Black Adam – Film Review

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writers: Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani

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

Rating: ★★★½

It’s been a long journey to release for Black Adam. There was news of the character appearing in a Shazam film with Dwayne Johnson attached as early as 2007, with Johnson mentioning it while doing press for Southland Tales. In the years since there has been sporadic updates, and now it’s finally here. Black Adam is one of the better entries to the DC Extended Universe, bringing together a good mix of action, comedy, and a bunch of interesting characters who walk the line between hero and villain.

The champion of Kahndaq, Black Adam is reawakened after thousands of years. Unlike a lot of modern heroes he doesn’t see a reason not to kill his enemies, resulting in the Justice Society to confront him wanting to take him as a prisoner and make sure that he can’t cause any more carnage. That is until they find a common enemy and have to work together to save the world.

Dwayne Johnson is simply brilliant in the role, and every scene with him on screen is great. He’s funny and is perfectly cast for the role, bringing his usual charisma to the film. The film starts in ancient Kahndaq, showing the beginnings of Black Adam’s origin, but the full story isn’t revealed until much later in the film, so it takes a while for you to get a full idea of who he is. The rest of the cast are great as well. It’s always good to see Pierce Brosnan and he’s a great Doctor Fate.

One of the more interesting things about the film is the way it presents the differing perspectives of good and evil, which makes the rather basic superhero plot a little more interesting. The Justice Society believe that Black Adam is a villain, and want to take him down, but for the people of Kahndaq, he’s their hero and the Justice Society are villains. It would have been good to see this leant into even further, as once they find a common goal, they all work together nicely. It’s also weird how determined the Justice Society are to take him down straight away, immediately thinking the absolute worst when their ancient texts don’t exactly reveal much. There’s no understanding or trying to show him that there’s so much good that can be done. It would have been nice for their mission not just to be to take him as a prisoner.

The action is superb, and always entertaining to watch. The final showdown is one of the best in the DCEU, and that’s topped by the fight between the Justice Society members and Black Adam earlier in the film. It’s all visually exciting and there’s a good amount of humour mixed in, whether that’s Black Adam trying out catchphrases or catching rockets in mid-air. What lets it down is the CGI is really mixed, some of it looks excellent, while other parts look dated and awkward, especially when Black Adam first appears.

While it’s not perfect, Black Adam is one of the better entries to the DCEU. It’s fun, entertaining, and not four hours long. There’s also plenty of set up for the future, with a mid-credit scene that has gotten people talking more than the actual film, so hopefully it doesn’t take another fifteen years for the next one.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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