Black Adam is the perfect Adrenaline shot DC needed, a great mix of action, humour and emotion which provides an exciting new direction for the DC Universe
Dwayne Johnson first pitched a Black Adam film in 2007. Hitting cinema screens on Friday 21st October is the film 15 years in the making worth the wait? Read on to find out: Spoiler alert – Yes, it is!
Black Adam is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and is the eleventh film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), following on from 2021’s well received The Suicide Squad. Following delays to The Flash and Aquaman 2 some have been worried that the momentum in the DCEU has stalled what with this being the first theatrical release in over a year (although we cannot dismiss the fantastic Peacemaker TV series).
As such a lot is riding on the success of Black Adam with it having the potential to either reinvigorate and provide optimism for the next films in the series or to further weaken its credibility. Thankfully, it is the former and not the latter as Black Adam is a resounding success.
The film starts with a look at Adam (then ‘Teth Adam’) five thousand years ago and shows his origin from normal man to the events which led to him being the superhero he is today. Black Adam isn’t one of the more popular or well-known superheroes among the general populace, but he is one of the most powerful and that display of powers leads to some fantastic action scenes throughout the film. Black Adam is as powerful as Superman with Dwayne Johnson recently remarking that the difference between the two is that Superman won’t kill people whilst Black Adam will.
That difference is made apparent early on as Black Adam obliterates a group of mercenaries, the 12A rating being pushed to the absolute limit as people are electrocuted alive and dispatched with little care or regard.
The prevalent theme throughout the film is the titular character’s growth from this initial scene, starting out as brutal and cold-hearted killer to becoming that hero everyone hoped by the end of the film. He also needs to deal with the fact that world has changed significantly in the five thousand years that he had been dormant with some of the funniest exchanges in the film centring around the ‘fish out of water’ trope as he learns how to correctly apply sarcasm among other things.
Adam is ably aided along the way by the Justice Society of America (the JSA) with Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman shining as the leader of the group. Pierce Brosnan is the elder statesman of the team as Doctor Fate (a master of magic not too dissimilar to Marvel’s Doctor Strange) providing sage advice and guidance to his less-experienced colleagues.
Rounding out the team are Quintessa Swindell’s Cyclone (who has the ability to manipulate wind which leads to some cool visuals) and Noah Centineo’s Atom Smasher who can grow many times his original size. Cyclone and Atom Smasher do tend to be on the periphery of things at times but show enough promise when they are showcased for us to look forward to their involvement in future DCEU films.
The film does hit an aspirational note by giving strong storylines to some of the human supporting character showing that not all heroes and leaders of people need to have powers. Tempering the action scenes is the right amount of emotion with both Adam’s backstory (showing that behind the God he did once have humanity) and the storyline involving one of the JSA members proving to be particularly poignant.
If there is one criticism of the film it could be that the CGI is perhaps not as good as it maybe could have been but that is a minor nit-pick in which is otherwise a very good film with just the right amount of action, humour and emotion. Drawing a parallel to his electrical powers Black Adam is just the jump start the DCEU needed, and I can’t wait to see the character in future films. Speaking of future films, the mid-credits scene should leave the viewer VERY excited as to the future direction of the DCEU and ends the film on a high note so make sure you hang around for it.