Whether out of duty to the hand that fed her or a sense of genuine accomplishment, actress and self-admitted racist Rachel Zegler has pushed back against the widely negative reception towards her latest cinematic outing, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, by declaring that not only are critics being “senselessly mean” in their reviews, but that they only hold their respective opinions because “it’s just cool to have on fun nowadays”.
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After four years, six total release date changes, and the announcement that its events were essentially non-canon to the larger DCU thanks to James Gunn and Peter Safran, the sequel to Billy Batson’s beloved first outing has finally bolted into theaters – and unfortunately for the film, it looks like the Marvel family’s best days may already be behind them.
As per review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the first Shazam! ultimately went home with a 90% fresh rating from roughly 420 professional critics, while Fury of the Gods conversely has thus far pulled a significantly lower 52% ‘rotten’ rating across 182 verified reviews.
Notably, this score disparity currently only appears to have emerged in the professional sphere, as the films currently hold an 82% and 88% ‘fresh’ rating from audiences, respectively.
Likewise, according to sister review aggregator Metacritic, whereas the first Shazam! ended its run with a collective score of 71/100 from 53 critics, its sequel presently holds a much lower 47/100 from 46 critics.
Interestingly, unlike those found on its vegetable-inspired rival, Metacritic’s audience scores for the duology report a similar drop in fan interest, with the original holding an adjusted 78/100 across 1526 reviews (the site allows a ceiling of 100 for professional scores and only 10 for fans) and Fury of the Gods! currently sitting at 5.7 across 84 entries of fan feedback.
Plus, not only are the graded scores themselves particularly low, but the actual commentary given by the dissatisfied critics only further suggest that lightning failed to strike twice for the world’s mightiest mortal.
“But whereas the first Shazam! felt like a refreshing throwback to the kid adventures of the ‘80s and the superhero movies of the early 2000s, Shazam! Fury of the Gods feels like a creaky leftover of the mid-2010s,” wrote Hoai-Tran Bui for Inverse. “Everything looks a little more washed out, Levi’s jokey delivery is tired, and we’ve all had enough of MacGuffins. The magic is slowly being lost.”
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“What happened?” asked the New York Post‘s Johnny Oleksinski. “The original Shazam! was a cute, modest, coming-of-age movie with an energetic lead performance from Zachary Levi. But there is not one halfway decent part of Fury of the Gods, and even viewers who are pathologically forgiving of the worst of comic-book movies — and the decline is swift — will find themselves asking why the wise ancient wizard from the first film is now calling an Uber.”
Offering his thoughts for The A.V. Club, Matthew Jackson lamented, “We’re used to these movies being designed to launch us into one big final fight, and that’s fine, but the craftsmanship this time is shoddy, packed with dead ends, and struggling to maintain its grasp on an emotional throughline.”
“But like some children who aren’t so cute anymore after they’ve grown up a little, this follow-up lacks much of the appeal of its predecessor,” observed The Hollywood Reporter‘s Frank Scheck, echoing his peers. “While the film provides the elaborate action set pieces, colorful villains and save-the-world plot mechanics expected of the comic book movie genre, some of the magic is missing.”
This less than favorable response to her latest film eventually catching her attention, Zegler took to her personal Twitter account on March 18th to offer audiences a counter to the critics’ claims.
“Hey our film is actually really good!” wrote the burgeoning personification of ‘box office poison’, sharing four photos of herself taken behind-the-scenes during Fury of the Gods‘ production. “But mostly i just absolutely loved making it and the people i met whilst doing so 🙂 go see it! give it a chance. we have an 85% audience score for a reason.”
“Some people out there and just being… senselessly mean,” she added. “And it’s unnecessary. And I know, I know, ‘If you can’t handle the heat…’ and all that nonsense, and you’re right. But our film is actually very good.”
“It’s just cool to hate on fun nowadays,” the actress concluded. “That’s okay. We’re good.”
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is now playing worldwide.
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