Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam is not particularly good. It has a lot of problems, which I’ll enumerate, but it also has a lot of undeniable strengths.
I’ll start with those….
I mean, it’s got James Garner voicing an old wizard. That casting alone makes it worth some kind of look.
And Dos Santos conceives some good action sequences (they’re all based on Superman and Superman II), but set to the delicate electronic score, they work.
Unfortunately, the writing’s weak. Michael Jelenic is fine on dialogue, but the plotting is dumb (why is a thirteen year-old living alone—who pays rent, buys groceries?).
Additionally, there’s some terrible CG and acting. Arnold Vosloo does a Bela Lugosi impression and George Newbern’s a weak Superman.
Plus, the end is—from Superman II again—a superhero beating up a regular person for kicks.
Still, it only runs twenty-five minutes….
Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos; screenplay by Michael Jelenic, based on DC Comics characters created by Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel, C.C. Beck and Bill Parker; edited by Margaret Hou; music by Benjamin Wynn and Jeremy Zuckerman; produced by Bobbie Page and Dos Santos; released by Warner Premiere.
Starring George Newbern (Superman / Clark Kent), Jerry O’Connell (Captain Marvel), Arnold Vosloo (Black Adam), Zach Callison (Billy Batson), Josh Keaton (Punk), Kevin Michael Richardson (Mister Tawky Tawny), Danica McKellar (Sally) and James Garner (Shazam).