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Black Adam Delivers Action & Spectacle But Not Much Else
Black Adam is the only DC movie to release in 2022 after Warner Bros. delayed both The Flash and Shazam! Fury Of The Gods. That puts high expectations on this movie, especially after 2021’s brilliant The Suicide Squad and the hype from Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson himself.
Does it live up to that hype? Read on to find out.
First things first, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is great as Teth-Adam AKA Black Adam himself. He pulls off the stoic character pretty well, and he refrains from relying on his usual patented moves like raising his eyebrow or cringy stuff like that. Simply put, it does look like he put some effort into this role, making it seem more than just playing himself like he usually does in most movies. That said, if you like the Rock, he’s still as charming as ever with some quips here and there; it’s just that he’s toned it down to make it more suitable to his character, which is great.
As for the other characters, they mostly perform well, but the standouts are Pierce Brosnan’s Kent Nelson AKA Doctor Fate, Noah Centino’s Atom Smasher and Quintessa Swindell’s Cyclone. However, they don’t get nearly as much screentime or character development as they deserve, which is a shame. If anything, they prove that we need a Justice Society movie spinoff or at least a TV series to serve them justice (pardon the pun). Meanwhile, the normal non-powered supporting characters aren’t anything special to shout about. In particular, young actor Bodhi Sabongui’s Amon Tomaz can be a bit grating and forced when delivering his lines.
The villain of the movie also isn’t compelling enough to provide good fodder. He’s basically just there to provide Black Adam and the Justice Society someone else to fight beside themselves. Another missed opportunity for a good villain in the DCEU, which is a continuing issue for non-DCEU superhero movies in general as well. Black Adam is what you’d expect from a typical DC superhero movie these days. None of it is really surprising or offers anything new. Black Adam feels generic in that you feel like you’ve seen everything done better or similarly elsewhere in other movies. Add that to quite a bit of scenes mainly for the purpose of forced exposition, and the movie can sometimes feel draggy and plodding for a lot of its roughly two-hour runtime.
Fortunately, there are plenty of action scenes to keep you paying attention to the movie. The main highlight of Black Adam is definitely the action scenes. They’re reminiscent of those from other DC movies like Man Of Steel or Justice League since Teth-Adam AKA Black Adam himself fights just like Superman with the addition of being able to generate and shoot magical lightning powers from his hands and body. The movie is also surprisingly violent but without blood or much actual gore, which is probably how they managed to keep the movie’s rating at PG-13 despite some decapitations and the like. That said, some of these action scenes are depicted in slow-motion in the vein of Zack Snyder’s style or something similar to Quicksilver’s iconic slow-mo scenes in the X-Men movies. Different viewers may have different tolerance of those types of action scenes.
Black Adam isn’t really the game-changing entry in the DCEU that was promised, but it’s also not the worse movie by far. It’s nowhere near as bad as 2016’s Suicide Squad or 2017’s Justice League (Joss Whedon’s version), but it’s not as good as 2021’s The Suicide Squad or 2018’s Aquaman. If I could compare, Black Adam is probably closest in quality to 2018’s Shazam!, though it’s not as fun.
Still, Black Adam might be worth watching for that mid-credits scene alone (which I won’t spoil, a simple Google search can do that now). It will certainly satisfy many DC fans, but it also has the potential to divide the fandom further. Who knows these days? Ultimately, Black Adam is enjoyable enough with some decent action and The Rock. That’s likely enough motivation for many out there to go and watch this movie.
We received an early screener of Black Adam courtesy of Warner Bros. Malaysia. Black Adam will premiere on 20 October in Malaysian cinemas.
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