Black Adam Review: Dwayne Johnson Lifts a Super Regular Movie

“Dwayne Johnson is the best part of Black Adam, a disappointing movie that repeats many of the mistakes of previous DCEU movies.”


  • Dwayne Johnson’s hilarious performance

  • Pierce Brosnan’s Dr. Fate is an emerging character

  • Silly, popcorn entertainment


  • messy story

  • CG-driven predictable final battle

  • Confused and contradictory tone.

At this point, it’s reasonable not to realize that the “DC Extended Universe” is still in active development. From its multitude of canceled or delayed projects, to the near-constant stream of controversies surrounding DCEU movies and shows, to all of the well-publicized studio dysfunction behind the scenes, it’s surprising that any project hits the screen in the midst of all that. chaos.

And yet, black adam it finally made it to theaters, a feat seemingly accomplished through the sheer force of will of its star, Dwayne Johnson, who has been dragging it into production for over a decade.

It’s also a good movie, mainly due to Johnson’s boundless charisma, but it’s far from the course-correcting cinematic spectacle the DCEU desperately needs.

Dwayne Johnson walks towards the camera as Black Adam.

Equipment Assembly

Directed by jungle cruise Y Orphan filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra, black adam features Johnson as Teth-Adam, a former slave given the powers of the Egyptian gods to protect humanity, only to end up destroying his homeland of Kahndaq while seeking revenge for his murdered family. Imprisoned for over 5,000 years by the same wizards who imbued him with nearly invincible power, Teth-Adam is awakened by an archaeologist seeking a powerful relic to free modern Kahndaq from a vicious network of mercenaries. Teth-Adam’s explosive resurrection and the resulting massacre of the mercenaries soon put him on the radar of the Justice Society of America, a team of superheroes tasked with keeping international peace, who must decide if he is a potential enemy or a threat. world ally.

Johnson joins the cast of Aldis Hodge (Straight out of Compton, one night in miami) as JSA leader Carter Hall (aka Hawkman), Pierce Brosnan (golden eye) as superhero sorcerer Kent Nelson (aka Doctor Fate), Quintessa Swindell (Travellers) as wind-bending heroine Maxine Hunkel (aka Cyclone), and Noah Centineo (To all the boys I’ve loved before) as the size-changing would-be hero Al Rothstein (aka Atom Smasher).

Aside from the superpowered characters in the film, Sarah Shahi (sex/life) portrays the archaeologist who awakens Teth-Adam, Bodhi Sabongui (the babysitters club) plays his son, and comedian and actor Mohammed Amer (Month) plays his brother. Marwan Kenzari (Aladdin) plays the member of Intergang in search of the powerful relic known as the Crown of Sabbac.

It’s a crowded cast, but as the title suggests, Johnson’s superpowered character is the focal point of the story, and his performance often brings him back into focus whenever the meandering, overloaded narrative begins to ramble.

Dwayne Johnson stares at Aldis Hodge in a scene from Black Adam.

no hero

For much of the movie, black adam it feels like a project that doesn’t know exactly what kind of movie it wants to be, and as such borrows elements from several previous DCEU movies. That would be fine if the DCEU movies maintained a relatively consistent tone similar to their Marvel counterparts, but franchise studio Warner Bros. prides itself on allowing each DCEU movie to provide a standalone experience.

the tone of black adam silly superhero pranks pinballs of 2019 Shazam! to the darker filter of the grim and gritty version and avers the hero of Zack Snyder’s DC Comics universe to the 2018 computer-fed muscled action show aquaman over and over, leaving little time for any overall aesthetic to take root. Johnson’s Teth-Adam, forced to remind everyone that he’s not a hero and is totally okay with killing people at least once every five minutes, jumps between anguished contemplation of his tragic backstory and tries to nail a snappy tagline, alternately injecting humor. and desolation at times when they seemingly don’t belong.

The film’s decision to make Teth-Adam’s willingness to kill villains its main and defining characteristic is also puzzling given that the WB and DCEU filmmakers have spent a decade insisting that superhero characters who kill people don’t it’s a big deal. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and countless other DCEU heroes have killed hundreds of villains in their DCEU movies, so the suggestion that Teth-Adam’s approach to justice is somehow at odds with what the world understands that they are superheroes feels forced (at best) into black adamand borders on laughably unconscious the more often this sentiment is reiterated in the film.

Dwayne Johnson shoots a lightning bolt from his hand in a scene from Black Adam.

Who hits who?

black adam also borrows from one of the most maligned recurring elements of the DCEU movies to date, closing with a CG-driven villain battle that’s so immersed in digital effects that it would look just as (if not more) comfortable in a scene from videogame.

This is an issue that isn’t reserved for just DCEU movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made that mistake more than once too, but it’s been a particularly underwhelming element in some of the studio’s standout movies so far. Wonder Woman Y aquamantwo of the best DCEU movies to date, both concluded with frenetic and confusing sequences of CG mayhem that ended entertaining adventures on a negative note, while movies like League of Justice Y suicide squad (the 2016 film, not James Gunn’s 2021 reboot) turned into glorified game cinematics almost every time the action unfolded.

Johnson is one of the most capable action actors in Hollywood these days, so it’s a shame to see him reduced to a head in a motion capture suit, all wrapped up in visual effects, as is often the case in black adam.

Piwerce Brosnan puts his hand on Dwayne Johnson's chest in a scene from Black Adam.

super featured

Still, when black adam let Johnson have fun with the role, the film is at its best.

Johnson is endlessly fun to watch in just about everything he does, and it’s his charm and charisma that elevate black adam above its long list of flaws. He’s the rare actor who can effortlessly alternate between heartbreaking pathos, grinning humor, and intimidating self-assurance, and he puts all of these, and more, often-used acting aspects on film. Without him, black adam it’s one of the worst DCEU movies to date, but with it, it’s an entertaining experience that sits somewhere in the top tier of tickets in a frustratingly underwhelming cinematic universe.

While the crowded cast doesn’t have standout performances from anyone other than Johnson, Brosnan delivers a memorable performance as the enigmatic Doctor Fate, who feels like the supporting character who most deserves another appearance in the DCEU. Both Swindell and Centineo are also fun to watch in limited screen time, though that has more to do with the spectacle of their powers than their performances in the film, which doesn’t give them much to work with as characters when they don’t. are. engaged in battle.

Too little too late

Despite black adam manages to be an entertaining movie thanks to its star’s performance, even Johnson himself can’t handle all the heavy lifting required to turn the film into the franchise-turning project the studio seems to hope it will be.

Flashy and funny at times, but too reliant on its star and a cohesive vision for the DCEU that neither projects nor exists at the moment, black adam offers mountains of potential without much reward. Audiences looking for an escapist adventure without any significant mental or emotional connection to the story, preferably with bright colors, lots of explosions, and embarrassing jokes, will probably walk away. black adam satisfied. However, those looking for something deeper are likely to be less than happy with the film’s return on investment.

It’s no secret that the DCEU needs something big to turn it around and unlock its potential, and unfortunately, black adam It’s not that project. It is, however, a relatively entertaining film. For now, it looks like that will have to work.

Warner Bros Pictures black adam it’s in theaters now. For a spoiler-filled overview of the film, including the explosive ending, check out our Black Adam ending explained article.

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