Black Adam is a completely misguided movie, from its first scene to the post-credits. The movie that had everything to be the great revival of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU, its acronym) after a troubled period at Warner Bros , both management and creative, stumbles on a silly script, unnecessary hype and a series of vices that had already compromised other productions.
And I’m not just talking about the excess of unnecessary slow motion or the endless action scenes that make the film echo a Zack Snyder aesthetic that the studio has already given up once. The big problem with Black Adam is the fact that he doesn’t know for sure what he wants to be, pointing in all directions and trying to emulate a formula and a spirit that doesn’t belong to Warner, the DCEU, much less the character.
With the success of The Batman, we thought the studio had understood that a hero doesn’t need this mix of action and humor or references thrown on the screen, just a good story is enough for the plot to work. However, what we have is precisely an attempt to follow an already dated primer that does not bring anything new beyond a promise that does not materialize.
After spending years saying that Black Adam would change the balance of forces within DC, behold, the anti-hero arrives doing everything we are tired of seeing and becomes just one more among many in this already saturated basket.
Black Adam Review – Building the anti-hero
The main problem in the wrong direction that the film takes is in its protagonist. It’s not that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is Black Adam — but the opposite. In trying to adapt the controversial and even dubious character of the comics to the type of film that the star always tends to make, all the layers and what made the character interesting is pasteurized until it becomes just a blur of what he could be.
The idea of a Champion of Mages who has corrupted himself in the past and who becomes a threat to the present because of his distorted view of Justice and power is totally reduced to someone with a good heart who is only violent by being misunderstood and provoked at every turn. time. In a plot where everyone acts dumb, the destruction caused by Teth-Adam is even understandable.
The biggest example of how banal the script of Black Adam is is that it is exactly the same thing as The Samaritan , a film that Sylvester Stallone released a short time ago on Prime Video. The same dilemmas, the same twist and the same motivational message at the end: it’s the same story. In fact, even the annoying child is repeated here with the skateboard boy, which is one of the most annoying things in the entire film.
Okay, no one expected to see a comic book movie that was original and inventive, but it’s also not too much to ask that a production the size of Black Adam — and with all the anticipation and weight attached to it — was a little better than something released. straight to streaming. That’s the level of poverty.
And part of that is trying to fit the character into The Rock’s persona rather than the other way around — as you’d expect from an actor. So, we have this protagonist who is always tough, relentless and does what needs to be done, but the script doesn’t have the courage to put him as a possible villain. After all, a star like him wouldn’t do that kind of thing, right?
Although the characters repeat several times that heroes don’t kill and that Teth-Adam is wrong for acting more brutally, the truth is that nothing he does is really damning or compromising — at least not in the eyes of the script. At no point does he cross the line that distinguishes heroes from villains and makes the audience question whether they’re rooting for the right character. So this whole discussion becomes empty and silly.
This is even more evident when the Justice Society enters the picture. In theory, the group should represent this more classic vision of the hero to oppose Black Adam, even in an attempt to bring him to the light instead of letting him succumb to darkness. And behold, the group arrives to contain him, literally saying “Kneel or die”.
This is a small sample of how poor and even childish the Black Adam script is. He tries to cover himself with an almost adolescent view that a serious, adult story is one filled with violence, catchphrases and ironic jokes — and, not coincidentally, The Rock is a machine gun of all of that.
What the hell is the Justice Society
Not to say that the film is a tragedy from beginning to end, the Justice Society is really good. I mean, part of it.
Aldis Hodge plays an amazing Hawkman, who steals the show whenever he appears. Although the repetition of some situations gets a little tiring at times, he plays this role of team leader very well and his interactions with Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan) are very good. You buy that they are old mates and the chemistry between them works really well.
Old 007 himself is very good as this lord of the mystic arts. More than being a Doctor Strange with a bucket on his head, he manages to impress presence on the screen, even though he spends most of the film wanting to escape the conflict. Together, the two are the best thing about Black Adam by far.
On the other hand, the rest of the team is completely expendable. And not just because a mission of this level doesn’t make any sense to summon two inexperienced teenagers who aren’t part of the team, but because Atom Crusher (Noah Centineo) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell) are completely unnecessary to the plot. If these characters didn’t exist in the movie, nothing would change.
The girl is presented as someone very intelligent, but at no point is this required in the story. All it does is generate some pretty effects on the screen and guarantee a few slow motion moments to make sure you see and think it’s cool. The boy, on the other hand, tries to be the comic relief, but none of the jokes he tries to make yield more than an embarrassed, yellow laugh.
Is Black Adam worth watching?
I have no doubt that Black Adam will be a hit — especially among the folks who still revere Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Zack Snyder’s Justice League . Like these films, the new DC Extended Universe (DCEU) feature shows that not only does it not understand the characters it is working with, but it bets only and solely on incredible visuals to make up a mediocre story.
Of course, there are great eye-popping moments. Over two hours of film, much of it is dedicated to a lot of explosion and destruction in sequences that are breathtaking – even with an exaggerated use of slow motion – and that show that Teth-Adam is really an unstoppable force. But in the end, they don’t advance the story because there’s just barely one being told. At most, a bunch of clichés and some silly skits, like the gunslinger duel scene.
In the end, Black Adam seems to have been released a decade ago, when this formula of hero movies was still new, but arriving in theaters at a time when we are increasingly questioning this very structure. Not even the antihero idea is surprising, being much better executed elsewhere, like The Boys, for example.
With so much explosion and destruction, it’s easy to buy into the idea that The Rock has sold so much, that the scale of power within DC has shifted. But at the same time, it’s clear that certain things don’t change at Warner, such as the inability to understand what makes their characters interesting and that certain stories don’t rely on forced humor or non-stop outbursts. In fact, we just want a good script. And at that point, Black Adam is as weak as an Ant-Man.