Black Adam

The DC Cinematic world has been having a few problems of late. Shazam 2 and Aquaman 2 have had their releases pushed back; Batgirl was cancelled, and The Flash is still being decided on after the strange events of his star in public life. So maybe a new hero is needed to lift the Warner Bros superhero universe. We have Black Adam, based on a classic, almost forgotten comic book from the 40s with one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the lead. Could this be the saviour the studio needs? Actually, no, because this has got to be the most boring, lazy superhero movie. A two-hour headache that lacks anything redeeming.

Teth Adam was born from the Gods 5,000 years ago to protect the city of Kahndaq from those who want a crown made from the mysterious metal, Eternium. Modern-day, the place still has those looking for the crown to rule the land. To save herself after discovering the headpiece, Adrianna Tomaz releases Teth Adam from his tomb, and the mighty anti-hero kills all those seeking the object. This is brought to the attention of the Justice Society, a group of superheroes led by Hawkman to protect the world. Yet Adam is a much strong man than anything they have faced before.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, whose last film was the hugely enjoyable Jungle Cruise, you would hope he could bring something fresh to the proceedings. However, he doesn’t. Instead, what he brings are two hours of fights, explosions, lightning bolts and more fights. A chase thrown in for good measure. There are moments when it looks more like a Zack Synder movie in its overuse of slow motion. From the moment it starts with a sequence in which we see the downtrodden people of this ancient land looking for the metal, it seems more like 300.

And that’s the whole sum total of the movie. Effect after effect after effect. The almost non-existent storyline is dull. It never really has a chance to develop characters or relationships. You may get a short sequence in which a slice of explanation is delivered, and then we are back to another effect-ridden fight scene; all of them seem to go on and on forever. If there is one unique side to the character, he kills bad guys and doesn’t seem remorseful about it. Unlike superheroes who try their best not to harm anyone, Adam just goes for it. Is that a reason to like this film? Absolutely not.

To link things together, we have the Justice Society made up of two old hands, Hawkman, who seems to run the society and flies around like a hawk, and Doctor Fate, an ageing gentleman who can see the future and can play with people’s minds, Cyclone, a young girl who can produce, well, cyclones and Atom Smasher, who can grow to a giant size. This would have worked well if we had been introduced to these characters before and you get a feeling of dejavu, as there seems to be more than a slight similarity to the X-Men (expensive mansion hiding a super jet; with Falcon, Doctor Strange, Storm and Giant Man).

The performances for this kind of movie are unremarkable. Pierce Brosnan does bring an element of class and seems to be enjoying himself in Lycra as Doctor Fate, while we do get a cameo from Viola Davis returning as Amanda Waller, a bizarre cameo from a TV legend (no spoilers here) that doesn’t seem to make any sense and another cameo from a fan favourite during the post-credit sequence.

In the title role, and also as producer, Dwayne Johnson has been wanting to bring this to the screen for years and so sadly this passion project also comes across as his weakest movie. He has plenty of charisma, delivering the one-liners, no matter how unfunny they are, with his usual aplomb. However, even he cannot save this movie from boredom, no matter how much I like Johnson as a person and a screen presence.

Black Adam will only delight those who love films crammed with crashes and bangs and a thumping soundtrack. Those looking for character and plot and something deeper won’t get it here. It will probably be a box office success, mainly for Johnson but it really doesn’t deserve to be. Don’t waste your time.

1 out of 5

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Pierce Brosnan, Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Quintessa Swindell, Marwan Kenzari

Written by: Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani, (based on the characters created) Bill Parker and C.C. Beck

Running Time: 125 mins

Cert: 12A

Release date: 21st October 2022

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