A film that is over 16 years in the making but not a film that audiences have been waiting 16 years to see.
‘Black Adam’ is a film that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been attempting to make since 2006. Due to a legal battle between Marvel Comics over the name Captain Marvel, a movie was not able to be made back in the mid-2000s.
In November of 2007, Dwayne Johnson displayed interest in playing Black Adam, However, the movie stayed in developmental hell for 10 years with many doubting that the film would ever see the light of day.
By 2018, the Black Adam project got the green light and the wait is over. Warner Bros Black Adam is set five thousand years in the past in the city of Kahndaq which is under the tyrannical rule of king Anh-Kot. Anh-Kot wants to create the Crown of Sabbac, a forged demonic crown that gives 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 Anh-Kot and ends his reign.
Fast forward to the present day and Khandaq is oppressed by the Intergang. Archaeologist Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) tries to locate the Crown of Sabbac but the Intergang ambushes them. Adrianna reads an incantation that awakens Adam from his slumber as he slaughters most of the Intergang troops. Now they have to deal with Adam who decides if he is going to take a role as hero or villain.
It’s been a rough year for superhero movies as 2022 has been an unimpressive slate of films by both Marvel and Warner Brothers. “Black Adam” is one of the better superhero movies of the year. A film that feels like a superhero Epic, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is an imposing figure as Black Adam and without question looks the part of a hero who acts as menacing as he is powerful.
The film features strong performances by Pierce Brosnan playing the role of Doctor Fate and Aldis Hodge as Hawkman. While Doctor Fate and Hawkman have great betrayal throughout the film, their onscreen counterparts Atom Smasher played by Noah Centineo, and Cyclone played by Quintessa Swindell are characters that don’t serve much of a purpose in the movie’s plot. Both characters feel unnecessary to the overall story and could have been written out altogether.
The CGI has the tendency to be hit or miss. A lot of work was put into the transitional shots of our superheroes to make them more impressive for the big screen. However, as the film gets deeper into the runtime, the CGI seems to lose effect and becomes more cartoonish as the film relies too much on blue screen.
The people of modern Khandaq serve another problem of the film’s narrative as people aren’t sympathetic enough to be portrayed as Black Adam’s motivation to be a better character. The film preaches an anti-imperialist message throughout which is odd given the context of the character of Black Adam. Due to Dwayne Johnson’s involvement in the movie, the villainous tendencies of the Black Adam character are toned down as the studio couldn’t find a creative way to make a film about an antagonist that didn’t interfere with The Rock’s popularity.
For a movie that’s well over 2 hours, the third act becomes over-bloated and cliche, serving a lot of similarities to the first Wonder Woman film that had a solid first and second act before stumbling in the third.
‘Black Adam’ is better than ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ and ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ but it doesn’t have the style to take down ‘The Batman’ for the best superhero film of 2022.
For audiences that are just looking for anything from Hollywood they can enjoy, Black Adam is a very satisfying superhero movie. Why in the hell did Warner Brothers push back ‘Shazam’ only to keep films like ‘Don’t Worry Darling’?
The world may never know.