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Black Adam (2022)

Dwayne Johnson The Rock in Black Adam Superhero movie

Ok, I’m confused.

I went to see a movie at the cinema yesterday that does not live up to all the hype it’s been getting. Have I missed something…?

Black Adam (2022)

As always this review is spoiler free.

If you haven’t seen it yet, this is the latest superhero offering from DC Films.

It’s directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows, Jungle Cruise) and stars Dwayne Johnson (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Pierce Brosnan (GoldenEye), Aldis Hodge (The Invisible Man), Sarah Shahi (Bullet to the Head) and Marwan Kenzari (Aladdin) among many others.

This is what it’s about according to the internet:

“In ancient Kahndaq, Teth Adam was bestowed the almighty powers of the gods. After using these powers for vengeance, he was imprisoned, becoming Black Adam. Nearly 5,000 years have passed, and Black Adam has gone from man to myth to legend. Now free, his unique form of justice, born out of rage, is challenged by modern-day heroes who form the Justice Society: Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Atom Smasher and Cyclone.”

Based on everything I’d read and heard prior to watching this movie I genuinely thought it was gonna be something pretty special. From The Rock explaining how it’s been his passion project for years, and Pearce Brosnan saying how we’ve "never seen a movie like it" - not to mention Warner Bros. announcing that moving forward, all of their projects would focus on "quality", I guess I figured this film would be something to look forward to. I was wrong.

Right from the start I was struggling but I told myself it would probably get better once the back story had been established. It didn’t. In fact I can’t remember the last time I watched a film at the cinema and couldn’t wait for it to end (actually, yes I do. It was Transformers: Age of Extinction).

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a terrible movie. It’s just so dull!

There are a few decent scenes like when Black Adam is first freed early on in the film, but it suffers from unlikeable and uninteresting characters, a drab story, some questionable acting, lots of tiresome action scenes and LOADS of slow motion sequences.

The Rock is good and I like the idea of the character but unfortunately that’s about all I got out of the movie.

To be fair I hadn’t heard of Black Adam before all the talk of this film started years back, but now having seen the film I understand that he’s basically invincible, much like Superman and with similar powers.

As popular as he is, one of my biggest issues with Superman is how powerful he is. Sure he’s flawed emotionally (feels like an outsider because he’s the only one of his kind etc) but without Kryptonite he’s formidable and guaranteed to triumph. For me that makes it hard to invest because I know there’s no real peril.

He’s so powerful in fact that it kind of makes a joke of all other superheroes. As long as he’s around why is there a need for any others? We saw this exact thing play out in The Justice League (2017) and Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021).

Well all of that applies to the character of Black Adam, and for me it just made for another run of the mill, cgi-filled, forgettable superhero movie.

One thing I love about nearly all of these types of films is how there are usually a few adrenaline inducing moments where the good guy faces off against the bad guy (usually towards the end of the film). This is thanks to good story telling and relatable characters. I didn’t once feel any excitement during any of the action scenes in this movie, and other than feeling empathy for Black Adam and his situation I had no investment in the characters, their plight or the story as a whole.

The other “superheroes” (who admittedly I’m unfamiliar with) I thought were pretty lame, and although most were introduced in comic-books first, at this point having seen so many Marvel movies just feel like cheap rip-offs of Marvel characters (Mrs Screenroom thought Atom Smasher looked like a cross between giant Ant-Man and Deadpool and I agree). Even Pierce Brosnan, who I imagine was cast to add a little credibility to the whole thing couldn’t save it despite being heralded as the film’s “scene stealer”. Personally I thought he was totally wasted.

As for the bad guy, it’s not really established who it is for half of the film, and when he does emerge it’s yet another poor-cgi villain much like Steppenwolf from The Justice League (2017).

On top of everything else something that really annoyed me was the excessive use of music. You often see it in those Movies 24 films on Sky.

I’ve said only recently how much I love a good score and how important a role music plays in films but it has to be used properly. I don’t think there’s one moment in this movie where music isn’t playing in the background. It not only gets irritating but it’s really distracting.

Yesterday after texting him to tell him how disappointed I was with the film a friend of mine told me I’m “a hard man to please these days”. I thought about it for a minute because I wondered if it was true but I don’t think it is. I want to like every film I watch otherwise what’s the point. I went into this one with average expectations and came out having just gone through the motions for 2 hours and 4 minutes.

I just think I might finally be done with superhero movies.

All that said, it does seem I’m in the minority here since it currently holds a 7.1/10 rating on IMDb and is getting rave reviews from some.

As always I encourage you to watch it and make your own minds up. It’s certainly different to other films of its kind and like I said, The Rock puts in a decent performance. Unfortunately though that wasn’t enough to win me over.

If you’re still a fan of superhero movies and love loads of cgi, over the top action sequences, slow motion and characters you couldn’t care less about I highly recommend giving this watch.

Just be sure to stick around for the post credit scene. It’s the best bit of the movie.

Already seen it? What did you think?


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