Black Adam

Released: 21st October 2022
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Sarah Sahi, Marwan Kenzari, Quintessa Swindell, Mo Amer, Pierce Brosnan

Dwayne Johnson makes his long awaited debut as the fearsome Black Adam in quite a surprisingly entertaining addition to the DC Extended Universe. As time moved on you started to wonder whether this movie would ever see the light of day with Johnson being attached to the role as early as 2007 and development of it was extremely stop/start for the last 10 years. Nevertheless Johnson’s commitment to the project and his devotion to making it happen paid off as Teth-Adam’s introduction is an acceptable story that opens up so much potential for DC movies moving forward.

The Rock is one of those actors that no matter what movie he makes you can always find some sort of enjoyment out of it, I mean he’s the most electrifying man in all of sports (and film) entertainment. He pushes the boundaries with his performance in Black Adam though by giving us a very menacing and sinister display as the powerful anti-hero, enraged with god like abilities. Johnson’s performance gives space for very little humour, very different to his normal routine that we are used to. The character of Teth-Adam is unlike any DC lead we have seen before and the movie shows this by his effortless approach to killing anyone in his sight and his misconception of what justice means.

Speaking of justice, Teth-Adam believes that killing is his only option and this gets the attention of the returning Amanda Waller who in turn seeks help front the Justice Society of America. Seeing some of DC’s golden age heroes make an appearance and be done in such sublime fashion is one of the movie’s highlights particularly Dr Fate played by Pierce Brosnan. This is another fine bit of comic book casting as Brosnan shines in the role of the mystical sorcerer and he brings heart to the story with his friendship with fellow JSA member Carter Hall aka Hawkman played by Aldis Hodge. These two experienced heroes seem like they have been through it all and the movie touches quite heavily on their relationship.

Before they eventually go face-to-face with Black Adam they need to ensure that their team has what it needs and to do that they need to call upon a few additions. The two new recruits of Atom Smasher, played by Noah Centineo, and Cyclone, played by Quitnessa Swindell, have their own moments to shine and bring a youthful feel to the group. There are some really emotional scenes involving both Fate and Hawkman but these are blended quite well with the few laughs we get as Atom Smasher struggles to come to terms with superhero life.

The action set pieces are to be expected, Black Adam obliterating most things in his path and there are some nice shots that highlight most of the JSA in their element when they arrive to deal with Black Adam in his home country of Kahndaq, the movie’s primary location. Unlike the recent Marvel movies that have came under. a lot of criticism for its visual effects, I need to highlight how well the CGI shots are in Black Adam, from Hawkman’s wings to Dr Fate’s spells everything is pretty glittering on the eye. I found it funny that Black Adam levitated for practically the whole movie, there’s points everyone is standing and he’s a few inches off the ground for no reason. I guess you could argue he does this to assert his authority over everyone but it became quite amusing as the movie played out.

I always speak about what a good musical score can do to enhance a film and Black Adam‘s does that by creating such a powerful and darkened main theme for it’s titular star. Lorne Balfe’s score fits the tone of the movie superbly and the main Adam theme is one that will hopefully stick around for a while.

My only main issue with the story is its villain, the movie sort of rushes into a final act involving the villain Ishmael who bestows great powers of the demon creature Sabbac. Black Adam needs to defeat him in order to stop…I’m not really sure what its to stop but there’s a final fight involving the two anyway. With help from the JSA, Adam is able to live up to his heroic potential and the onscreen teamwork of them all is quite entertaining to watch but at the expense of an extremely weak villain.

What I expected with Black Adam is what I got, it wasn’t anything spectacular nor was it a disaster that DC have been accustomed to over the last few years. It’s a strong debut for The Rock and I am glad to see it as you can tell he’s put a lot of passion into making this movie happen over the last few years. Not only that but Black Adam offers a glimmer of hope for the DCEU as a whole, hope that there are new characters out there that can be used in the correct manner. It paves the way for what could be a bright future for DC and its something that fans should be excited for.

Rating – 7/10

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