“Black Adam” comes across as an afterthought in fast paced Marvel world


Photo courtesy of @therock on Instagram

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson promotes his first acting role in a superhero movie on Instagram with a captivating cover of the hero.

By Jack Gans, Social Media Manager

“Black Adam” dropped in theaters on Oct. 21, 2022, with the potential to be the comeback film DC Comics needed. Making around $71 million in the first week, it fell short of “The Batman” which grossed a staggering $771 million. Director Juame Collet Serra sought to create an origin-story narrative that centers around the internal and external conflicts of the titular Black Adam. While the film was filled with action and remarkable CGI, it was ultimately a letdown on many ends.

Minor spoilers ahead.

The film has a phenomenal cast including Dwayne Johnson (playing Black Adam), Sarah Shahi (playing Isis), Noah Centineo (playing Atom Smasher), Pierce Brosnan (playing Dr. Fate), and Aldis Hodge (playing Hawkman), along with other great actors.

Other character appearances include Clark Kent (played by Henry Caville) AKA “Superman” from the Snyder Cut of Justice League, who shocks DC fans with his appearance as he and Black Adam have lots of comic history.

What made this film bearable, though, was the sheer amount of action packed into every scene. The action includes a variety of fights between the Intergang, Justice Society, and even a surprise villain.

This movie had DC fans excited, as many loved Black Adam’s character and hoped that they would portray him correctly. However, Marvel did a poor job on promoting the movie, and spent more time attempting to get their fanbase theorizing. Weak trailers with little dialogue and lack of snippets made the release feel like an afterthought rather than a cinematic event. 

The budget for the film was roughly 195 million dollars, and so far has made an estimated revenue of 71 million dollars.  Rotten Tomatoes critics have rated it at 39%, whereas the viewers rated it at 94%. Black Adam film has not even made half of its budget back, proving its failure in the box office.

“Black Adam” introduced new heroes from the Justice Society. The flaw with this, though, is that there was no clear explanation of how the group originated. Instead, various heroes were randomly thrown into the picture for seemingly no reason. Atom Smasher and Cyclone were extremely predictable especially when it came to their immediate romance; however, their inclusion felt rushed and purposed as a plot device.

The movie started 5000 years ago, when Black Adam was seeking revenge on Ahk-Ton, the king of Kahndaq. He was then imprisoned by the Counsel of Wizards for misusing his powers and destroying the kingdom. As time went on, the kingdom grew and saw him as a hero. In the present day, the Intergang has the city at their knees politically. After Black Adam is reawakened by an incantation, he is convinced by Amon Tomaz (played by Bodhi Sabongui) to help fight the gang of supervillains. 

The movie was incohesive and all over the place, turning random characters against each other just to fight in a random city. Specifically, the way the Justice Society was introduced was sloppy and premature. 

Black Adam was ultimately too powerful for his enemies, and the Intergang being anywhere near his level is blasphemy. They wasted many villain opportunities to display unrealistic human power with flying bikes that move at the speed of light and magic missiles.

In short, this is not the film for people that care more about plot and character development and less about action and cameos. Dwayne Johnson perfectly encapsulated Black Adam’s strength and physicality, but failed to capture the quirks of his personality. What makes Johnson a great actor is his charm and humor, which does not fit with Black Adam’s intense and brooding character at all.

“Black Adam” was an action packed film which ultimately lacked the depth fanatics and critics wished for, whether it was plot, character development or villains.  

There is still hope for DC as big projects such as “The Flash” and “Blue Beetle” will be here shortly. With great power comes a choice, to end life or to save it.