black adam delivers the kind of entertainment that’s likely to have a good response from mainstream audiences but mixed reactions from critics. The latest comic book movie from Warner Bros. is action-packed, has plenty of humor sprinkled throughout, and it has plenty of fan service when it comes to embracing and expanding the DC Extended Universe. For critics, some things will stand out: a stark villain, a mostly formulaic story, and an all-too-familiar third act. However, most audiences will probably appreciate black adam like pure popcorn entertainment.
Dwayne The Rock Johnson announcement he landed the role of Teth-Adam, aka Black Adam, in 2014. The fan-favorite actor has built a reputation as the quintessential modern action hero. He’s tough in a fight while winning over the audience with a charming smile or one-liner. It’s what he’s known for, and it’s something he does exceptionally in his other films. Comic book fans know that Teth-Adam isn’t your traditional action hero, and having him regularly joke and smile would be a bad move. Thankfully, Johnson does the character justice and brings back the charisma for a badass performance that’s gritty, confident and determined, with just the right amount of depth and dry humor. While his exterior is tough and imposing, Johnson also infuses just enough emotion and empathy into the character for viewers to see that deep inside him there’s a man with the potential to do good… or at least what he perceives as good.
Sure, there’s a certain levity in the fact that the character doesn’t experience the modern world when he’s brought back to life after nearly 5,000 years, but it’s never at the expense of Teth-Adam or for make him look silly. From start to finish, Johnson does a great job of introducing Black Adam to the world. Would it have been nice if they kept the design closer to the comics, especially with the hair? Yes, but this is an adaptation, and by the end of the movie, the costume itself looks like it’s straight out of the pages of a comic book.
Director Jaume Collet-Serra and screenwriters Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani do a solid job of embracing the DC Extended Universe while expanding it. While DCEU releases over the past few years have acknowledged other elements of the shared universe, black adam feels like the first project in years to take on multiple parts of this universe while also focusing on setting something big for its future. It’s refreshing to see them playing with so many toys in this cinematic sandbox while acknowledging each other and having ambitious plans for what’s next.
The opening of black adam is really heavy on exposition, but once things get going, the movie has a nice pacing as it jumps from action scene to action scene. The structure and final act, which includes a skyward beam and a giant CGI battle, looks like something viewers have seen many times before at this point, but there are enough crowd-pleasing moments here to keeping things exciting and just interesting enough, especially when it comes to Black Adam’s full story. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of depth to the big bad, and he’s ultimately there to provide a ton of action in the final act. However, it’s easy to overlook this, since the main focus of the film is to introduce audiences to the character of Black Adam – his power, his brutality, his morality – which the film easily accomplishes.
As for the Justice Society of America, Pierce Brosnan’s Doctor Fate and Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman are the clear stars, and the decision to give them more screen time helps center some of them. black adamthe main themes. Hodge’s character is there to underscore the clash between Black Adam’s ethos and the black-and-white worldview of a more traditional hero, while Pierce’s character delves into the magical side of the story and , obviously, is a key player in how things play out. . Although Noah Centineo’s Atom Smasher and Quintessa Swindell’s Cyclone get plenty of action sequences, they’re mostly there as supporting characters; however, there’s just enough depth implied, which could lead to more meaningful arcs for them in future movies.
The cinematography (Lawrence Sher), score (Lorne Balfe) and editing (John Lee, Michael L. Sale) all do a solid job complementing black adam tone, which covers epic spectacle, heartbreak, and light beats. All in all, it’s a great movie with great, easy-to-follow action, and while it can sometimes go a bit too far with slow motion, slowing things down helps bring some cool moments to life and put more focus on some huge successes.
For viewers who want popcorn entertainment, black adam delivers and sets up something that could be really exciting for the future of the DCEU. It’s unclear how the DCEU will take advantage of this, even with the flash, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdomand Shazam! Fury of the gods scheduled for 2023. For now, black adam did enough to ensure that viewers will be eager to see what the character does next in the DCEU. I’m crossing my fingers that they’re headed for something loosely inspired by WWIII or Kingdom Come…
Black Adam opens in US theaters on October 21.