The thing with reprising directors and mainstream superhero franchises is kind of a hit-or-miss issue, as seen in the plethora of recent cape-flick releases. Either the success of the first movie is overshadowed by the sequel through the proper utilization of additional creative freedom, or the directors fail miserably to live up to the expectations. Thankfully, the latest release of the DCEU, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” veers off the latter situation by miles, but at the same time, it doesn’t surpass the brilliance of the first movie. The light-hearted tone and the chemistry between the found family, which was the USP of the first movie, are still very present in the sequel, although the innocence and sense of wonder were felt to be missing, understandably, for the narrative progression. To compensate for that, an interesting approach is taken with classical Hellenistic mythology, represented by the creatures, settings, and characters, which enriches the expansive lore of the character Shazam.
‘Shazam 2’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
The movie opens in a museum in Athens, where two women clad in Athenian armor come across the exhibit containing the Wizard Shazam’s broken staff. As they break into the exhibit and take the individual pieces of the staff, mystical energies flow through them. After stealing it, the duo unleashes chaos powers and elemental energies to butcher and later turn a gallery full of people into statues. A neat callback to the boardroom scene of the first movie and director David Sandberg’s horror roots. We come to know about their identities as the daughters of the Titan Atlas, namely Hespera and Kalypso. They return to the realm of the gods, where we meet the Wizard Shazam, being held captive. After presumably freed from his mortal coil after making Billy the champion of magic, the Wizard entered the spirit world just like in comics and was captured by the daughters. The Wizard gets astonished seeing them able to access their powers; hence, it was previously impossible for them to enter the earthly plains or to use their powers, as the Wizard used his staff to cast a nullifying spell on them and create a barrier in the godly realm. Turns out, when Billy broke the Wizard’s staff in the previous movie while fighting Dr. Sivana and the Seven Deadly Sins, the barrier was removed, and the spell was undone. Kalypso uses her chaos powers to force the Wizard into binding the broken staff by making him utter the word “Shazam!” Unbeknownst to them, the Wizard managed to retrieve a piece of his staff, which he used to send a warning to Billy.
Our protagonist Billy Batson and his siblings in the Vasquez family, consisting of Mary, Freddy, Pedro, Eugene, and Darla, the local superhero team of Philadelphia, continue to operate under mixed public reception. Billy suffers from imposter syndrome and goes to a pediatrician to confide, but it turns out what he is really afraid of is the feeling of abandonment after his earlier experience with his mother, who deliberately abandoned him in childhood, left him heartbroken. The sibling team, or as Billy endearingly calls them, Shazamily, has become kind of fragmented, with brothers and sisters gradually drifting apart with their own lives. Billy tries desperately to make them stick together, but he isn’t exactly successful in doing that either. Although Billy adores his adoptive parents, the previous incident with his birth mother has rendered him emotionally scarred, and he cannot call his adoptive guardian, Rosa, his mother. The Shazam family responds to a crisis situation as a bridge collapses in the city and they manage to rescue every person caught up in the accident. However, the collapse of the bridge ends up ruining the team’s reputation even more. As Billy wishes to work on their team effort and reflect on their shortcomings in their revamped Rock of Eternity headquarters, most of the siblings get busy with their own lives and leave. Mary empathizes with Billy’s insecurity about being left alone all over again. As Billy nears adulthood, he and Mary are set to move out of the loving care of the Vasquez family due to foster care system stipulations, and Billy isn’t emotionally prepared to move away from his family. Later that night, Billy is visited and warned about the threat the daughters of Atlas pose by the Wizard in his dream.
Freddy befriends a newcomer girl at school named Anne and saves her from getting swayed by bullies. Later, Billy asks Freddy to be present at their team discussion as he wants to plan their course of action after hearing the Wizard’s warnings, which Freddy ignores. The team goes to the Library of Eternity to learn more about the impending situation. They find out that Atlas crafted the staff from the mythical Tree of Life and used it to siphon the powers of the gods. Human beings revolted against the oppressive gods, and the Wizard Shazam stole the staff of Atlas and put a spell and a barrier on the realm of the gods—which led to the place’s eventual decay. The daughters of Atlas seek vengeance upon the Wizard, hence holding him captive, and now want to challenge the champion of magic in the Earthrealm to take the powers back. In the meantime, upon Anne’s request, Freddy appears in his champion avatar and discovers the entire thing to be a setup. Anne is actually Anthea, the third daughter of Atlas, who controls the powers to manipulate reality. They are joined by the rest of the sisters, Hespera and Kalypso, who snatch Freddy’s powers using the staff of Atlas.
Wrath Of Gods
Billy realizes that by befriending Anne, Freddy has run into a trap, and he, along with his siblings, rushes to save him. Hespera creates a barrier around the city that entraps all the citizens inside, along with Billy and the rest of the family, and the daughters of Atlas take Freddy hostage. The Shazam family returns to the Rock of Eternity and, with the help of a magical pen named Steve, writes a negotiation letter to the daughters demanding Freddy’s release in exchange for their powers. Freddy is held captive alongside the Wizard, and later both of them are thrown to the dragon Ladon, the protector of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Atlas, whose petrification powers stupefy both of them to a near-death state until Anthea uses her powers to save them. Remorseful about her betrayal, Anthea wants to make amends and lets the duo know about the exit route from the realm of gods. Meanwhile, Kalypso and Hespera meet the Shazamily as planned, and they get into a battle that leaves Pedro depowered and Hespera captive in the Rock of Eternity. However, Hespera is able to free herself with relative ease and proceeds to take the golden apple—the seed of life in the godly realm. As Hespera returns to her realm by accessing the mystical doorways of the Rock of Eternity, she and Kalypso get into an argument. While Hespera and Anthea are of the opinion that they should use the seed of life to bring the glory back to the realm of gods, Kalypso wishes to punish humankind by sowing it in the earthly realm. Overhearing their conversation, Freddy and the Wizard decide to steal the golden apple before escaping and get caught in the process. Fortunately, Billy arrives just in time to rescue both of them, taking the apple and, unfortunately, leaving the staff in the god realm.
Kalypso summons Ladon and decides to invade the Earth realm, and while escaping the Shazam family, they end up revealing their identities to their adoptive parents, Victor and Rosa. Ladon wrecks the Vasquez family as they escape just in the nick of time. Except for Billy, one after another, every other sibling of the Shazam family gets depowered by Kalypso, who steals back the golden apple. She sows the golden apple in Philadelphia’s stadium, birthing the Tree of Life, which entraps the city with its roots. The Tree of Life was not meant to be sown anywhere else except the realm of the gods, and as a result, it breeds deformities in the shape of various mythological monstrosities like harpies, minotaurs, cyclops, and chimeras who wreak havoc in the city. When Anthea and Hespera oppose her methods, Kalypso mortally injures Hespera using Ladon and depowers Anthea using the staff.
The Hero’s Journey
Seeing the devastating consequences of their boisterousness, a nervous Billy feels desperate and hopeless. Ashamed of his actions, he acknowledges his unworthiness to the Wizard and wishes for his powers to be taken away. Wizard reassures Billy of his goodness and spirit, saying that by sharing his powers with his family, he shows how anyone can be worthy if given the right guidance, thereby breaking the Wizard’s misconceptions about absolute morality. The Wizard knows that he chose the right champion the first time, and it is time for Billy to realize that too. Before Billy departs, Rosa wishes to see her son once again in his familiar form, and Billy reverts back, reconciling with her and calling her mother for the first time. Inspired more than ever, Billy clashes with Ladon and Kalypso. There is an amazing but blink-and-you-miss-it cameo of Michael Grey, who played the role of Billy Batson in the “Shazam!” television series of 1974, a brilliant homage.
In their depowered form, the Shazamily seeks to help people in distress using magical artifacts. Using the all-knowing magic pen, Steve, Darla discovers the one weakness of the mythical monsters, the king of beasts, the unicorns. Using a neat trick by replacing Ambrosia (the unicorn pacifier) with Skittles, the Shazamily rides the unicorns to control the rest of the creatures. Billy requests the dying Hespera to centralize the barrier around the city into the stadium where the Tree of Life was sown, capturing Kalypso, Ladon, and Billy inside of it.
‘Shazam’ 2: Ending Explained – Did The Shazam Family Survive?
Billy bids his family farewell and enters a final battle with the goddess of death, Kalypso, and her dragon. He supercharges the staff snatched from Kalypso by reflecting his lightning inside the barrier, an idea previously foreshadowed by the plasma ball shown in his room. With a final utterance of the word “Shazam!”, the magical lightning clashes with the supercharged staff, exploding the entirety of the barrier. As Kalypso and Ladon perish, the staff gets destroyed, and as a result, all the mythic monsters disappear too. The Shazamily, Anthea, and the Vasquez couple find out that Billy has made the ultimate sacrifice by giving up his life after getting fatally injured in the process. As the family mourns the death of Billy, the Wizard prepares for Billy’s burial in the realm of the gods beneath the tree of life. Darla asks the Wizard whether Billy can ever come back to life using the staff, and the Wizard lets her know that without the essence of a god, the staff will remain ineffective. Surprisingly, Diana, aka Wonder Woman, appears in front of them and offers to help in that regard. Being the daughter of Zeus, she is able to channel the power of the gods into the staff once again, which resurrects Billy. As the family moves back to their home, Anthea and the Wizard assist in restoring their house to normalcy.
The instance of Billy dying using “Shazam!” as his last words will definitely remind comic readers of the similar instance where Billy sacrificed his life in Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s masterpiece comic series “Kingdom Come.”
‘Shazam’ 2: Post-Credits Scenes Explained: Why Did Agents Harcourt And Economos Appear? What Is Mr. Mind Planning?
In the first post-credits scene of “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” viewers see Agent Harcourt make an appearance to offer Billy the proposition of joining the Justice Society of America. After getting irritated by Billy’s kiddy antiques, they eventually regret their decision and leave. Among a few other namedrops, the mention of the team Authority will surely hype up fans who have an idea of how the team is going to play a significant part in James Gunn’s new DC Universe. It seems like the roadmap to DC’s new world order has already started with Shazam, and there is a significant chance of the characters making an appearance in the revamped DC universe.
The second post-credits scene is more of a continuation of the future hints set up by the first installment, “Shazam” (2019). Dr.Sivana is still held captive after the last two years (movie timeline), and once again, the evil genius caterpillar Mister Mind visits him. He is planning something nefarious, and although the movie does not disclose the details, it is safe to assume from his motivations in comics that the two will either take advantage of the access to the infinite realms through the Rock of Eternity’s Chamber of Doors or, taking a cue from his classic villainous routes, Mister Mind will create the Monster Society of Evil, which has a significance in comics history as the first supervillain group having origins in the golden age. In any case, the Shazam family has to step up big time in the next installment, and we are more than eager to know whether our favorite anthropomorphic tiger, Tawky Tawny, teased by a cat in the movie, is going to join their ranks or not.
“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is a 2023 action-comedy film directed by David F. Sandberg.