Friday, 21 October 2022

Black Adam (Movie Review)


The DCEU continues the expansion of its cinematic universe with Black Adam, the latest comic book hero to join the likes of Wonder Woman and Aquaman on the big screen. This is following a lengthy development that had many fans wondering if the film was ever going to see the light of day. But with Dwayne Johnson starring as the titular antihero, there is no doubt that he must have been instrumental in getting the project off the ground. Now that the film is finally out for all to see, the question arises of whether or not it managed to live up to the hype.

Set in the fictional city of Kahndaq, the film centers upon the origins of Black Adam, a man who is bestowed with godlike powers by the Council of Wizards during his people's time of need. But after he misuses those powers in his pursuit of revenge, he gets imprisoned by the group for his actions. Flash forward 5,000 years and Black Adam is set free into a world that is very different from the one he knew. 
 
However, his resurrection also draws the attention of a group of heroes known as the Justice Society of America, who also believes he is too dangerous to be let out of his prison. Meanwhile, his city has since fallen under the subjugation of Intergang, a crime syndicate that rules over its people with brute force. And so Adam must choose whether or not to become the hero the city needs, or the villain some already see him as.

The DCEU has been on a roll of late with a string of crowd-pleasing entries, from last year's The Suicide Squad to its TV show spinoff, Peacemaker, earlier this year. So the hope going into Black Adam was that the film would continue that winning streak by delivering another worthwhile superhero romp. But even more than that, fans in the know have been edged on by The Rock himself into believing that this could very well lay the groundwork for something bigger. And while most people might be eager to learn more about that aspect of the film specifically, I am not here to reveal if or how well the movie sets up that epic showdown.
 
Instead, I am only going to be speaking on how well the movie works on its own merits. That said, you'll definitely want to stick around to watch the mid-credits scene in all its glory. All teasing aside, Black Adam is what I would call yet another middle-of-the-road entry in the DCEU. It does everything it can to tick all the requisite boxes that make such movies enjoyable. There's plenty of action of the excessive CGI-all-over-the-screen variety, as well as your typical moments of levity and comic relief. The problem comes in how all of this is delivered to the audience. 

The dialogue often fluctuates between hamfisted and laughably bad, even though the actors themselves are clearly doing what they can with the material that was given. Most of it is just heavy exposition dumps anyway, as they try to fill us in on all the requisite lore and backstory. Except they seem to forget that they needed to have some lines left over that would work to endear us to these characters. This effectively takes away any feelings of dread or fear for their safety that I might have had, and even the big emotional moments that came later on in the film couldn't help but feel flat as a result.
 
The members of the Justice Society of America barely leave any kind of impression, which is a far cry from the rich characterization we had in The Suicide Squad last year. The same thing could be said about the film's villain, who was just as forgettable and cookie-cutter as they come. Then there was Black Adam himself, who was basically the same character Dwayne Johnson had played in other films, only nowhere as funny or charismatic. He did have some of the best lines in the film overall, but none of that was enough to save what felt like a phoned-in performance.
 
Black Adam is yet another DCEU movie that fails to reach its full potential. The film can be described as average at best, and even borderline mediocre at worst. All of that is not to say that there isn't enjoyment to be had with the movie, as I can easily see it pleasing crowds of moviegoers who simply want to have a good time at the movies. But for those wanting more, they'll just have to look ahead to future DCEU projects like The Flash and Aquaman 2 and hope that those manage to deliver the goods.

9 comments:

  1. While I'm sure the Rock's popularity helped to get this made, I wasn't really excited about his casting. The character in the comics is really too nuanced for a former WWE wrestler to play. And then cramming in a bunch of JSA heroes really just seems to dilute things. You'd think they'd have learned from BvS about that.

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    1. The film did remind me of BvS, come to think about it. But it was nowhere as offensive as that though. ­čśü

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  2. I've heard it falls short so will go this afternoon with expectations set lower. One complaint is that it focused too much on the Justice Society, and as a DC fan, I have to say I have no problem with that.

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    1. Watching it with lowered expectations is the way to go. Hopefully you enjoy it more than I did.

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  3. Great article! Reading this article reminded me of the story of maula jatt. It also made from the same side story and it has become a big hit all over the country.

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