Shazam! Reviews Are In, Here’s What Critics Are Saying

Zachary Levi as Shazam! DC

Charge up your weekend with the power of fresh Shazam! reviews. Critics are now free to move about the internet cabin, posting their full thoughts on DC’s latest movie. Previous to this point, we saw some positive soundbite reactions on social media, but this is where you get the full context — and often some scores/grades.

CinemaBlend‘s Sean O’Connell gave the film 4 out of 5 stars. He raved about the casting of Zachary Levi as Shazam! but did mention the smaller scale compared to past DCEU movies, including lower stakes with Shazam!‘s villain, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong):

Like Aquaman and Wonder Woman before it, Shazam! benefits tremendously from being allowed to operate outside of the DC Universe, while also acknowledging that it exists alongside movies like Man of Steel and Justice League. In comparison to those efforts, however, Shazam! can actually feel small. The stakes of the plot are relatively low, with Sivana being a threat to our hero but less of a danger to the world at large. Where Aquaman was intentionally epic in scope, Shazam! always maintains the feel of a neighborhood story, for better and for worse.

IGN‘s Jim Vejvoda noted that Wonder Woman and Aquaman bore the heavy weight of expectations, which was not a burden Shazam! had to carry. So it was able to be as carefree as a child and just have fun:

Shazam! is a DC’s most joyful and sweet movie since the days of Christopher Reeve’s Superman, a funny yet earnest coming-of-age story about a boy who learns that, well, with great power comes great responsibility. So obviously, Shazam! doesn’t reinvent the superhero movie, but it’s an undeniably fun time that left me wanting more big-screen adventures with these charming characters.

USA Today‘s Brian Truitt said Shazam! was probably the closest DC film yet to one of Marvel’s projects, complete with a Spider-Man-esque lesson on “with great power comes great responsibility”:

But, really, the high-flying showdowns and the holiday-themed action-packed finale (which is highly satisfying, though it goes on a bit too long) are secondary. “Shazam!” works because of its emphasis on friendship and family: Mrs. Vasquez has a bumper sticker that reads “I’m a foster mom: What’s your superpower?” that sums up the film’s overall warm-hug vibe.

Hugh Armitage of DigitalSpy gave Shazam! four out of five stars, calling the “delightful” film DC’s slickest and funniest movie yet. However, he echoed the note that the finale goes on a bit too long:

Best known for his horror movies, director David F Sandberg nevertheless brings flawless comic timing to Shazam!, while the movie also delivers a likeable message about the value of family, friendship and teamwork. Our greatest criticism is that the finale drags on longer than it needs to, but Shazam! is so much fun that it’s a minor complaint.

Hoai-Tran Bui of /FILM gave Shazam! 8.5 stars out of 10, echoing the pacing issues, but also praising the pleasant surprise that Shazam! is more like a kid adventure than a superhero origin movie:

A raucous, charming kid adventure that is a delight to behold from start to finish, Shazam! feels like a throwback both to ’80s comedies and to the superhero movies of the early 2000s, with abundant callbacks to both genres. But rather than playing like an appeal to nostalgia, Shazam! is more of a spiritual throwback that captures the sincerity and silliness inherent in the superhero genre, while delivering a heartfelt story about the power of found families.

Lindsey Bahr of the Associated Press gave the movie 3.5/4 stars, pointing out some of the flaws while emphasizing that they don’t detract from the overall experience:

OK, so it’s basically Big with superheroes and villains instead of businesspeople and girlfriends, but director David F. Sandberg has infused his film with so much heart and charm that it hardly matters. Even the deficiencies, like the sluggish beginning and the random, ridiculous villains, fade away under a haze of goodwill because unlike so many big spectacle action pics with sequels in mind, Shazam! actually sticks the landing.

Todd Gilchrist of Birth.Movies.Death was more critical, saying DC’s movie needed more adult guidance:

Conversely, I’m not sure if Shazam! is the exact superhero movie that a kid would make for him or herself, or it’s a perfect encapsulation of studio groupthink trying to anticipate what that imaginary kid wants. Unfocused, noisy and way, way too chatty, director David Sandberg’s adaptation of the DC character supplies plenty of routine superhero theatrics and “when I grow up” wish fulfillment, but its eagerness to explore the notion of family at the expense of real character development – and the seeming absence of adult guidance both on and off screen – delivers far too little in the way of true inspiration.

However, he also wrote it was almost disappointing that Shazam! won’t be crossing over with Justice League in the near future, since the character brings a childlike sense of wonder and fun to the DCEU.

Overall, the reviews still sound quite positive. Since the embargo for Shazam! just dropped, we’ll have to wait a bit to see the full picture on Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s currently at 97% from 32 reviews. The CinemaScore from moviegoers won’t show up until opening night.

In terms of how much Shazam! might make after its April 5 opening? Well, you know projections are often wrong. Many thought Captain Marvel was going to open to “only” $100 million and it made a lot more than that on its way toward The Billion Dollar Club.

At this point, early tracking suggests Shazam! will open anywhere from $40 million to $50 million in the first weekend of April. It’s not expected to reach the lofty heights of the DCEU’s Aquaman, but the reviews have been positive and it looks like a good time. What more do you want? Besides a lot of money so they can justify more movies?

Shazam! opens in theaters April 5 as one of the many movies heading to the big screen that month, and in the rest of 2019.

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Paul Rudd Talks Stan Lee And Never Aging During Clueless Cast Reunion Panel

The cast of Clueless just reunited for a panel at Chicago’s C2E2 expo. Ant-Man star Paul Rudd (Josh) ended up a main attraction, after he arrived a little bit late, sitting next to Clueless co-stars Alicia Silverstone (Cher Horowitz), Breckin Meyer (Travis Birkenstock), and Donald Faison (Murray).

During the panel, Paul Rudd was asked about the recent death of Stan Lee, and told a wonderful story. Rudd was also asked about his his own lack of aging, and had a great response.

Clueless came out in 1995, and it has become a running joke that Paul Rudd — who will turn 50 on April 6, yes, 50! — simply does not age. During the panel, he was asked his secret. Here’s his classic answer, with backup from Breckin Meyer:

As IF the rest of the cast has aged much in the past 24 years either.

Thanks to C2E2 fans for tweeting out the responses so the rest of us can follow along from far. This next one is great, with Ant-Man star Paul Rudd talking about “the real thrill” of meeting and working with Marvel icon Stan Lee for his cameo:

Paul Rudd’s story continued, and you can watch in a fan’s full video below. Rudd said Stan Lee was excited to see his vision of Ant-Man from the comic book finally play out on screen.

Very sweet. Since it was a Clueless panel, they did talk some Clueless. @ClareKramer was there with some great live feed Q&A reactions. Here’s one funny exchange:

Of course, Paul Rudd was partly a focus of attention because there’s so much hype for Avengers: Endgame, and he seems to be a major player in what happens. Ant-Man and the Wasp ended up a key bridge between Infinity War and Endgame with the Quantum Realm factor, and we’ll have to see how it all plays out when Endgame opens April 26. That hugely anticipated movie is just one of the many titles heading to the big screen in 2019.

Apparently Netflix Promoted A New Jurassic World Spinoff Too Early

Netflix’s algorithm is a funny thing: Between its random sub-genre recommendations such as “absurd opposites-attract comedies” and “dark revenge sci-fi & fantasy,” you never know what you’re going to discover while scrolling through the streaming service. Recently, a couple of subscribers noticed a potentially unannounced Jurassic World title while they were in the mood for watching some dinosaur movie goodness. Take a look:

As you can see in the recent tweet from @nsjstuff, the title Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous came up on his search results. According to MovieWeb, after he tweeted this out, fans did some digging and found that Universal had filed three trademarks for this title on entertainment, toys and games in December 2018. While the project has not been officially announced, the studio does already have ties with Netflix and has discussed plans to create more programming around the blockbuster properties.

Netflix has already collaborated with the studio in the past for LEGO Jurassic World: The Indominus Escape, so another project about the Universal property with this newly revealed title is likely on the way as well. The studios also have a Netflix Fast & Furious animated series centering on the adventures of Tony Torretto — teenage son of Vin Diesel’s Dom — coming later this year called Fast & Furious: Spy Racers.

Universal’s animation studio has additionally worked with the streaming giant in the past to release a children’s television show based on their highly-successful How To Train Your Dragon franchise. The studios’ previous dealings lead us to believe the upcoming Jurassic World title will also be an animated series or film targeted to a younger audience. Perhaps about a summer camp at the problematic park getting out of hand?

If you look up “Jurassic” on Netflix now, as I just did, the upcoming title no longer appears. Looks like the streaming giant realized its mistake and took down the title from showing up. Maybe Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is still in early development and not ready to be announced by the studios.

This information does show that Netflix and Universal are in fact working together to create more content about the famous dino park that has sprung a $5 billion global grossing franchise since Steven Spielberg’s classic debuted in 1993.

The Hellboy Reboot Producers Already Have Ideas For Sequels

Next month, a brand-new take on Hellboy will be hitting theaters. Unlike Guillermo del Toro’s version, the 2019 Hellboy takes a bit more direct inspiration from the comics and takes several cues from a storyline called The Wild Hunt. Hellboy has some stiff competition in April, but should the film do well enough, producer Lloyd Levin said that there are already a couple sequel ideas mapped out, but not in any way that’s set in stone.

In the new film, Hellboy (David Harbour) takes a trip over to Great Britain to battle the Blood Witch Nimue (Milla Jovovich). The story involves everything from dragons to undead armies to Excalibur to flaming crowns. Most of these were elements in a comic book storyline called The Wild Hunt, which serves as partial inspiration for the reboot.

As such, there’s some direction to take the story, should Hellboy be greenlit for a sequel. All of it is pretty much right there in the comics written by Mike Mignola, which served as the DNA of the establishing the reboot. So, while there is nothing etched in stone, producer Lloyd Levin told Collider that they have an idea where the story would go in a sequel.

Hellboy doesn’t just take from one aspect of the comics. While there is plenty of The Wild Hunt in there, the story also has Hellboy boxing demons in Tijuana, which is from Hellboy in Mexico. The story also draws from Darkness Falls and The Storm and the Fury, and is more like a collage of stories, according to director Neil Marshall.

According to Levin, Mignola was involved “in the genesis” of the movie. Mignola and fellow Hellboy comic writer Chris Golden even wrote a draft of the script together. To keep things in the spirit of the comics, the movie shot for an R-rating because the comics don’t really get shy when it comes to violence. Per Levin:

You can see a comic book accurate Hellboy in, well, Hellboy, out in theaters on April 12. To learn more about the film, here is what we know so far.

Mark Hamill Loves Driving Disney Execs Crazy With Star Wars: Episode IX Teases

Forty years after Mark Hamill’s first appearance as Luke Skywalker, the actor is reportedly saying his final goodbyes to his iconic role when Star Wars: Episode IX makes its debut in December. Fans have been promised a fulfilling end to the Skywalker Saga but are growing impatient about the silence surrounding the movie thus far. It’s just eight months away; we don’t have a title and where is that damn trailer?

As a Twitter regular, Mark Hamill is always having fun with fans and pulling some Jedi mind tricks every so often to give us something to talk about while we wait (such as getting us emotional about the Han and Luke reunion that never was). He doesn’t mind playing around with the Disney/Lucasfilm studio higher-ups either, since he has little left to lose, as he recently said this on Jimmy Kimmel Live…

There you have it! Stop harassing Mark Hamill, all the answers will come in time! Being sworn to secrecy doesn’t stop the actor from stirring up the Disney executives a little bit, though, because this movie is said to be his last journey as Luke anyway. Jimmy Kimmel did quip that they could cut off his hand – perhaps to save on Luke’s robo arm CGI? Nah, he’ll be fine!

This “no worries” attitude reminds me a bit of Samuel L. Jackson’s approach to his role of Nick Fury in the MCU, which is also subject to tons of secrecy. Jackson recently messed with press and fans by telling them his recent co-star Captain Marvel could time travel, before admitting he had made it up.

Jimmy Kimmel brought up the actor’s most recent joke: the reveal of the Star Wars: Episode IX trailer – which was a literal picture of his trailer on set instead of the highly-anticipated first look at the holiday release. Hamill talked about his kids’ reactions to his clever social media post with these words:

While the post certainly incited the same kind of “har har har” laughs fans might give to jokes from their dads, it’s nice to see the actor have fun with the fans and tease their excitement a bit.

John Wick’s National Puppy Day Trailer Shoots Right To The Heart

It’s National Puppy Day 2019, which is basically a John Wick holiday. So the account for the upcoming movie John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum issued a new trailer – rated GB for Good Boy – re-cutting scenes from the franchise to focus on the tender love story between a man and his dogs.

Sniff. I love that the preview was “approved for dog enthusiasts everywhere” and warned of “some intense barking.” The trailer, with its soft piano music, told “A tale of two strays finding their way. A story of friendship that knows no bounds.”

You’d never know the scenes came from three films about an assassin getting revenge.

John Wick started with the death of the former hitman’s wife Helen. Helen had gifted John a Beagle puppy, named Daisy, to help him in his grief. Then Russian gangsters showed up demanding to buy John’s car. Mr. Wick refused to sell, so they caught him off guard at night, knocked him out, stole the car and — deep breath — killed little Daisy. Killing the puppy crossed a red line for John Wick, and he returned to his life of crime to get revenge.

John Wick also got himself a new puppy at the end of the first movie, adopting a pitbull who would’ve otherwise been put down. Now John Wick and his new dog are on the run, as the third movie — out in theaters May 17 — finds John with a global contract out on his head. In the movie, he reconnects with Halle Berry’s character Sofia, who knew John in the past and has two dogs of her own. Those dogs are basically her action scene sidekicks, so John Wick 3 may turn out to be The Revenge of the Dogs.

Fun fact: Chad Stahelski, who directs these John Wick movies, was Keanu Reeves’ stunt double as Neo in The Matrix movies. That’s how they met, and now here they are, offering puppy videos to the internet on national holidays.

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters Easter Eggs Will Have Fellow Fans ‘Nerding Out,’ Star Says

May is looking like a stacked month for blockbusters and maybe one of the most anticipated films is Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The sequel will pit Godzilla against classic kaiju like Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah, but fans can count on seeing some easter eggs to other monsters. O’Shea Jackson Jr., who stars in the film, is a big fan of Godzilla and he was geeking out over all of the references he was seeing.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is already packed with all the monsters you can ask for, but sharp-eyed fans might be able to spot some callbacks to other monsters that Godzilla has beaten to a pulp. In fact, there are theories that more monsters (or Titans as they are called in the sequel) will pop up before the credits roll. O’Shea Jackson Jr. obviously can’t give away anything specific, but some easter eggs will send moviegoers rushing to the internet to look up what they just saw.

O’Shea Jackson Jr. stars in the film as a colonel who leads a military squadron that runs missions directly related to the Titans that are hidden across the world. Jackson wanted to be in the film because he’s such a huge fan of Godzilla and told Collider that he was nerding out hard noticing all the references to other Godzilla films.

Being a fan of the franchise, it must have been a real treat for O’Shea Jackson Jr. to be in the sequel — especially one where Godzilla fights his arch-nemesis Ghidorah. Indeed, the coolest part of the movie to Jackson was pretty much anything that had to do with the lightning-breathing three-headed dragon.

Based on the trailers alone, I’d say I have to agree with Jackson that Ghidorah looks rad as hell, and I’m pumped to see him in action. If you thought the 2014 Godzilla was light on action, then this sequel is definitely trying to make up for that.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is all set to arrive in theaters on May 31. To learn more about the movie before then, be sure to check out what we know so far. For everything else hitting theaters, check out our 2019 movie release guide.

Netflix Rom-Com Star Noah Centineo May Play He-Man, And Fans Have Strong Feelings

The upcoming Masters of the Universe film may enlist Noah Centineo to play He-Man in the planned Sony and Mattel Films movie. The heartthrob has already charmed Netflix users everywhere with his kind eyes and infectious smile, but what happens when he wields the Power Sword?

Noah Centineo is in talks to portray Prince Adam in an upcoming adaptation of the ‘80s toy icon previously played by Dolph Lundgren, per The Wrap. The character is known for his insanely-ripped physique and blond bob, and he’s heir to the throne of Eternia. He-Man is being adapted for the big screen by directors Aaron and Adam Nee, and screenwriters of Iron Man Matt Holloway and Art Marcum.

The project has seen multiple script drafts and directors, and Twilight’s Kellan Lutz was also previously set to play He-Man at one point in time. The 22-year-old breakout To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before actor may now lead the project about the heir to the throne of planet Eternia who often fights off the evil wizard Skeletor and teams up with allies Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, and The Sorceress.

Since Noah Centineo doesn’t have the typical He-Man look, fans of the character have taken to Twitter to express their concerns for the Masters of the Universe choice. Check it out:

Looks like Noah Centineo is going to have to hit it pretty hard at the gym if he’s going to win the hearts of these fans, who have expressed the importance that He-Man be jacked in the upcoming adaptation of the character. It is true He-Man is largely known for his muscular body, and if Centineo approaches the character with his current look, he will not come off as believable to fans. Since he’s taking on the role, one would expect he’ll commit to looking the part and there certainly could be a massive transformation for the actor on the way.

Not all the online chatter is negative toward the recent casting news. @GeekVibesNation took to the platform to make a valid point about how while the casting of iconic roles in the past have initially angered fans, it doesn’t alway turn out as bad as they think it well. Take a look:

Good point! While many may have written off Michael Keaton as Batman and Heath Ledger as Joker, they’ve gone on to become iconic portrayals of the comic book roles. Actors are given parts for a reason, and Noah Centineo no doubt went through a cutthroat process before being named a frontrunner for the role. We also have no idea about the direction and vision the studios have for the toy line as of yet.

Mattel Films is following in the footsteps of Hasbro and working on numerous film projects based on their popular toys, such as a Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie. You can see Noah Centineo in his upcoming Netflix rom-com The Perfect Date in April and in the Charlie’s Angels reboot this fall.

A Website Is Going To Pay Someone To Binge The First 20 MCU Movies

The clock is ticking down to the premiere of Avengers: Endgame and the hype is real. There are no doubt a number of fans who are planning their own personal rewatch of the MCU, be it just a couple of their favorites or the entire library of movies. Well, if you’re going watch all of them anyway, you might as well get paid to do it. One website is offering one fan the opportunity to binge 20 MCU movies for $1,000 and a handful of other prizes.

Movie marathons are a great way to celebrate a particular series, and there’s no grander marathon than the MCU. After more than 10 years, the cinematic universe consists of 21 films, one which is in theaters right now. To undertake a rewatch of these films is a daunting task, but if you are going to be paid $1,000, it probably gets a little easier.

A website called CableTV is offering one fan the chance at what it calls a “Dream Job.” The site wants someone to watch 20 MCU films in preparation for Avengers: Endgame. Captain Marvel isn’t included because it is in theaters now and doesn’t have a DVD. That’s still over 40 hours of content, truly testing the might of the superfan CableTV is looking for.

If you are selected for the binge, you will be paid $1,000 (thats 50 bucks per movie) and CableTV will send you a ton of additional prizes. The fan will receive every MCU movie on Blu-ray (the three boxsets, specifically, plus the films not collected in those sets). Additionally, they will get a Captain America popcorn popper, an Infinity Gauntlet mug, an Iron Man snuggie, and a $100 Grubhub gift card.

The only requirements are that the fan has to be 18 years or older, a U.S. citizen, and an “active, outgoing social media personality,” according to the site. The social media part is important because the selected fan will have to live-tweet their experience and tag CableTV in all of their posts.

To apply for the contracted position, you have to submit a 200 word essay making your case and proving your MCU expertise and fandom. If you want extra brownie points, you can also submit a video message. Should you be selected, you will have three days to watch all the movies, so you will get some amount of sleep.

I once tried to watch four MCU films in a row and it was emotionally and physically exhausting, so good luck to whoever can watch 20 of them.

For the rest of us, we’ll just have to watch the movies with no promise of a pay check like a bunch of animals. Avengers: Endgame hits theaters on April 26. To learn more about the film, here’s what we know so far.

There Are Two Things Keanu Reeves Really Wanted In John Wick 3

After the first two action smorgasbord John Wick movies, its almost hard to know how John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ups the ante even further and gives Baba Yaga something new to do beyond just adding to his body count. Fortunately, Keanu Reeves had some ideas, and there were two things that the actor really wanted to see in the third film. As he explained:

John Wick of Arabia? Keanu Reeves seemingly really wanted to put his character in situations that we haven’t seen him in before, ones that are foreign to him and the audience. As Keanu Reeves told Collider, he wanted to put the hitman in the desert like Lawrence of Arabia and separately, have him ride a horse. As we’ve seen in the trailers for John Wick 3, Keanu Reeves got his wish on both accounts.

In the trailers, we see John Wick in the desert, traversing a dune in a suit. He looks completely out of his element and out of the context we are used to seeing him in. Keanu Reeves wants John Wick to suffer, and not being appropriately dressed in the desert looks pretty miserable. That said, John Wick does still look cool in his suit and maybe he’ll meet up with the new Men in Black who will also be going to the desert in Men in Black: International.

John Wick on a horse is also quite the sight because we are used to seeing the assassin on foot or in a car, so to see the ultimate badass riding a horse through the city like a knight of old is pretty cool. Keanu Reeves also elaborated a bit on these elements and the broadening of the world of John Wick. He said:

Normally you might think that bending the story so that you could do something that looks cool would be ill advised, but the John Wick franchise is all about doing badass stuff that looks cool and, in this instance, these elements are opening up the world of the film. John Wick: Chapter 2 moved the franchise international and John Wick 3 looks as though it will have even more globetrotting.

It sounds like part of what takes Baba Yaga to the desert is the deepening mythology of the series that will happen in this film. The existence of The Continental was what first showed us that John Wick wasn’t just a normal revenge tale or hitman movie, it had a mythology to it. In John Wick: Chapter 2 we began to see that there was an organization that seemed to govern these international establishments and set the rules for the assassins, The High Table.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is set to take us further into The High Table and show us more about how this underground world of assassins works, and that should give fans plenty to be excited for — in addition to seeing John Wick do battle on horseback, trek through the desert, and swordfight with ninjas on motorcycles.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum gallops into theaters on May 17. Check out our 2019 release schedule to keep track of this year’s biggest movies, and for all your movie news stay tuned to CinemaBlend.