Black Adam


‘…a familiar recipe for mass-entertainment that should hit the spot for hungry audiences worldwide….’

Who or what is Black Adam? DC’s latest superhero confection is many things, but in terms of 2022 cinema, it’s a welcome tent-pole for a big box-office tent that’s sagged badly since July. Black Adam should easily be the biggest hit of the last three months, and that’s good news generally; art-house critics may sniff, but without a few copper-bottomed crowd-pleasers, the entire cinematic eco-system is in danger of collapse; for a character that’s been around since 1945, Black Adam’s ride to the rescue is immaculately timed.

And one obvious reason why crowds will return is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a wrestler-turned-actor with over two decades of popularity. He’s an ideal fit for a DC Universe that’s often struggled to get the right amount of humour into their films. But Black Adam is a character that allows the Rock to play against his usual genial image; Teth-Adam is a magical champion, sure, but he’s also a cold-blooded killer, and Jaume Collet-Serra’s film has a strong, iconic opening as moody Teth-Adam is roused from his tomb, prison, or just a large box in the ground where he’s been waiting to return to our world. Who has awoken Teth-Adam from his slumbers? Not the Justice League, but the Justice Society, led by Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and comprising of Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell) and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), with Dr Fate (Pierce Brosnan) and his magic helmet along for the ride…

So Black Adam is originally a super-villain, and that ambiguity drives most of the narrative here; there’s some nice gags about how the protagonist, awoken from a five thousand year slumber, understands doors but not sarcasm; humour is the saving grace of many comic-book movies, and so again it proves here. The city of Khandaq is well sketched in as a background for several large-scale brawls, and there’s a heart-warming mother-son dynamic that Black Adam must resolve. Player’s Baby Come Back also gets several outings, in a typically silly needle-drop that this genre seems to thrive on.

Black Adam may be a venerable property, but it’s easy to see why the ever-personable Johnson would find it a good fit; as a man with the power of various Egyptian gods, the role allows Johnson the chance to flex his physical and acting muscles. There’s plenty of large-scale action, Brosnan makes some nice gags from the side-lines, and yes, there’s a spoiler-alert cameo from a famous DC IP at the end. A little darker in tone that Aquaman, Black Adam should be a successful launch for a new DC hero; it’s been over 15 years in the making, but it’s finally time for audiences to smell what the Rock is cooking, and it’s a familiar recipe for mass-entertainment that should hit the spot for hungry audiences worldwide.

Thanks to Warner Bros UK for IMAX access to Black Adam, out now in the UK and US.


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  1. Just about a pass. i’m getting a bit fed up with non-stop action and a movie pitched in some kind of Wakanda plus gods and demons appearing from nowhere every two minutes. Overly complicated to shovel in the mother-son father-son beats and the Justice Society!! Is that like a junior prom version of the Justice League? Pierce Brosnan was ace though, deadpan delivery, and immaculate hair (or wig, who knows). Not sure if the unmentionable superhero at the end was back to join the Society rather than the League. Whichever one has Wonder Woman gets my vote, not least because she has that Hans Zimmer electric guitar to announce her presence.

    • Just about a pass is good enough for me. The Rock is a happy centre, but they threw in all kinds of window dressing, some of it sticks. The cameo at the end is clearly a news item for fanboys, even I knew who it was, and I normally sit unimpressed by a glimpse of Thanos’s glove or whatever. This was a noisy, busy film that seems to have gotten over the line with audiences.

      • Must have impressed since I know you generally look askance at superhero movies. I do like The Rock, though. He has developed a very attractive screen persona and has emerged as one of the few bankers left in Hollywood. I was introduced to him via my sons who loved his Roger Moore eyebrow-raising homage in WWF.

  2. Spoilers – Just got back from seeing it. First impression was the special effects were great, and the action was pretty much non-stop. I thought he was very good in the lead role – well-suited. Origin stories are always tricky because you have to – and should – take time explaining things. In that regard, I felt the “intro” of the Justice members was forced and rushed. I also didn’t feel the oppression the citizens were supposed to be feeling. A mixed bag for sure, but for DC I’ll call it a win.

    • Just about a win; yup, I’ve never heard of Justice Society, and wouldn’t be rushing to see them in their own movie; they feel like a B team. And the backstory was fairly sketchy. But seeing The Rock do his thing in such a grand context works, and at least the exposition was kept managable. And the funny bits were funny, so the cocktail holds…

    • I’ve noted people being vapourised on social media for mentioning this, but his name rhymes with Benry McTavill.

      • Thanks.
        I was kind of hoping it would be that actor. Have to admit, I would probably watch this (once it hits prime for free or wicked cheap) just for that cameo…

        • In twenty years of sitting through post-credits scenes, it’s the first time I knew who it was I was looking at. Nothing worse that a 10 minute wait through the credits to see Thanos’ glove or Harry Styles…

  3. Speak of the devil, I was just wondering when/if your latest movie post would be.
    I hear through the grapevine that you’re thinking of becoming PM and turning the country into a Hunger Games dystopia.

    Do you have any thoughts on that Mister Dix?

    • Death Sport will be our national sport when I take the reigns of power.

      I’ve heard you’re running a shadow governent from your Weekend in New England citadel. Is that true?

      • I think you’re on the right track with Death Sport. Motorcycles are much more energy efficient than cars!

        Yep. I mean, once you built your first underground bunker empire, you have to do something with it after all. Wouldn’t want to be wasteful…

    • Woke, up, 45 lateral ab flexes, 700 neck crunches, BE ALL YOU CAN BE # BE ALL YOU CAN BE woohah!

      I learned everything I know from the Rock’s Twitter feed.

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