Zachary Levi Breaks Silence on Negative Shazam 2 Reviews: 'Insanely Unkind'

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Shazam Fury of the Gods poster

Zachary Levi spoke up for the first time on the negative reactions from critics on Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

Levi's second DCU effort in Shazam 2 marked a low point for the DC Extended Universe in the franchise's final days, becoming the lowest-grossing movie in franchise history with just over $132 million at the global box office.

This also came with plenty of mixed reviews across the board, sending the DCEU off in disappointing fashion before the superhero saga is rebooted under new leadership in the coming years.

Zachary Levi on Shazam 2 Reactions

Zachary Levi, Shazam

Speaking with The FilmUp Podcast, Shazam! Fury of the Gods star Zachary Levi addressed the immensely negative reactions to his second DC solo movie.

Levi recalled speaking with former President of DC Films Walter Hamada about the success of the first one, wanting to explore Greek mythology before it became a big part of Shazam 2:

"I mean, the first one did well enough where they say ‘Hey, let’s look into making a second one,’ and then they pitched me the idea on it, I thought it was really fun. Even before they pitched me on that idea, I was talking to Walter Hamada, I mean ‘Shouldn’t we do something with, you know, the Greek gods and stuff considering that I have all that stuff running through me?’ And then, of course, that’s exactly what we ended up doing, which was really fun."

While he enjoyed the process of making this new movie, he also couldn't avoid the negative critic reviews that he saw, calling people "insanely unkind" with their commentary on the sequel:

"But listen, as an experience, I really enjoyed making that movie and I really enjoyed playing that part. I don’t know what the future holds for it all because, unfortunately, the second movie was not as well-received. I mean, the audience score is still quite good, but the critic score was, I don’t know, very oddly and perplexingly low and people were insanely unkind."

Even though he understood that Shazam 2 wasn't "some perfect Orson Welles-masterpiece," bringing up the historic director, he made it clear that he felt he and his team "made a really fun movie:"

"I’ve been a part of things, and, as much as I wish that they were good, I know that they’re ok, I know that they missed a lot. And I’m not saying that ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ is some perfect Orson Welles-masterpiece, it’s a good darn movie. When I watched it, normally I’m super self-conscious, and I still am, I’ll watch something and I’m like ‘Zach, your posture is horrible,’ and I can’t stop picking myself apart. And I remember watching the first screening that I saw of ‘Fury of the Gods’ and I was like ‘We made a really fun movie!’"

More than anything, Levi saw a major shift in the way fans comment on movies via social media, mentioning people who simply want to see a movie fail for any number of reasons rather than being fair about their criticisms:

"I think, even just the world from the first movie to the second movie, the world has shifted so much, social media has shifted so much, online hate and haters and trolls and factions and all that has just gotten more and more galvanized in its toxicity and I think that there are people that genuinely, unfortunately, want to just destroy certain projects because they don’t like them, or they don’t like me, or they don’t like other people involved with them instead of being like ‘Listen, I don’t like that person, but that’s a good movie’ or whatever. They just try to shift the narrative so they can be powerful."

Shazam 2's leading actor described the sequel as being "a little more graduated...a little more adult" and having "a little more grit" than the original, touching on the fact that there was much more money for visual effects, costumes, and set pieces:

"They’re both great movies. I thought the first one…is really, like, kid-oriented and the second one seemed like it could be kid and also…Yeah! It was a little more graduated, it was a little more adult, it had slightly more, a little more grit. We also had way more money, I mean $50 million more to do visual effects, which is why we could build out bigger set pieces and do stuff. We had better suits, I don’t know. There was a lot about the second movie that I thought we made a…if not just as good, better version than the first movie."

And while he hopes that fans will look back on the sequel as a success after some time away from it, he is still quite unclear about his future with the role at this point:

"But it’s all subjective, and some people just didn’t agree, and it’s unfortunate. But because of that, I have no idea where we go from here. I just hope or believe that history will show. It’ll be one of those things that people will go back, people will watch ‘Fury of the Gods’ on home streaming or on a plane or whatever, and it’ll be this movie that they heard so much shit about and then they’ll be like ‘Well, wait a minute!’ You know, and it’s like, yeah…"

Will Shazam Return in New DCU?

With DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran completely changing the landscape of the DC Universe with their new slate of movies, it's impossible to tell if Zachary Levi will have the chance to return to his role as Shazam.

Shazam 2 star Marta Milans even noted her feelings with The Direct that there is "a lot more to explore" with the "Shazamily" given the right opportunity, with many of the other cast members feeling open to coming back to reprise their roles.

But with other character/actor combos from elsewhere in the DC Universe meeting their end as well as new films release, Levi's hero may be next in line, as there are no confirmed plans for Shazam to star in Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters or beyond.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is now available to stream on Max.

- In This Article: Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Release Date
March 17, 2023
Asher Angel
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.