy for most of the movie, when he does appear, he does the heavy lifting of emotional scenes and is more than up to the task. Ultimately Shazam is a perfect vehicle for a talent like Zachary Levi, and we hope he gets to goof off more in the DCU. Oh, and he uppercuts a dragon. How cool is that?