Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Shahi, Bodhi Sabongui, Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Odelya Halevi, Quintessa Swindell, and Noah Centineo
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Overall, Black Adam has great ideas but horrible execution. It tells you things it should have shown, and it constantly cuts away from halfway decent action. Worst of all, it has insightful themes on heroism covered in corny writing, and the writers didn’t seem to know whether Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) should be a dramatic and dangerous threat or a comedic fish out of water. Johnson’s performance, like the movie itself, is just wasted potential, and with a ridiculous third act, the DCEU has another disappointment on their hands. The Justice Society (Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Quintessa Swindell, and Noah Centineo) deliver great performances, though.
After years of willing it into existence, The Rock has finally brought Black Adam into the DCEU! Now, let me cut to the chase - Black Adam is not a very good movie. The film's pace leaves little to no room for character development, and the only actor who is able to really elevate his role is Pierce Brosnan (Dr. Fate). That being said, I didn't hate the film, and found it mostly entertaining through all of the noise. Hopefully, future installments can slow things down and give us a reason to actually care about our main character.
Black Adam is so all over the place that I could take this review in multiple directions, both good and bad, but I only have 100ish words. So, this is what you get… The Good: Dwayne Johnson, Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan), bullet-time sequences, mid-credits scene. The Bad: lackluster villain, needle drops, some CGI, Justice Society feeling like underdeveloped Marvel ripoffs. Overall, I believe Johnson when he says this movie was 15 years in the making because it feels like the best superhero movie of 2007. And you know that DC hierarchy The Rock hasn’t shut up about? This falls somewhere in the middle alongside Aquaman.
Black Adam is far from the outright disaster some feared, but it isn’t an especially safe bet to secure the future of the DCEU either. Dwayne Johnson brings a committed performance of brutality to the title character, but unfortunately, a weightless script with a half-note villain does him no favors in helping to carry things. Although it is fun to see The Justice Society (sometimes) in action, the characters themselves are quite thin, and the few decent jokes in the movie barely land. The VFX are adequate, but if you thought the green screen in Black Panther was bad, strap in.
If Black Adam has anything to say about the so-called hierarchy of power in the DC Universe changing, then I continue to not care about the DCEU. This movie is a non-stop mess of action sequence after action sequence built on crappy VFX. While they can be entertaining occasionally, the story around them is nonsensical with an extremely 2000s superhero movie vibe. It’s not unwatchable…it’s dumb fun, to be fair…and Dwayne Johnson is clearly committed, but I question why this is the movie he has been obsessed with for the past 15 years.