The Philly Fiascoes

Here’s the difference maker between Shazam: Fury of the Gods and… well, the past year or two of superhero movies – this cast is having a blast in their roles. They show as much through their effortlessly timed banter, emotional lows, and even the villains. Helen Mirren, recalling her part in Red, shows the glee that comes from sheer villainous chaos.

Mirren is an Oscar winner. In Shazam: Fury of the Gods, she’s surrounded by digital effects that literally pull her from view given their scale, but there she is, being evil in a comic book movie. And Zachary Levi, in the same situation with regards to effects, imbues this character with undeniable charm. He’s enthralled, and that’s infectious.

At 130-minutes, Fury of the Gods is too long, but not because of the storyline

At 130-minutes, Fury of the Gods is too long, but not because of the storyline. Rather, it’s the action that just keeps going, endless cycling through one monster or another, at times paying tribute to Ray Harryhausen, if not taking the lessons from his films. Each appearance by a creature was treated with glamour and spectacle; Fury of the Gods treats them no different than any other contemporary studio film.

It’s a shame to lose “that” feeling, where fantastic sights were memorable, alluring, and the main draw. Now it’s expected, and the resulting ambivalence actively hurts these movies. Fury of the Gods offers potential by exploring Shazam’s/Billy Batson’s family dynamic, and the efforts to bring everyone together. In attempting to take this seriously, the other Shazam team members fall away, enamored by baseball games (among other things). They’re just kids – and they act like it – and those scenes separate Shazam from the others. Once they begin battling dragons, so little of that texture can break through.

Maybe in another decade or two, when the genre’s pace and gargantuan road maps finally see an endpoint, a reevaluation of those films buried in the gluttonous output will begin. Fury of the Gods is near the top of that list, because it’s already enjoyable, just tiring, even forced to keep up. Much like the cast’s chemistry, that’s visible too, bringing together countless fantasy creatures and tropes when in reality, just a giant dragon is plenty. At this stage, restraint is gutsier to try than spending gobs of cash to match the competition.


Transferred from a 4K digital source, it’s no surprise the sharpness and texture excel. Consistency is appreciated too, with only mild noise spikes dampening the purity, and those barely factor in. Warner’s encode doesn’t struggle with the noise at all.

Even the digital effects (certainly done at 2K) match well, without any apparent degradation in definition. Hefty color saturation lifts things like the superhero suits and environments, giving them the energy needed. Flesh tones pop with a satisfying, natural hue.

Black levels douse the villain’s lair with dense shadows. Their lighted scepter pierces that darkness with a truly intense brightness, and Fury of the Gods has plenty of magic and other likewise contrasting elements. Dolby Vision makes the most of this opportunity.


Fury of the Gods is a weird one, audio-wise. It’s akin to an older Disney release, with overall low volume, but in this case, the bass is on point. That means turning things up will help alleviate the top-end softness, but then blow out the low-end.

That’s a shame since the surrounds and height channels factor in prominently. Every action scene impresses with the ability to totally surround listeners. Atmos effects see frequent use, whether ambient music, debris, lightning, or whatever else makes sense to place overhead. Flawless rear channel use tracks and moves to match the visuals.

When in balance, the bass rumbles and rocks the soundstage properly with plenty of variation. It’s both tight and thick, but also reserved when needed.


Director David F. Sandberg drops by for a commentary track on the UHD. The rest, including a half hour of deleted scenes and EPK featurettes, stay on the Blu-ray.

Shazam: Fury of the Gods
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


Screen chemistry on both the heroes and villains side help Shazam: Fury of the Gods relax, but the visual effects-laden action lacks any unique element.

User Review
2 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 51 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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