Black Adam Review

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Black Adam
Director(s): Jaume Collet-Serra
Actor(s): Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Shahi, Viola Davis
Film Genre(s): Action , Adventure
Running Time: N/A

Something I’ve stood by since the beginning of the superhero genre surge was that Marvel mastered the movies, and DC mastered television. The last year has been a whirlwind for this class of media and with that I’m finding myself all turned around. Marvel has been making hit streaming shows while we’ve seen the end of several DCEU shows like The Flash and Arrow. While Marvel is banging out new shows, DC came out with Black Adam, which just about swayed me to the side of the DC film fans.

Before I get jumped in the comments, I am not deep in the lore of DC or Black Adam. I simply saw the film as a fan of the genre as a whole, and I needed a superhero fix. What I got instead, was an anti-hero. Though Black Adam fights for good causes, he does it in some of the most villainous ways possible. Fitting that Dwayne Johnson would be the face of the character, since the man has a smile that could make you melt, but a scowl that will send chills down your spine.

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Black Adam begins 5000 years ago with a fairly long voiced-over introduction to the character. We see what we think is how Black Adam got his powers, why he fights for what he does, and where he has been for centuries. Cutting to today, the world is still not a great place, and while trying to protect her city, Adrianna (Sarah Shahi) wakes the protector. However, the Justice Society catches wind of this awakening, and has ancient texts that depict him as a not-so-nice guy, bringing us plenty of superhero battles to keep things exciting.

Realistically, this story without The Justice Society would have been 2 hours of wasted bullets while The Rock launches people into the ocean. We are introduced to Atom-Smasher (Noah Centineo), Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Doctor Fate (Pierce freakin’ Brosnan) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell). Of course this is a team that doesn’t look like they belong together at all, yet somehow work.

“While Marvel is banging out new shows, DC came out with Black Adam, which just about swayed me to the side of the DC film fans.”

Let’s rip off the BAND-AID, James Bond is now a superhero. Is there anything this man can’t do? Brosnan and Johnson actually have some of my favourite banter in Black Adam. Though Doctor Fate and Hawkman are the mature members of the team and generally play the more serious characters compared to Atom-Smashers goofiness and Cyclone’s soft side, the small quips, asides and commentary given to them both bring a lot of laughs to the screen.

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Noah Centineo is known for romantic comedies thus far with The Perfect Date and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. It looks like the DCEU needed to fill the comedic hole that The Flash drama has created, and Centineo does it well. Though the jokes are cheap, and he is constantly clumsy, every superhero story needs that person (The Flash, Spider-Man). This is Black Adam’s.

The story has it all: drama, twists, action, and of course, a big motivational speech. Unfortunately, there are a few of these, and the main speech in question brings a lot more cheese to the screen than I’d like. This is pretty par for the course in the genre, but with Brosnan taking on the mentor role for a lot of characters, I’d hoped they wouldn’t come off quite as campy. Not to mention one or two that were just for effect and had almost no impact on what happens in the film.

“…the fierceness that Johnson has brought to the WWE and other films works perfectly for Black Adam.”

There are definitely some plot holes, and I was well-prepared to head into a superhero movie expecting them. For instance, why is a random team of superheroes doing whatever a random woman says? Don’t get me wrong, Sarah Shahi plays a serious mama-bear, but the entire story falls around the team falling into line with her, bringing her everywhere they go and letting her act with her heart and not with her head. You’d think they’d know better.

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The role of Black Adam was made for Dwayne Johnson. His first appearance was all the way back in 1945, but I’m quite positive someone knew this man was coming. If not, the writing team certainly knew how to create a script that would fit. The character has a touch of Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy, still hilarious, but always serious. That mixed with the fierceness that Johnson has brought to the WWE and other films works perfectly for Black Adam.

It seems like everything in Black Adam was inspired by something else. The effects throughout the film brought serious 300 and Dredd vibes. Slow-mo was out of control in every action scene. I’m convinced that the movie would have been half the length with it removed. Cyclone’s character was in a constant state of slow motion with brief pauses to emphasize her beauty. Here and there, slowing things down can have a great impact, but it is overused here. Then again, with how quick Black Adam can kill—and boy does he kill—we may have missed it.

Black Adam is an entertaining superhero film, especially for the DCEU. I would say it is one of the better ones when it comes to DC films, beating out 2021s Justice League. Though it can’t bring the drama you’ll see in a movie like Avengers: Endgame, with a cohesive story, character chemistry and chaotic action sequences, Black Adam is definitely worth a watch.

Final Thoughts


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