Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Quintessa Swindell, Marwan Kenzari, Pierce Brosnan
Even before press screening time, word’s already gotten out to not expect much from Collet-Serra’s latest collaboration with The Rock, having directed the star in Disney’s Jungle Cruise (2021) previously. But this may have helped its cause. I went into Black Adam with low expectations, and when you start at the bottom, there’s no way to go but up, right?
Black Adam is set during ancient times, in a land called Kahndaq. Through the power of Shazam, a young slave boy rebels and takes down an evil and tyrannical ruler, Ahk-Ton (Kenzari), who had created a powerful crown that was lost in antiquity. Switch to the present day, an ominous organization is searching for this crown of great power. Archaeologist Adrianna Tomaz (Shahi) finds the crown and invokes Teth-Adam (Johnson) to wake in a perilous moment. Mayhem ensues, with lots of explosions, one-liners and gratuitous CGI.
Seem complicated? Not really – but if you got lost during that plot synopsis, that’s ok. Once the movie begins, it’s fairly easy to follow – to a fault. The action, storyline, and characters are all a bit too familiar as expected. But if we were to pinpoint some things…
Teth-Adam’s (or Black Adam as he will eventually be known) origin story feels pretty run-of-the-mill and not as involving as other stories we’ve seen in the DC or Marvel universe. The characters feel like archetypes of grade school storybooks of ancient civilizations and overly generalized. In addition, the Rock’s performance is pretty “stoic”, almost Schwarzenneger-like, complete with one-liners – though not as memorable. But the Rock’s charm seems to rise above these shortcomings – I mean the guy is made to play these types of characters and it was only a matter of time until he would star in a DC or Marvel vehicle.
Added to the mix is Hodges (Hawkman), who tries to provide the acting intensity as Black Adam’s foil and his performance is admirable. But the real spice here is Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate, admittedly my favorite character of the movie. He adds an air of respectability to the film and becomes the movie’s moral compass if you will. Now, a Dr. Fate origin movie would be quite something to see, for me at least.
Black Adam follows in DC’s crowd-pleasing footsteps by adding light dialogue and even a post-credits scene (kind of). This strategy works up to a point until you really start to think about it. Overall, the film is cookie-cutter in design, with predictable characters, plot, and narrative structure. But what’s interesting is that I was quite entertained watching Black Adam. And that’s due to the Rock’s charisma and Brosnan’s casting, as well as the Zach Snyder/Man of Steel-inspired action sequences which were quite good in some moments.
As a comic book kid growing up in the 80s, I would eat this type of stuff up on paper, and could only dream of such a thing to translate onto the screen. Now that it’s all possible with today’s technology, it’s easy to dismiss these flicks as theme park rides, which I agree they kind of is. But sometimes, we all need to ride that roller coaster: The wait is long, the ride short, and a few laughs going through the tunnels – and we all go home and have a good night’s sleep and not give it another thought. Black Adam is one such ride and that is totally ok.
Have you seen BLACK ADAM? Well, what did you think?
12 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: Black Adam (2022)”
I’ll probably watch this when it’s on HBOMax (once I have access to it until it becomes Warner-Discovery (BLECH!!!!!)) just to complete the DCEU.
Ahah my sentiments exactly. I should have mentioned it’s an improvement over Momoa and Aquaman!
Hey, I like Jason Momoa and Aquaman. If anything, they should get someone else to play Merida instead of that lying bitch whose surname rhymes with Turd.
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I’m officially in the superhero fatigue camp, I have no excitement to see any superhero films at all. Especially this one, it looks just like every other highly produced and overly CGI’d films from DC and Marvel. Maybe I’m just getting old, lol!
I hear ya man. It’s light fare for sure. But I can understand why it’s fatiguing. Nothing we haven’t seen before.
I’m w/ Ted that I’m getting superhero fatigue, hence I skipped seeing this one. At the same time, I am excited to see Wakanda Forever tomorrow night, I feel like Black Panther sort of bucks the trend from the superhero genre and I know I’ll be bringing tissues!
Yes, super excited for that one as well!
I can’t even get excited for Wakanda Forever, I’ll eventually watch it someday. But as of now, I can’t find any excitement for any super hero film. Now, if they start releasing superhero films similar to The Batman, then I would be more excited. I prefer the more grounded and less CGI flicks these days.
I’m sure I’ll eventually get to watching Black Adam. It’s just unlikely to happen this month. Well, unless someone close to me insists that I accompany them. 😁