Shazam! review – kid-friendly DC adventure is enjoyably old school

the Guardian | 3/23/2019 | Benjamin Lee

If there’s one thing that DC’s cinematic universe needs it’s better lighting. Or wait, on reflection, maybe it’s smarter scripts. Or hang on, perhaps it’s more coherent action scenes. Or actually, you know what, it’s the removal of Zack Snyder from every conceivable creative and technical level. Oh yeah, so it was just the one thing, right, well in that case it would be a drastically lighter tone. Taking all the wrong lessons from Christopher Nolan’s mostly sublime, game-changing Dark Knight trilogy, the DC extended universe (DCEU) has been defined by dirge, a glum, self-important string of downers without the requisite heft to justify the unbearably oppressive tone.

4 out of 5 stars.

Audiences - Fast - Weekends - Returns - Rehaul

Audiences grew weary fast and mammoth opening weekends turned into rapidly, embarrassingly diminishing returns. It led to a minor internal rehaul with Wonder Woman adding a modicum of levity before last year’s Aquaman embraced the character’s kitschier elements, becoming their biggest global hit to date. But both, for me, were still pale comparisons to even Marvel’s lesser offerings and the company remains in need of a more radical left turn, a brighter light to shine through all of the aggressive darkness.

Shazam, previously known as Captain Marvel before legal intervention, is a hero whose story has plagued DC’s cinematic arm for years, multiple aborted iterations littered along the way, with the late, Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman once involved in a draft in the early 2000s. In need of another surefire hit, both with audiences and critics, he’s been dragged out of development **** and handed to Swedish director David F Sandberg, whose prior work has been more horror-focused, but whose vision for the film errs closer to something Amblin would have made in the 80s. Maybe it’s the Stranger Things effect, one of the many pop culture references made...
(Excerpt) Read more at: the Guardian
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