Jun 072020
 

Shazam!

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PLOTIn 1974, young Thaddeus Sivana is riding in a car with his father and brother when he is suddenly transported to the Rock of Eternity, a magical temple in another dimension. There, the ancient wizard Shazam has spent centuries searching for someone pure of heart on whom to bestow his power and name as champion, after the previous champion released the Seven Deadly Sins which killed the rest of the Council of Wizards. Thaddeus is tempted by the Eye of Sin, through which he hears the voices of the Sins, trapped in stone statues, promising him power if he will free them. The wizard deems Thaddeus unworthy and magically returns him to the car, where he makes a scene that leads to a car accident, crippling his father. The Sins send Thaddeus a message telling him to find them.

In present-day Philadelphia, 14-year-old foster child Billy Batson continually runs away from foster homes to search for his birth mother, from whom he became separated while at a carnival ten years prior. He is placed in a group home run by Victor and Rosa Vasquez, with five other foster children: Mary Bromfield, Pedro Peña, Eugene Choi, Darla Dudley, and superhero enthusiast Freddy Freeman. Meanwhile, the embittered Sivana succeeds in his lifelong quest to find a way back to the Rock of Eternity. He steals the Eye of Sin, becoming the Sins' vessel, bests the wizard, and uses his newfound power to kill his father, brother, and Sivana Industries' board of directors.

At school, Billy defends Freddy from bullies and is chased into a subway, where he is transported to the Rock of Eternity. The wizard chooses Billy to be his new champion: By saying the name "Shazam", Billy is transformed into an adult superhero. The wizard turns to dust, leaving his magical staff behind. At home, Freddy is taken into Billy's confidence and helps him explore his newfound powers, which include super strength, speed, near-invulnerability, and electricity manipulation. By saying "Shazam" again, he can transform back into his normal body. Freddy posts viral videos of the new superhero, and Billy starts skipping school to use his powers to busk for money and fame, straining his friendship with Freddy. When Billy accidentally endangers and then saves a bus full of people, Sivana confronts him, demanding that he surrender his powers. Billy discovers that he can fly, and manages to escape. His foster siblings deduce that he is the superhero, and complete his search for his mother, who lives nearby. Billy rushes to see her, but is disheartened to learn that she abandoned him, having felt inadequate to raise him as a single teenage mother.

Sivana deduces Billy's identity and takes his foster siblings hostage. Billy agrees to transfer his powers to Sivana in exchange for their safety. They go to the Rock of Eternity to use the wizard's staff to effect the transfer, but the children follow and attack Sivana. Billy observes that Sivana becomes vulnerable when all seven Sins leave his body. Sivana pursues them to a winter carnival and unleashes the Sins upon the crowd. Remembering the wizard's words, Billy uses the staff to share his powers with his siblings, transforming them into adult superheroes like him. He then breaks the staff, and his siblings battle the Sins while Billy faces down Sivana. By luring out the final Sin, Envy, Billy makes Sivana vulnerable and yanks the Eye of Sin out of his head, recapturing all the Sins.

Billy and his siblings are hailed as heroes, return the Eye and the Sins to their prison, and realize they can use the Rock of Eternity as their superhero lair. Billy finally accepts his foster parents and siblings as his "real" family. In his superhero form, he has lunch with his siblings at school, revealing to Freddy's surprise that he has also invited Superman. In a mid-credits scene, the imprisoned Sivana is approached by a talking caterpillar, who proposes an alliance.
2019Personal Rating50Rotten Critics90Rotten Audience82IMDb Rating71Combined Rating73.3

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Jul 222018
 

Thor: The Dark World

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PLOTEons ago, Bor, father of Odin, clashes with the Dark Elf Malekith, who seeks to unleash a weapon known as the Aether on the nine realms. After conquering Malekith's forces, including enhanced warriors called the Kursed, on their home world of Svartalfheim, Bor safeguards the Aether within a stone column. Unknown to Bor, Malekith, his lieutenant Algrim and a handful of Dark Elves escape into suspended animation.

In present-day Asgard, Loki stands imprisoned for his war crimes on Earth. Meanwhile, Thor, alongside warriors Fandral, Volstagg, and Sif, repel marauders on Vanaheim, home of their comrade Hogun; it is the final battle in a war to pacify the Nine Realms following the reconstruction of the Bifröst, the "Rainbow Bridge" between realms, which had been destroyed two years earlier. The Asgardians soon learn that the Convergence, a rare alignment of the Nine Realms, is imminent; as the event approaches, portals linking the worlds appear at random.

In London, astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster and her intern Darcy Lewis travel to an abandoned factory where such portals have appeared, disrupting the laws of physics around them. Separating from the group, Foster is teleported to another world, where she absorbs the Aether. Heimdall alerts Thor that Foster has moved beyond his near all-seeing vision, leading Thor to Earth. When Thor finds Foster, she inadvertently releases an unearthly force, and Thor returns with her to Asgard. Odin, recognizing the Aether, warns that the Aether will not only kill Foster but that its return heralds a catastrophic prophecy.

Malekith, awakened by the Aether's release, turns Algrim into a Kursed and attacks Asgard. During the battle, Malekith and Algrim search for Foster, sensing that she contains the Aether. Thor's mother Frigga is killed protecting Foster, and Malekith and Algrim are forced to flee without Foster. Despite Odin's orders not to leave Asgard, Thor reluctantly enlists the help of Loki, who knows of a secret portal to Svartalfheim, where they will use Foster to lure and confront Malekith, away from Asgard. In return, Thor promises Loki vengeance on Malekith for killing their mother. With Volstagg and Sif stalling Asgardian soldiers and Fandral assisting their escape, Thor, Loki, and Foster head to Svartalfheim.

There, Loki tricks Malekith into drawing the Aether out of Foster, but Thor's attempt to destroy the exposed substance fails. Malekith merges with the Aether and leaves in his ship as Loki is fatally wounded while killing Algrim. Thor, cradling Loki in his arms, promises to tell their father of his sacrifice. Afterward, Thor and Foster discover another portal in a nearby cave and reunite in London with Lewis and Foster's mentor Dr. Erik Selvig—who was briefly institutionalized due to the mental trauma he suffered during Loki's attack on Earth. They learn that Malekith plans to restore the Dark Elves to dominance by unleashing the Aether at the center of the Convergence in Greenwich. Thor battles Malekith through various portals and across multiple worlds until one portal separates them, leaving Malekith unopposed on Earth. Thor returns in time to help his mortal comrades use their scientific equipment to transport Malekith to Svartalfheim, where he is crushed by his own damaged ship.

Thor returns to Asgard, where he declines Odin's offer to take the throne and tells Odin of Loki's sacrifice. As he leaves, Odin's form transforms into Loki, who is alive and impersonating Odin.

In a mid-credits scene, Volstagg and Sif visit the Collector and entrust the Aether to his care, commenting that with the Tesseract already in Asgard, having two Infinity Stones so close together would be unwise. As they leave, the Collector states his desire to acquire the other five Stones. In a post-credits scene, Foster and Thor reunite on Earth, while somewhere in London, a frost monster from Jotunheim—accidentally transported to Earth during the final battle—continues to run amok.
2013Personal Rating70Rotten Critics66Rotten Audience76IMDb Rating69Combined Rating70.2

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