There comes the point in entertainment when things become so saturated with something that you cannot stand the sight of any more of that thing. Superhero movies are at that point for many; the sheer number of superhero movies released in the past five years is mind-boggling. Combine the saturation of superhero movies and Dwayne Johnson movies, and I’m drowning over here. That’s why I thought Black Adam would be a movie I would hate without question.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
I’ve made it no secret that I’ve been getting tired of Dwayne Johnson due to his ability to play one role, The Rock. Don’t get me wrong, I like Dwayne Johnson, and he’s made some fun and entertaining movies, but he’s always the same guy in every one of them, including Black Adam. So I cringed when my son asked to watch the film, and I came out not as disappointed as I thought I would be.
***CAUTION: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD***
Table of contents
- Dwayne Johnson: Black Adam / Teth Adam
- Aldis Hodge: Hawkman / Carter Hall
- Pierce Brosnan: Dr. Fate / Kent Nelson
- Noah Centineo: Atom Smasher / Al Rothstein
- Sarah Shahi: Adrianna Tomaz
- Quintessa Swindell: Cyclone / Maxine Hunkel
- Marwan Kenzari: Ishmael / Sabbac / King Ahk-Ton
- Bodhi Sabongui: Amon Tomaz
- Mohammed Amer: Karim
- James Cusati-Moyer: Samir
- Jalon Christian: Hurut
Five thousand years ago, the city of Kahndaq was under the tyrannical rule of king Ahk-Ton, who intended to create the Crown of Sabbac, which is known to give the wearer great power. After enslaving his people and forcing them to dig for “Eternium” – the magical crystal needed to create the crown – a young boy leads the slaves to revolt against him. When the boy is given the power of Shazam, transforming him into Kahndaq’s heroic champion Teth-Adam, he kills Ahk-Ton and ends his reign.
In the present day, Khandaq is oppressed by the Intergang. Archaeologist Adrianna Tomaz tries to locate the Crown of Sabbac, with the help of her brother Karim, and colleagues Samir and Ishmael. As Adrianna obtains the crown, they are ambushed by the Intergang, killing Samir in the process. Adrianna accidentally reads an incantation which awakens Adam from his slumber, who subsequently slaughters most of the Intergang troops. After an Intergang soldier shoots an Eternium rocket at Adam which renders him comatose, it is revealed that Ishmael is an Intergang member who intends to take the crown for himself.DC Extended Universe Wiki
The casting for Black Adam is a mixed bag, as were the performances. As much as I’m tired of Dwayne Johnson in every other movie coming out these days, his casting as Black Adam was mainly on target. Johnson has the physic and presence for the character, but the dialogue written for the character was something I felt he didn’t pull off well enough.
The background and lore of Khandaq seem to be wrapped in bits and pieces of Egyptian and Middle Eastern history, and Johnson was not believable in that capacity. He often floated between delivering lines as Teth Adams and The Rock. Still, his build and presence were enough to help me look past the finer details and appreciate his anti-hero presentation, which he did pretty well.
The rest of the supporting cast, Cyclone, Hawkman, and Atom Smasher, were average in their performances. Many of the supporting performances were modeled on personalities and characters from other famous superhero movies. The other minor supporting characters were cliched copy/paste content made to fill in an already weak storyline.
Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate was the one saving grace in a supporting role. While the character felt too much like Doctor Strange, Brosnan managed to bring a good amount of life to the part. Brosnan was probably the most seasoned actor in the production, and it showed. While he was given as much of a vanilla superhero as the rest, he turned it into something worth watching. It’s just too bad there wasn’t more of him, and they killed him.
Overall, the casting for Black Adam wasn’t horrible. It was simply average, except for Pierce Brosnan. There aren’t any award-winning performances here, not even from Brosnan, but it wasn’t the worst I’ve ever seen.
The production value of Black Adam was high; I feel they did invest good resources into the special effects and sets. There were a few instances where I felt the CGI was not believable, but they were few and not enough to make me roll my eyes and scoff.
The storyline was relatively weak and basic. Character development was rapid, with little value placed in giving context to their origin or relationships. I realize things are rapidly changing in the DCU, and Black Adam may not even be a part of the new world, but I felt the story could have been stronger.
With that said, I did appreciate that this superhero movie kept away from relationships, romance, and gratuitous female body shots. There is plenty of violence, killing, and swearing, and it has earned its PG-13 rating. I was happy to have an action movie that didn’t feel the need to go all Michael Bay with boob and butt shots every few minutes.
The production value of Black Adam was decent, it has its weak points, but overall I appreciated it.
No, Black Adam shouldn’t win any awards in any category across the board. But I do appreciate the straightforward action/superhero presentation without unneeded distractions. It’s not a deep thinkers movie. Grab the popcorn and your favorite beverage, sit back, tune out, and watch The Rock beat and kill people. There’s a place for this sort of movie; sometimes, it’s just fun not to think about what you’re watching too profoundly.
Black Adam makes for a great rental, or buy it somewhere on sale, don’t pay full price for it; if you didn’t go to the theater to see it, you saved yourself some money.
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- Great special effects
- No nonsense simple superhero/antihero story
- Pierce Brosnan gave the best performance
- No unneeded relational/romance story lines
- Free from intimate adult scenarios
- Dwayne Johnson is still The Rock in every character he takes on
- Some of the CGI was not believable
- Story was a little weak