Tag Archives: Chuck

Potted Film Review: Shazam! (2019)

Starring: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong

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What’s it all about?
At first blush Shazam! seems to be about a boy who meets an old homeless dude in a subway tunnel, says his name aloud, and then is able to use that name as a conduit to become a bumbling superhero… but underneath all that it’s really a story about family and friendships.

It starts off quite slowly with a very deliberate first half hour, to the point where I was concerned it was dragging on too long. However, once the origin/backstory is set aside, it develops into a fun romp with its tongue squarely in its cheek.

As it proceeds I started to feel a bit of a Big vibe, in the way that the central relationship plays out, right down to a funny blink-and-you’ll-miss-it homage that I’m sure was a nod to those who had recognised the similarities.

I’m a fan of Zachary Levi from his television work on Chuck, and – as this role is not a million miles away from that one – he slips easily into the superhero spandex here, giving a confident performance that is an easy paycheck for him. The rest of the cast I can take or leave, to be honest. Mark Strong feels like nothing more or less than your standard comic book villain, and the supporting children are fairly forgettable on the whole. They aren’t all that good, but then again, they’re not too bad either. This is Levi’s movie, and – combined with the sharp script – he is the primary reason that this works.

Watching it with the kids…
This is a family friendly movie through and through, with only the very young and sensitive who may be a little frightened by the monsters and demons on display here, but there’s no gore and no blood. There’s some mild language to be aware of, but it’s extremely tame, and nothing more than what you will hear in any playground.

Verdict…
I’m not an avid fan of superhero movies, so it takes something a little different within that genre to make me sit up and take notice. Shazam! manages to do that, and it is because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. How can it? It’s a movie with an exclamation mark right there in the title. It’s not dark, gritty, or edgy, like a lot of these comic adaptations try to be, and that’s absolutely fine.

Recommended

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Tuesday TV Testimonials #8…

Chuck (2007 – 2012)

chuck-tv-series-wallpaper-05Chuck had a very chequered history, and as a result is a show that a lot of people missed on its original rotation, and it was even going to be cancelled after its third season until fans stepped in and made themselves heard. The noise gave them two more years, and the show ended in a manner more befitting its stellar run, but it is still destined to be one of the forgotten gems of the last decade.

Chuck was an action comedy show about a nerdy young guy (played by Zachary Levi) who works as a computer hardware support assistant. One day he becomes exposed to an email virus which implants in his brain a program that turns him into the world’s greatest spy. It sounds complicated, but it’s really not. Essentially it’s a superhero show without the cape, or James Bond for those who don’t really want everything shaken or stirred.

YvonneStrahovski_Chucks04e14hdtvOf course – as is often the case with these kind of things – there is a will-they-won’t-they romance running through the entire run, and yeah, Chuck (the show) was never the same once Chuck (the character) eventually got together with Sarah, the CIA agent who had been tasked with keeping him under control… but if you’ve seen Yvonne Strahovski, you’re probably wondering why it took him so many episodes to finally get his act together. I’d have made a fool of myself within the first forty-three minutes of the opening episode.

Chuck sometimes forgot the rules of its own premise, and it often replaced what was plausible for what was funny, but it was always a joy to watch, and the nature of the show meant that it was never predictable. The cast always looked like they were having blast, and it was infectious, and I was genuinely disappointed when it came to an end. Still, there are talks about a movie that may be in the works, and Chuck has the potential to be great on the big screen.