It’s gettin’ a wee bit late in the day and I’m tired. Gonna go ahead and make this a quick’n and keep things concise.
Superhero films ain’t “the vibe” for me. While there are those who enjoy a good bing-bang-boom and other assortments of onomatopoeia, my pleasures tend to come from quieter, less cacophonous ventures. Regardless, sometimes superhero flicks do come across to me as potentially enjoyable and I’ll sit down to test their mettle. Shazam! is one that I’ve had my eye on since it released.
“A boy is given the ability to become an adult superhero in times of need with a single magic word.”
Actual (Short) Review
Guess what, everyone? Shazam! has a really, really formulaic structure to it. I know, it’s absolutely stunning to think that a big-budget superhero film introducing a character for the first time could possibly have a formulaic plotline. Alas, such is the case.
If you’ve seen any superhero film before, you’re likely to have seen large sections of this one. The film seems to know this and plays with these aspects relatively straight, complete with some tongue-in-cheek transparency. Those were fun, particularly the bit where the lead is facing off against big-bad and big-bad starts monologuing from a mile away, believing the lead can hear a word he’s saying.
My eyes rolled heavily upon the contrived instances of forced conflict between the lead and his foster brother because of some nonsense about… I don’t know, who cares? Anything to have a segment where the lead has to be off alone by himself and make stupid mistakes before realizing that his true happiness lies with his family. Cute. Also been done approximately 4,611 times. Some of the humor (though not all!) also came across as very… please, shut up.
If nothing else, the film clearly has a fondness for the genre it’s embodying. Aspects of togetherness and heroism, as well as just having a good rip-roaring time, coat the surface of every scene. At one point, I almost wanted to believe that I could enjoy this genre of film again. It wasn’t meant to be, but damn if Shazam! didn’t try. Mark Strong makes a good villain. Has that “evil Stanley Tucci” vibe.
It’s also surprisingly gory at times. I looked into the director’s prior history and apparently he likes horror. That certainly makes some of the effects and circumstances within this story more understandable. Characters literally disintegrating into dust and stone, having their heads bitten off, and ravaged apart by demonic entities. Just no blood, which was kind of funny in hindsight.
Good! Fairly cliché and annoyingly within a style that kind of clashes with my idea of entertainment at times, but good. I can see why this has a pretty substantial following among DC fans, and why many call it one of the best DC superhero films in the last… uh, decade-plus? Worth a watch if you like your phone being charged.
Final Score: 6/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!
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Thank you for your time. Have a great rest of your day.