Shazam! Fury of the Gods: A Mixed Bag of Humor and Skittles

Shazam! Fury of the Gods, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2019 film Shazam!, delivers a whirlwind of humour, action, and giving audiences mixed emotions. Directed by David F. Sandberg and starring Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, and newcomers Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu, the film provides an entertaining experience, despite a few notable missteps.

The film’s humour is a standout aspect, with much of it revolving around the main hero characters, who are actually teenagers in their everyday lives. This premise allows for a unique and refreshing take on the superhero genre, making the characters relatable and their interactions genuinely funny because they’re constantly affected by their awkward naivety and lacking emotional development. It’s a great contrast to their foes – who play two of the three ‘Daughters of Adam’ who are thousands of years old, battle-worn with the life and magical experience the protagonists are missing. I genuinely loved seeing the brilliant Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu in the film as they have a tendency to bring a certain gravitas that is hard to replicate.

I did enjoy the overall plot, visuals and pacing of the story – it does play out in that all-too-familiar superhero genre film recipe we’ve all gotten very used to over the years, ultimately it is a good watch!

However, not everything in the film is a hit with me. A glaring issue is the large, obvious Skittles advertisement that felt inorganic and detracted from the experience. The advertisement even brazenly includes Skittles’ actual slogan – “Taste the Rainbow.” spoken out loud. This was a disappointment, as the characters involved in that particular subplot were relegated to side roles for the sake of an advertisement. They were absent from the final battle, despite the messaging of the film being that you should rely on family and that they are stronger together.

The heavy-handed Skittles promotion disrupted the flow of the narrative, taking away valuable screen time that could have been spent further developing the characters and their relationships. The product placement felt forced, and rather than being a clever or subtle integration, it came across as a cheap marketing ploy. 

Furthermore, the inclusion of Gal Gadot’s cameo as Wonder Woman, although somewhat amusing, felt out of place and unnecessary. Gadot’s character essentially comes in at the last minute to “fix everything,” which is a missed opportunity for the main characters to shine and reach their own resolution. I understand the moment is there as a funny nod to the wider DC Universe, but I found it to be odd.

In conclusion, Shazam! Fury of the Gods offers an enjoyable time with its humour and relatable teenage superhero characters. However, some elements, such as the blatant product placement and unneeded cameos, detract from the overall experience. While the film is still worth watching for fans of the first instalment, it might leave some feeling underwhelmed, especially those who find the excessive Skittles promotion off-putting.

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