By Lori Perkins
I was absolutely charmed by the first Shazam movie. I think it might have been the next to last movie I saw in a theatre before COVID lockdown, and I was just delighted with its superhero found family story, so I was eager to see the sequel. I even watched the first movie again in anticipation. And, I have to admit, I was also excited by the prospect of seeing Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu as villains.
I went to a late showing on the weekend it opened, and it was packed. Packed with families, which I was not expecting. I am used to seeing my superhero movies late at night without kids.
It was familiar. Nothing about the family had changed, and that may be one of the things that viewers stayed away from. The Shazam siblings are all there, but they are all-powerful, which definitely makes the dynamic kind of static. The wizard joins in the fray this time, but doesn’t add much (except at the very end, when he shows up looking extremely dapper in designer clothes). And the wizard explains what the name Shazam comes from: Shazam is an acronym derived from the six immortal elders who granted the superheoes their superpowers: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury.
I did love Helen Mirren as the oldest evil sister. She makes an excellent villain. Lucy Liu, not so much. But that alone was worth the price of admission for me, as we rarely get to see over-the-top female villains (making me recall Rita Repulsa from Power Rangers) and I felt that Mirren was really enjoying the role.
All in all, I feel I got my money’s worth, just as I did in the recent Antman sequel (which was also branded a dud by box office standards). What I expect from a superhero sequel is to be entertained within the parameters of the universe. I wasn’t disappointed. The movie was a solid B (maybe a B- only because of the awkward dating possibilities between the third sister villain who is said to 400 but looks like a teen and the actual teen Freddy in the movie).