‘Black Adam’ Movie Review: One of DC’s Better Movies But Still Meh

Black Adam Movie Review

DC’s latest film, Black Adam, is releasing in theaters on October 21st, 2022. And despite being a DC film, I had higher than normal expectations for this one. In part because it was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, which automatically earns it a few brownie points. But the movie also stars Dwayne Johnson, and I was excited to see what he could bring to the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) and his take on the superhero, considering how I’ve heard Johnson talk about the “feel” of the film in various interviews.

Let’s set the stage first, though. Shall we? Black Adam is the first-ever movie to explore the origin story of Black Adam, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The film opens nearly 5,000 years ago, after Black Adam was first bestowed with the almighty powers of the ancient gods. Though he didn’t get a lot of free time to test out those powers before he was imprisoned.

Fast-forward to present day, and Black Adam is freed from his tomb by Adrianna (Sarah Shahi), who (along with the people of Kahndaq) hope he can be the hero they all need. The film also stars Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, Marwan Kenzari as Ishmael, Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, Bodhi Sabongui  as Amon, and Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate.

Check out the trailer below.

Black Adam Movie Trailer

Black Adam Movie Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like

Brace yourselves, DC fans, because I’m not going to be kind in what I have to say. I do think that there are some genuinely great moments in the two-hours and four-minute run time. But, this story could use some (a lot of) help with editing and re-organizing… and some witty moments of comedic relief. ( I seriously don’t know how often my face cringed as I was thinking, ‘oh god… they think that’s going to get laughs.’

Black Adam Movie Review
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers / DC Comics

Story

My main issue with Black Adam, much like every DC film, lies with the script. Actors can only do so much when they’re handed something that is flawed at its most basic level. And while Black Adam isn’t as much of a mess as other DC films, it still feels like someone threw the script together without having anyone else edit it.

There’s weird pacing throughout that causes the film’s middle to feel like the end. And then the end of the film leaves you feeling like, “Well… that was it?”

It just feels unorganized. And ill-timed jokes mixed with the attempted dry humor from Johnson (which I’m going to blame the script and not Johnson for) doesn’t help. Instead, the movie just creates an overall sense of disappointment. We’re supposed to get a new kind of superhero story with this one, the tale of the anti-hero. But instead, we’re just left with what DC does best… a dark, brooding film that feels like the aftermath of a Batman v Superman fight.

Dr. Fate and Hawkman
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers / DC Comics

Acting

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t blame the actors for my problem with the film. In fact, there were several characters who I truly enjoyed seeing on screen. Give me a Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan) prequel, it might be the first film (aside from 2017’s Wonder Woman) that I truly enjoy.

Was Dwayne Johnson the right actor for Black Adam? He does feel like he’s meant for the role, it just doesn’t feel like the role was constructed to play to his strengths as an actor. 

Effects

I don’t have any complaints when it comes to the effects. At this point, we’ve seen them all before. There’s nothing here that truly ups the ante.

Visually, the film looks good, even if stylistically, there is no cohesion. Are we watching a Zack Synder movie? Are we walking a George Miller movie? No, we’re watching neither. Instead, we’re watching a Jaume Collet-Serra-directed movie. And while Collet-Serra has a number of successful films to his name, this slow-motion style feels out of the blue for him and the movie.

Sure, I get we’re dealing with the speed of light. So we need to slow a scene down sometimes to see what is happening. And, sure, the movie’s overall feel is dark and heavy. I’m on board. But the transitions from those more dramatic 300-esque scenes to the more “normal” styled scenes felt harsh and out of place.

Black Adam
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers / DC Comics

Black Adam Movie Review: Overall Thoughts

Overall, it’s a DC film. That’s really all you need to say.

DC films will never feel the same as a Marvel film. And that’s okay. It shouldn’t. But, overall, this film falls flat at numerous attempts to provide humor, create a cohesive storyline, and also tie itself into the over DC universe in a more meaningful way (though yes, there is a post-credit scene).

While Black Adam isn’t a bad movie (in fact, it’s one of DC’s better movies), it’s just not a great movie. It’s just meh, which continues to be the word I use to describe the DCU as a whole. Meh.

Black Adam
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers / DC Comics

Black Adam Movie Review Score:

Grade: C-

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