Movie Review: Shazam! lacks spark
This review is in the minority.
After all, Shazam! launched last week to a huge wave of acclaim, so much so I am wondering if I watched the same film.
It is a wonderful breath of fresh air, apparently.
Yet, it left me disappointed.
The big problem is that after a while, I was bored. And if there is something a film about an underdog being granted magical powers should never be, it is boring.
Think Sam Raimi's Spider-Man (2002) or even the Harry Potter films, where there is a joy and an energy. This felt like box-ticking.
The boredom could be down to stretching a 11/2-hour plot beyond two hours. Without a sense of pace, it ambles toward its finale. It could also be the curse of the trailers.
Thanks to inadvertent video osmosis, I had already seen a lot of the "standout" moments. Unfortunately, the actual film offered little else beyond those.
After the lighter tone of DC films, started by Wonder Woman and propelled by last year's hugely fun Aquaman, I had hoped Shazam! would make it three-for-three.
It has all the ingredients. Particularly a charming cast, especially Zachary Levi riffing on his fish-out-of-water character in the TV series Chuck.
The young leads do a decent job too. Even Mark Strong's pantomime villain was not too bad.
But there is just not enough going on. It feels obvious and airless.
Aimed at a much younger audience - who probably haven't seen the Tom Hanks 80s film Big - Shazam! feels less like a movie and more like a Nickelodeon sitcom.
That is apart from the times when it gets oddly serious or drops in a bit of inappropriate swearing that feels jarring.
But, people seem to love it.
So if you left the cinema feeling meh, don't worry. There are a few of us for whom Shazam! did not spark or take off, which is ironic for a lightning-powered superhero.
STARRING: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer
THE SKINNY: Runaway foster child Billy Batson (Angel) is gifted amazing powers by an ancient wizard that turn him into a full-grown superhero (Levi). But evil Dr Sivana (Strong) wants the powers for himself.