I didn’t hate David F. Sandberg’s Shazam!, nor did I particularly like it.
My greatest problem with the movie–and they’re quite a few–is that the it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be.
Is it a horror movie? Is it a movie geared toward young people? I couldn’t tell, which makes me think that the director, David F. Sandberg, didn’t know either.
There’re some overt shoutouts to some classic movies–Robocop in particular (!?)–and that’s fine but the problem with that is that the movie overall plays like Tom Hanks’ Big, with superpowers.
Tonally the movie is all over the place, which irritates though that shouldn’t be taken to mean that a movie can’t mix tones. If you’re a Paul Verhoeven do what you want because you’re awesome.
If you’re David F. Sandberg you might want to cool your jets a bit because you’re competent to be sure but no Paul Verhoeven.
Then there’s the fact that Zachary Levy’s Shazam doesn’t appear to be a super-powered version of Billy Batson (Asher Angel).
Batson, as young person, is almost hyper-focused on whatever he happened to be dealing with. He’s also suspicious–borderline mistrustful if truth be told–of adults and carries himself stoically, almost with aplomb.
While Shazam comes off like an over-enthusiastic 10-year-old, not at all how Batson would probably act in a given situation.
Shazam! earned somewhere in the ballpark of $349 million worldwide, and that’s a lot of money, till you realize it was budgeted at $100 million which means that–at least based on box office–it either barely made a profit or ended up in the red.