To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right Shazam! Ticket

Shazam Mark Strong lightning zaps something in front of Zachary Levi

This weekend, one magic word unlocked excitement, adventure, and comedy: Shazam! It certainly feels like magic, as another opportunity for the DC Comics universe to course correct seems to have paid off magnificently. And, of course, with a new chance at box office glory comes another spin of the To 3D or Not To 3D wheel that comes round with pretty much every superhero movie.

If you’re looking for our official review on Shazam!, then you can head out to see what we thought of the movie in detail. However, if you’re wondering whether you should spend the extra 3D ticket money, or save it for a bid on lunch with Superman, then you’re in the right place. Slip your glasses on, and take a trip with us into the lair of 3D movies, as we discuss whether or not this particular film is worth your hard-earned cash.

Saying Shazam! doesn’t fit 3D is like saying capes look ridiculous on superheroes. Both mediums are practically made for each other, and with all of the action and excitement that takes place in director David F. Sandberg’s hero story, it looks like a natural fit. There’s a lot of flying, a lot of lightning action, and even some evil beasties that have the potential to grab the audience’s eyes. So it feels like 3D should be a slam dunk.

Unfortunately, as exciting as Shazam’s 3D conversion should be, the reality is that the finished conversion is ok at best. With all of the potential for visual excitement in a film that occupies such a popular moviegoing genre, the extra visual flare only really shows up in particular circumstances throughout the film. Typical fields like brightness and audience health are ok, but there’s a genuine lack of blur that certainly indicates the lack of any visual assets coming out of the screen. Even the depth of picture displayed in Shazam! seems to stop short of impressive.

Other than the odd scene that includes someone pointing at the screen, or Shazam knocking over an ATM with his lightning powers, there’s a lot of missed opportunities that aren’t taken with the 3D conversion’s ability to project into the audience. Moments like Shazam and Dr. Sivana engaged in high flying combat, or even the third act closer at the Chilladelphia Holiday Festival, could have had more visual flare to their proceedings. But sadly, not even the presence of the Seven Deadly Sins could bewitch the thrills off the screen.

Thankfully, Shazam’s depth of picture isn’t as much of a disappointment, as it does a pretty fair job drawing distance in the picture. Characters are properly spaced from each other, as well as their environments, so the foundation is strong and steady beyond the window. Past that point, the results are mixed, as the depths aren’t as infinite as they can be -- and they could be really deep in certain scenes of action, as well as wider shots of the film’s visual canvas.

For a film that has as many dark places and night shots as Shazam! does, there's no real problem with the brightness factor in the film overall. The usual dimming that takes over when putting on 3D glasses is still present, but besides that, it’s pretty crisp and clear to behold. Keep in mind, your mileage may vary, as various theaters take care of their projection rigs to different degrees; particularly when switching between 2D and 3D. But in the case of Shazam!, the theater that was used for comparison had a very bright projector, as the light levels were much brighter when the glasses were slipped off.

While slipping off the 3D glasses for any film using the premium format of the third dimension, you’ll usually notice a degree of blur is employed to create and enhance the 3D picture you’re supposedly seeing on the screen. Sometimes there’s 2D anchor points that draw certain objects or persons very little/no blur, allowing the rest of the scene to draw more blur in the picture. That said, with Shazam’s 3D conversion, there are more pieces that are drawn in 2D than one would expect. Even worse, there’s a lot of front and center real estate on the screen that’s shown with very little blur, which is fine for making background shots with tons of blur stand out, but does little for the characters we’re following on screen.

Sometimes, if 3D is done wrong, it gives the audience a huge headache, a bit of a nauseous feeling in their stomach, and some eye strain to complete the hat trick of discomfort. Shazam! never falls into any of those traps, as the entire picture is smooth sailing for the moviegoer. While certain pieces of this movie’s third dimensional enhancements don’t jump into the realm of the impressive, at the very least it’s not a hard film to watch if you choose to go to town in 3D.

Shazam! is ok in 3D, but it’s a conversion that could have been much better if given the opportunity to flourish. It’s not a waste of time if you choose to go and see it with the extra visual perspective; so if you’re not a 3D addict, you shouldn’t have a problem jumping right in. However, if you’re a regular citizen of the third dimension, you’ll probably want to skip this one and save the money.

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Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.