Shazam! boasts a third round plot twist so outrageous, you can picture the Hollywood executive screaming in bed having thought up the greatest idea in modern times. Ah, reality check! It's not good. Meanwhile, the problem with David F. Sandberg's movie could be one of a hundred niggling little items. For example, the humour goes from cringe-worthy (the bus sequence) to banner infantile (the two school bullies).
Perhaps closer to an operating system fault would be Zachary Levi, a comedian so enamoured of his own charisma you can see him smirk before the joke happens. Where do they find these guys? Then there's Mark Strong. He's played villains before, his knockout combination in Stephen Gaghan's Syriana made him one to watch. However, Shazam! presents him with too much to say and little room to make it meaningful.
Here's a classic case of how not to engineer a screenplay. Truly, Henry Gayden needs more practice as darker elements such as the Seven Deadly Sins felt inappropriate for a family film. This could lead to some uncomfortable Q&A for parents on the way home. I wish them luck.
Such mismanagement extends like a mutant weed. Every five seconds during a fight, enemies pose like they are waiting for directions. It's awkward and embarrassing to watch. By contrast, I have noted less elaborate setups in a Sergio Leone Western. Too bad composer Ennio Morricone lost the gig. Frankly, Benjamin Wallfisch's music escapes most criticism unscathed due to its low recording quality. If you watch Shazam! while failing to notice any score, I understand your frustrations completely.
(Released by Warner Bros/ New Line Cinema and rated “PG-13” for intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material.)
For more information about Shazam! go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.