Black Adam has been a project in the making for about fifteen years now. Dwayne Johnson was a fan of the DCEU and DC comics in general but he wanted to see a different area of the universe explored as in The Justice Society of America and not Superman and Batman. So he was interested in the whole Black Adam story not to mention he kind of looks like him as well. That’s the birth of this film that is now out in cinemas worldwide. It’s been a long road to get here for Dwayne Johnson but I’m sure it was worth the wait.
In Kahndaq 2600 BC a slave, Teth Adam (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), discovers the power of the Gods after his family has been persecuted. He was chosen to be the hero of this country but the power went to his head and he was imprisoned for using the power in the wrong way. Some 5,000 years later he was accidentally released by a woman who is trying to help her son. He becomes friends with the woman, Isis (Sarah Shahi), and her son and helps them fight their war on Inter Gang, a group of zealots who have taken over their country. Releasing him has raised the eye of an old superhero group known as The Justice Society. Led by Carter Hall/Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) He assembles a few others to go on a mission to confront Teth Adam/Black Adam Kent Nelson/Doctor. Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) This mission is harder than they think. Black Adam isn’t an easy man to take down.
Black Adam is known as an antihero, a man who plays by his own rules. He also has his own code based on his belief system which is a plot of revenge because of being imprisoned all these years before. Until things become confusing because of The Justice Society. The modern-day heroes try to get through to him but he’s not having any of it. This is where the writing of the movie comes in. The script is very good at showing the mindset and motivations behind characters’ decisions, especially of Black Atom. This film is named after him so his mindset and how he thinks are the main focus of the plot. And as fans know this story can only go in one direction. It does have a few twists and turns along the way.
Jaume Collet Serra has worked with Dwayne Johnson before on his last movie Jungle Cruise. So they already have a shorthand relationship with each other. This makes this film easier to see from this perspective. Dwayne Johnson plays this character differently than other roles he has played. He has been using his comedy chops lately but he tends to be serious and hard in this film. It’s still an action film though and all the action is pretty amazing. The fight scenes are awesome. Sierra created a cool way of filming these and how they unfold on screen is great. I couldn’t have seen anyone else in this role or film as this character. He perfect!
Along with the action sequences in the film also go the cinematography. They go hand in hand in this particular instance. There are great visual sequences by Lawrence Sher that incorporate the visual effects and the action scenes together. These sequences throughout the film were incredible. The DCEU has always had its own flare and look about how its movies are filmed but this one was a cut above the rest in its style from these perspectives. It’s some of the best action/visuals I’ve seen all year. They literally took my breath away at various moments in the film. The DC movies this year have been the best superhero films so far with one more to go, Wakanda Forever.
Besides Dwayne Johnson being all stoic and serious, the other actors in Black Adam were pretty good. Noticeably Pierce Brosnan. He was given a lot of tough dialogue and interesting aspects to his character, similar to Doctor Strange in the MCU. He makes the most of what he is given even though a lot of his character is shrouded in visual effects. He has funny banter with Hodge’s Hawkman and a few one-liners to boot. The other newer actors I didn’t know before this film were also pretty good. Everybody fit in nicely to what and who their characters were. Also, there was a bit of levity which helped break up all the serious story beats. Which benefited the movie more.
Black Adam was a change of pace from the other films in the DCEU. It wasn’t a dark and brooding film even though it focused on a dark and brooding character. Johnson put away his comedy chops for this darker more serious character. This served the movie better overall. That look I was talking about was also pretty cool. The cinematographer Sher used the brightness of the desert landscape to give the film a lighter look. Which in turn worked hand in hand with the visual effects and fight scenes. The fight choreography was pretty awesome with the visual effects added in. The overall story of the movie could have been a bit tighter but otherwise than that this was an enjoyable experience. Johnson’s long journey to get this film made was worth the wait. And with this character’s connection with Shazam, who knows where it could go in the future?
3 ½ stars
Dan Skip Allen