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Movie Review: Black Adam

Release Date: Oct. 21, 2022

Runtime: 2h. 5m.

Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra

Starring:      Dwayne Johnson

                     Sarah Shahi

                     Marwen Kenzari

                     Aldis Hodge

                     Pierce Brosnan

         I walked into the Bricktown Harkins movie theater on Oct. 21 with low expectations.

For the past week, I read reviews and heard critics rail the newest installment in the superhero genre known as Black Adam. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a mere 39%, with comments calling the film a “muddled mess” and “lacking the spark DC was looking for.”

         My low expectations also stemmed from the so-called “Superhero fatigue” the entire country seems to be experiencing, especially with Marvel Studios. Just a week prior, I watched the finale of She-Hulk, Attorney at Law, which was just about the worst thing I had ever seen in my life. Essentially, superhero movies have become a caricature of themselves and I was praying Black Adam would be something better.

         The movie was definitely easy to follow. It features an archeologist named Adrianna (Shahi) who attempts to find an ancient crown made of Eternium in order to keep it from the invasive government who has used her hometown’s land and resources to take the crown for themselves.

         In the process of searching through an old tomb, Adrianna reawakens a powerful entity known as Teth-Adam (Johnson) who was at one point the champion of Kahdaq. Adam kills the government agents who raided the temple and then proceeds to run rampant through the city.

         Across the ocean, Amanda Waller dispatches “the Justice Society” to travel to Kahdaq and neutralize Black Adam. Hawkman (Hodge), Dr. Fate (Brosnan), Atom Smasher and Cyclone cross the pond and begin a three-way conflict involving Black Adam, the Justice Society and the tyrants of Kahdaq which the rest of the film focuses on.

         The acting throughout the film was interesting to say the least. Johnson portrayed the titular character as unemotional and unfazed, something straight out of the Arnold Schwarzenegger playbook.

         I was super excited to see Pierce Brosnan join the DCEU. Brosnan is no stranger to franchise films, as he played James Bond throughout the ‘90s, and it was great to see him portray an awesome character like Dr. Fate.

         However, the film was not without its bad characters, and Atom Smasher  takes the cake for the worst. As the film progressed, I could not help but think he was a rip-off Deadpool, which ruined his whole character for me. This has nothing to do with Noah Centineo’s portrayal, but rather the poor writing of the character.  

         Another weak aspect of the film was its pacing. When the Justice Society was first introduced, there was no previous mention of the heroes in any other DC films and they get tossed into the audience’s lap with no backstory.

Even though some plot aspects moved too quickly, there were also some points during the film where it moved far too slow. Many scenes during which characters would just stand around could have easily been cut.

         Despite these flaws, Black Adam was still a fairly straightforward, albeit slightly generic superhero origin story. Additionally, its ending and post credit scene excellently set up future projects which will help build the DCEU.         

All in all, Black Adam was not as good as DC’s previous installments such as The Suicide Squad or The Batman, but it proves a worthy contender against Marvel’s recent projects, the majority of which have directly caused the “Superhero fatigue.” The film exceeded my expectations, although my expectations were low going into it. As MJ Watson in Spider-Man: No Way Home would say, “expect disappointment and you’ll never be disappointed.”

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