Black Adam

It has seemed like forever since Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was announced as taking up the role of DC Comics anti-hero/villain Black Adam. In fact, it was way back in 2014 that Johnson was announced for the role and that he would star in his own film. Johnson had been attached to the character previously as well. Through the chaos that has been the DCEU and the troubles with COVID-19, Black Adam has been delayed and pushed back many times. Finally, the big tentpole film debuted this weekend in theaters around the world.

Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) was freed from his mystical prison by Adrianna (Sarah Shahi) when she was being pursued by Intergang because she had a powerful relic from the past. The return of the god-like being attracted the Justice Society, led by Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan), who were dispatched to capture Black Adam and take him to a specially designed cell.

This movie is quite messy, but at times it is highly entertaining. The scenes featuring Dwayne Johnson were awesome. Most of the action scenes with Black Adam wrecking Intergang members were fantastic and the Black Adam/Justice Society super powered battles were fun.

The opening exposition dump, which showed us the (sort of) origin of Black Adam was terrible for me. It really dragged and did not create the intended emotional kick that it wanted. Dwayne Johnson was not in that opening which definitely hurt it.

When the film tried to toss in a humorous moment, they almost exclusively did not work. They felt off because Black Adam seemed really stoic for most of the movie. The film tried to make Black Adam seem like a fish out of water, but it was not very successful and there were times when it felt as if he was doing his Arnold imitation from T2: Judgment Day, especially his interactions with kid Amon (Bodhi Sabongui).

I found the inclusion of Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell) and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) to be wastes of time. They were not given much to do, but to be other members of the Justice Society.

The film looked tremendous and had spectacular effects for most of the film. Some of the third act big battle CGI was iffy at times, but most of the action worked well. The times when Black Adam was flying around in the sky was especially epic and his use of electricity bolts looked great every time.

Speaking of that third act, it was not my favorite section of the film. Honestly, it felt as if the movie was over when it suddenly leaped into the CGI-riddled third act. I did enjoy the very end of the third act though as it provided a reasonably satisfying end. The villain of the movie was very weak and uninspired.

There is a great mid credit scene that has been spoiled all over the place on the internet (which I will not spoil here). The mid credit scene sets up a really exciting possible future for the DCEU and the character of Black Adam.

I did like some of the deeper ideas that were tossed out during Black Adam, though I do not think they really developed them very well. There was a moment when Adrianna chastised Hawkman for never coming to their country to help with the invading Intergang and only coming when their local “protector/hero” with massive power arrived on the scene. That was an intriguing idea of world politics and the use of heroes in the universe, but it was not focused on after that moment.

I also enjoyed the question of what makes a hero that the film brought up and the contradiction between Black Adam and The Justice Society, particularly Hawkman. This idea was used much more than the previous theme.

I loved Dr. Fate and Hawkman. Both were outstanding and were played wonderfully by Aldis Hodge and Pierce Brosnan. Both characters had awesome design as well with Hawkman’s wings and Fate’s helmet being huge positives. The other two Justice Society members looked fine and were designed well, but I just did not enjoy them much.

Overall, I think Black Adam was a fun time at the theater. The beginning of the movie was not good and it had plenty of flaws, but Black Adam stood out in a positive way and Hawkman and Dr. Fate were awesome additions. The film looked great and does survive a weak third act and a lackluster villain. I would like to see a little more charisma from Black Adam, considering he is being played by “the most electrifying man in all of sports-entertainment. “

I would look forward to seeing Black Adam again in future films, so this movie is a success in that manner.

3.4 stars

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