Black Adam: It’s About Drive, It’s About Power


Benedicto Campo, Media Critic

         “Black Adam” is the newest film set in the DC Universe. This film marks popular actor and former WWE wrestler Dwayne Johnson’s first foray into the superhero genre. This project has been in the making for two decades and Johnson has been working very hard to get it made. He considers this film to be a personal passion project. The film stars Dwayne Johnson as Teth-Adam / Black Adam, Aldis Hodge as Carter Hall / Hawkman, Noah Centineo as Al Rothstein / Atom Smasher, Quintessa Swindell as Maxine Hunkel / Cyclone, Sarah Shahi as Adrianna Tomaz, Mo Amer as Karim, Marwan Kenzari as Ishmael Gregor / Sabbac, and Pierce Brosnan as Kent Nelson / Doctor Fate. Dwayne Johnson’s first superhero film is one that many fans will enjoy if they are fans of both superheroes and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson himself.

         The film focuses on a man named Teth-Adam who was given powers by the wizard Shazam. However, he used these powers for revenge instead of good. This led to him being imprisoned under the city of Kahndaq for five thousand years. In the present, a woman named Adrianna Tomaz releases Teth-Adam from his imprisonment. Together, they fight to stop a corrupt military group that has enslaved the city of Kahndaq. This catches the attention of The Justice Society of America, a superhero group led by Carter Hall / Hawkman. The team also consists of Al Rothstein / Atom Smasher, Maxine Hunkel / Cyclone, and Kent Nelson / Doctor Fate. The Justice Society of America doesn’t approve of Teth-Adam’s methods of killing people and wants to stop him from doing so. However, they eventually must team up with one another to stop Sabbac, a threat who is bigger than Teth-Adam himself.

         When I first heard of this movie, I thought it was going to be bad because the trailers made it look like a typical superhero movie with a predictable formula. However, after watching the movie, I ended up enjoying it for a lot of reasons. Although the movie does follow the usual superhero formula, it executes it in a way that is enjoyable and fun to watch. This is due to the awesome action sequences, great performances, cool characters, and lots of mind-blowing moments. First off, I thought the action scenes of the movie were very cool because of the camera techniques and fast pace. These techniques were used to really show how powerful Black Adam is. I also enjoyed the actors’ performances of characters in the film. The main highlight is Dwayne Johnson as Teth-Adam / Black Adam. He portrays the character with lots of heart, passion, and dedication that he seems to enjoy playing the part. He also plays the character with conviction and seriousness just like how he is in the comics. I also enjoyed the performances and characters of The Justice Society of America. However, the character I enjoyed the most was Pierce Brosnan as Kent Nelson / Doctor Fate. He portrays the character of an elderly mentor who cares about his friends and can see into the future. However, he comes off as stern at the same time due to how his visions of the future affect him. I enjoyed this performance because this is how his personality stays true to the character in the comics. Pierce Brosnan is also such a good actor known for classics like “James Bond” and “Mamma Mia.” Another thing I enjoyed from the film was the visual effects. Surprisingly, the visual effects were clean looking, unlike other big budget superhero movies where they were either bad or in the middle. I thought most of the shots and fight scenes looked good because of this.

         However, there are still things about this movie that bring it down a little bit. One thing I didn’t like was Sabbac, the main villain of the movie. This is because he was a basic villain whose main goal was to rule Khandaq and become an all-powerful god. There are lots of villains who act like this and here it ends up falling flat. They should’ve either written the character better or use another character entirely. I also didn’t enjoy the non-superhero characters like Adrianna Tomaz and her family. They are written as very bland characters and are boring to watch. This in turn makes the movie kind of drag down into the boring side whenever they appear. I also thought there were some jokes that were kind of forced, they didn’t really come off as funny. These jokes mainly come from Adrianna’s brother Karim. He tries to be the comedy relief of the movie, but instead comes off as a cringy character who adds nothing to the plot. All he does is say corny things that make the humor forced. I also didn’t like how they killed off one of the main characters in the movie. I felt like this character deserved a lot more development that killing him off felt uncalled for. I hope this character can come back either through a sequel or spin-off.

         Overall, “Black Adam” is a fun superhero that Dwayne Johnson brings with all his drive and power. This is a project that’s been in the making for two decades and in the end, it delivers everything that it has to deliver. Dwayne Johnson’s performance as Black Adam is very good because he understands and cares about the character. This shows that he put in the work and the hours to make sure he respects both the source material and fans of the character. The performances and characters of The Justice Society of America, especially Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate, was a welcome addition to the movie and I hope we get to see them more in future movies. The fight scenes in the movie are fast paced and use creative camera techniques that are fun to watch and surprisingly enjoyable. The visual effects also add on to these enjoyable fight scenes. Although the movie suffers from badly written characters and a certain plot point, the movie is still worth a watch because it is a movie that just wants to be a fun superhero movie and nothing else. There is also a post credits scene that will blow everyone’s minds. Dwayne Johnson fought Warner Bros to put this scene and it will be worth the fight and wait. In the end, I am glad Dwayne Johnson got to make his personal passion project and I hope he continues the story of Black Adam in the years to come.