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Shazam! Fury Of The Gods Moments That Upset Fans The Most

"Shazam! Fury of the Gods" is the fun and light-hearted follow-up to 2019's well-received "Shazam!" The sequel is once again directed by David F. Sandberg and stars Zachary Levi as the eponymous superpowered alter ego of teenager Billy Batson (Asher Angel), and almost all the cast from the first film returns as well.

The first "Shazam!" follows troubled orphan Billy Batson, who is given great superpowers -– such as super strength, super speed, and lightning hand powers — by the powerful wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou). The sequel, meanwhile, is about two of the Daughters of Atlas -– played by Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu –- who are out for revenge against the human world for stealing their father's power. Meanwhile, Billy is trying too hard to keep his foster superhero family together even though they all want to live their own lives. However, when Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) starts to head out solo as Captain Has-Every-Powers, he eventually meets a girl named Anne (Rachel Zegler), who might have her own ties to the Daughters of Atlas.

Unfortunately, judging by the flagging box office performance of "Shazam! Fury of the Gods," it's clear fans have some issues with the new superhero sequel. Here is what upset fans the most about the superhero sequel.

No Black Adam appearance

The superhero Shazam, originally named Captain Marvel, first debuted in "Whiz Comics" #2 in 1940, almost 30 years before the debut of the Marvel comics character of the same name for the now-defunct Fawcett Comics.

One of the hero's major supervillains is Black Adam, who debuted in 1945. In the original comics, Black Adam — originally named Teth-Adam — was a prince from ancient Egypt, who was one of the wizard Shazam's magical original champions. However, after gaining his immense powers, Teth-Adam went mad. Realizing his mistake, the wizard Shazam sent Black Adam away to choose a new champion -– Billy Batson. Black Adam then traveled for thousands of years to return to the modern world, becoming a dark mirror of Billy and one of his most dangerous foes.

The 2022 "Black Adam" movie, starring Dwayne Johnson, had him play the eponymous Adam based on a more modern and morally-ambiguous take on the character. Unfortunately, one of the biggest disappointments in "Shazam! Fate of the Gods" is the absence of Shazam's most famous foe. According to a report from The Wrap, insiders say that Johnson allegedly was so adamant about fighting Superman that he refused to be in the sequel. Adding fuel to the fire is a since-deleted Instagram story from star Zachary Levi that seemingly confirms the report. 

Imagine Batman never being able to fight the Joker or Superman never squaring off against Lex Luthor. Fans on Reddit were disappointed, to say the least.

Mid-credits scene makes little sense

The Wrap's reporting further alleges that Dwayne Johnson not only disallowed his own appearance in "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" — he apparently also forbade the appearance of other characters from that film as well. It seems that Johnson nixed an after-credits that would have involved heroes of the Justice Society of America who appear in "Black Adam" to meet up with Billy Batson's Shazam and recruit him to their team.

Later, an interview with "Fury of the Gods" director David F. Sandberg for The Hollywood Reporter seems to also confirm that someone intervened to change the planned mid-credits sequence last second, stating, "there were supposed to be characters from ["Black Adam's"] Justice Society, but that fell apart three days before we were going to roll cameras."

As it is, the after-credits scene involves Task Force X agents Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and John Economos (Steve Agee) meeting Shazam to offer the Justice Society of America job to him. It's a fun enough scene for what it is, as Holland and Agee have great chemistry carried over from "Peacemaker, " but the scene nonetheless makes much less sense having Amanda Waller's Task Force X agents meet Shazam rather than actual members of the Justice Society of America. 

In fact, director Sandberg agrees with that assessment, stating in the same interview, remarking, "I mean, the scene makes a little less sense with them."

The Mister Mind after-credits scene was disappointing

Mister Mind is an alien creature that looks like a small green worm but is actually an evil and maniacal genius. He's also one of Shazam's most dangerous foes.

The memorable villain was introduced to the DCEU in a fun after-credits sequence for the first "Shazam!" film. There, we find the first villain's film, Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) trapped in a high-security prison cell, scribbling half-remembered magical symbols to try and escape. That's when Mister Mind (voiced by director David F. Sandberg) shows up, telling Sivana that he'll break him out as part of an evil master plan.

Unfortunately, since "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" decided to focus on the Daughters of Atlas as the sequel's antagonists, it left no room for Mister Mind or Dr. Sivana. This meant that the only mention of this subplot is a jokey after-credits sequence where we return to Dr. Sivana in prison, now adorned with a bushy, unkempt beard, until Mister Mind returns again. However, Sivana is obviously peeved that it took Mister Mind so long to return, to which Mister Mind responds that because he's a worm and it takes forever to traverse anywhere — before leaving Sivana alone once again, much to his dismay.

It's a funny bit, but more than a bit disappointing we couldn't have seen more of these villains. In fact, some felt the biggest failure of "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" was the decision to punt on Mister Mind.

Villains created for the film

The villains in "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" are the daughters of Atlas, a god who was slain in the ancient past by wizards from the human realm. Afterward, the wizards — including Shazam — trap all of the remaining gods in a magical bubble that acts as a prison realm. The leader of the sisters is the matriarchal Hespera (Helen Mirren), who has a (very vague) power over the elements. Next is the vengeful Kalypso (Lucy Liu), who has power over chaos. Finally, there's Anthea (Rachel Zegler) and her power of axis, which allows her to manipulate the structure of reality to escape from or capture people.

However, the Daughters of Atlas have no precedents in DC Comics. While Shazam's rogues gallery of comic book villains isn't as robust as other heroes like Batman or Superman, there are still a lot of interesting characters they could have pulled from the page onto the screen, such as Mister Atom, King Kull, and Ibac. Some fans on Reddit were less than pleased about this.

Furthermore, their powers are vague and inconsistent, their sibling rivalry is rote and boring, and their motives are muddled. They ostensibly want to take back the Golden Apple that the wizard Shazam stole from their father Atlas centuries ago and use it to bring magic back into their realm. However, the overly-predictable betrayals and twists become tedious and none of it is all that fun, despite the great cast.

Anthea makes no sense

Speaking of the Daughters of Atlas, Anthea's introduction into the film is also ridiculous, especially in hindsight. The fact Anthea is one of Atlas' daughters –- and, thus, the sister of the villains Hespera and Kalypso — is supposed to be a twist. She's actually introduced in high school as Anne and set up as a potential love interest for Freddy. Their meet-cute happens when Freddy defends her from bullies, despite his disabilities outside his superhero form.

However, when it's revealed that she's actually the goddess Anthea, it calls into question everything that came before for fans on Twitter. Why is she so much younger looking than her sisters if they're all thousands of years old? Why is she in high school? At this point in the story, the sisters are not aware that children have stolen their father's power, so it makes no sense why she'd be there in the first place. Even if we're to believe Anthea heard about Freddy being visited by Shazam and Superman at the end of the first film -– why would she have any reason to think they'd show up again out of nowhere?

Also, is she actually enrolled in the school? We see her there, so did she sign up and register? Did she pretend to be her own parent? It's all so unclear -– and frankly unnecessary to boot.

Bringing the wizard Shazam back to life is cheap

In the comic books, the wizard Shazam -– who grants Billy Batson his powers — was alive for most of its run. However, in the first 2019 "Shazam!" film, Djimon Hounsou's wizard turns to dust and seemingly dies for good once he grants Billy Batson his superpowers and deems him worthy of being Earth's champion. It adds stakes to the first film's story, as it leaves Billy adrift, with no one to help guide him on how to use his powers, making it a universal story about growing up -– despite the obvious superheroic window-dressing.

However, in "Shazam! Fury of the Gods," it turns out that the wizard is actually alive, if not necessarily well. It's revealed that he didn't die but voluntarily transported himself to a realm without magic. Unfortunately, shortly after arriving, he was promptly captured by the Daughters of Atlas and held captive.

"Shazam! Fury of the Gods" isn't the first film to bring characters back from the dead for fan-service reasons — think about Superman's immediate return in "Justice League." In fact, the film follows the tradition of comic books, a phenomenon that even has a name on TV Tropes, the First Law of Resurrection. However, resurrecting dead characters lowers the stakes of a story, and fans on Reddit don't always love it, as it often cheapens the initial pathos of their passing retroactively. The same is the case here — even if some Redditors saw it coming.

The Wonder Woman cameo was unnecessary and weird

"Shazam! Fury of the Gods," like 2019's "Shazam," is set in the dying Snyder-verse DCEU, which makes it unclear where Shazam stands once James Gunn's new DCU reboot finally comes to fruition.

However, until Gunn's DCU premieres, "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" is set firmly in the current DCEU and has many references to that version of the universe. For instance, during Shazam's reintroduction, he's at a psychiatrist's -– or, rather, pediatrician's -– office mentioning other superheroes, such as how manly Jason Momoa's Aquaman is, how cool Ben Affleck's Batman is, and how fast Ezra Miller's The Flash is. However, the character that gets mentioned the most is Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman. We even see him dreaming about going on a date with her before the wizard magically intervenes.

At the end of the film, Billy sacrifices himself to stop Lucy Liu's Kalypso. His friends and family even mourn and bury him, making it all seem pretty definitive. That is, until Gadot's Wonder Woman shows up, repairs the broken staff, and brings Billy back. The problem is multi-fold, including the fact that this –- like the wizard Shazam's resurrection –- nullifies Billy's death and sacrifice, cheapening it. It's also way too much of a literal deus ex machina, as she's a (demi)-goddess who comes out of nowhere to solve a narrative problem, and many fans had a problem with Wonder Woman's sudden arrival.

CGI effects are often shoddy

Like a lot of recent blockbuster films of the last few years, "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" employs an over-reliance on CGI. This is not to disparage the technology or what it's capable of, as it has allowed filmmakers to realize visions that would've been impossible in the past. Furthermore, nothing against the visual effects artists themselves, who are obviously talented and putting in a lot of work. The issue is how underpaid, overworked, and crunched for time they are, which affects their output.

Regardless of all that, the resulting CG-effects sequences in "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" are often competent at best and distractingly bad at worst. This includes flying superhero action that is overly rubbery and floaty, with no sense of gravity or impact, creatures that look fake, and bland digital matte paintings. To be fair, there are also some great VFX sequences in the film as well, and the film doesn't look terrible by any means. Still, due to the abundance and complexity of the VFX shots –- as well as the aforementioned labor conditions hampering the artists –- some scenes aren't given the time or care they need before the release date, and the film suffers because of it. 

Both fans and critics on Reddit took note of this, and it lessened the experience for many.

Shazam's super family is not well used

In the first "Shazam!" film Billy Batson eventually grants his childhood friends superpowers just like his. In the original DC Comics, they were known as the Marvel Family, but in "Shazam! Fury of the Gods," they have instead been dubbed the much-less prestigious Philadelphia Fiascos due to their less-than-stellar success rate around the city. For instance, the super-family saves everyone on a collapsing suspension bridge — but the bridge falls into the water, despite their best efforts.

In the first film, Billy's interactions and growing bonds with his fellow foster family — including Freddy and Darla (Faithe Herman) – were the film's beating heart. So, when Billy -– as Shazam -– grants them all superpowers to fight off Mark Strong's superpowered Dr. Sivana, it was exciting, cool, and fun.

Unfortunately, in the sequel "Shazam! Fury of the Gods," fans on Reddit noticed that the rest of the superpowered Shazam family gets disappointingly sidelined for most of the film -– especially in the climax. Sure, the opening bridge scene is fun, but after that, the superhero family mostly hangs out investigating ancient texts in the Rock of Eternity and –- besides a quick fight with Hespera -– all immediately lose their powers during the climax, leaving Shazam the only one with powers to fight off Kalypso and her magical wooden dragon.

They don't even accomplish much in their de-powered forms, and Billy's actions render whatever they did null and void anyway.

Skittles product placement is super egregious

Let's not mince words here. While films can encapsulate and crystallize the human experience in intense, relatable, or even abstract and ethereal ways -– oftentimes better than any other medium -– they are also a product to sell. This is especially true within the current capitalistic framework of our modern, IP-obsessed film industry. So, when maximizing profits and minimizing risk is of the utmost importance, film studios often rely on corporate product placements to absorb some of the financial burdens.

This is not a new thing. Product placement has been around since the 1920 Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton silent comedy "The Garage," where Red Crown Gasoline was advertised in the background of many scenes. Also, some instances of product placement are less egregious than others -– a billboard in the background of a shot or a character drinking a name-brand soda instead of a knock-off movie prop soda is fine, if still not ideal. The problem with product placement is when it becomes integral to the plot in an intrusive way.

That's what happens here. While it worked okay in "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" with Reese's Pieces, the use of Skittles being used to solve a pivotal plot point is beyond egregious, and fans were taken aback by how much "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" wanted viewers to buy Skittles. When Darla uses Skittles in her pocket to fight off invading monsters they even say the tagline — "taste the rainbow" – afterward. It's embarrassing.

Zachary Levi's potentially anti-vax tweets

Before appearing in "Shazam!" Zachary Levi was best known for his TV role as the computer nerd-turned-spy action-comedy show "Chuck" (co-starring former Superman Brandon Routh), which ran for five seasons starting in 2007. However, playing the fun-loving superhero Shazam is currently Levi's most prominent starring role to date — which makes sense, as Levi is delightful and a highlight in both 2019's "Shazam!" and "Shazam! Fury of the Gods."

Unfortunately, he got into some hot water recently by tweeting some potentially anti-vax sentiments, such as when he responded "Hardcore agree" to an account asking, "Do you agree or not, that Pfizer is a real danger to the world?" Now, that in and of itself isn't a smoking gun, as Pfizer is a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company that has committed health care fraud in the past, as reported by the U.S. Department of Justice. While the CDC has made it clear that vaccines have been instrumental in protecting from COVID-19 and saving lives, that doesn't change the fact that there are issues with relying on for-profit companies to do this work.

Still, looking at Levi's other media interactions — such as praising right-wing demagogue Jordan Peterson –- it seems that some fans on Twitter feel that Levi's issues with Pfizer might be more to do with conspiracies against using the vaccine rather than a genuine concern with corporate malfeasance.