Shazam! Fury of the Gods | C+
“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” isn’t nearly as bad as its reputation. It shares the energetic and youthful energy of its lead. Zachary Levi is once again perfect in the role as Shazam/Billy Batson. He’s such a joy to watch, not only because of his great comedic timing that reflects the immaturity of his character but also due to the clear heart and passion he has for the role. The first two acts of the film, while generic, are actually pretty fun. Unfortunately, the third act devolves into another CGI-fest climax, worsened by the manufactured family theme. The weakest part of this film is the family dynamic because of how cheesy it is. The first “Shazam!” made the mistake of giving all the foster siblings superpowers in the finale. It makes Billy feel less important and the powers less impressive. As Syndrome from “The Incredibles” said, “When everyone’s super, no one will be.”
Additionally, the supporting cast isn’t all that great, except for Jack Dylan Grazer; he would have been a far better kid Billy than Asher Angel is. Grazer feels more like the immature teenager that Zachary Levi plays as adult Billy, and he’s also just a more talented actor than Angel. Angel has a boring screen presence and is far too cool for the role. That said, he’s certainly better than he was in the first film, where he gave a brooding performance in stark contrast to Levi. I also thought Lucy Liu was surprisingly terrible, with cringe-inducing line delivery and a clear misunderstanding of the movie she’s in. Helen Mirren is a little better, but she looks bored throughout the whole film.
Overall, I somewhat enjoyed “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.” It’s way better than the first film, warts and all. If you’re looking to throw something decent on in the background, or if you enjoy Skittles product placement, this is the perfect choice. Don’t expect anything groundbreaking though.
BlackBerry | A-
Writer/director/star Matt Johnson’s “BlackBerry” is my second-favorite film of the year thus far. It follows the chaotic creation, rise, and fall of Research In Motion, the company which produced the once immensely popular BlackBerry cell phone. Is it “The Social Network” lite? Yes, but I don’t care because it’s just so much fun to watch. The script is nearly immaculate, each line being just as witty and hilarious as the next. The two leads are such compelling characters played masterfully by Jay Baruchel and Glenn Howerton. Speaking of the latter, wow is Glenn Howerton great in this film. He deserves an Oscar nomination for his work here. Obviously he’s a brilliant comedic actor given his background in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” but he also brings plenty of emotion and complexity to his role as the (on the surface, anyway) scumbag businessman Jim Balsillie. I adore this movie and highly recommend it; “BlackBerry” deserves way more recognition than it’s gotten.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves | B
Inventive humor, fun action, generic/corporate feel. It’s good enough.