‘Black Adam’ Review

We’ve listened to The Rock say “the hierarchy of power in the DCEU is about to change” for over six years now. Now that I’ve seen “Black Adam,” sure, the character is excellent, but aside from very little attention paid to the comics, it seems like the DCEU restarts with every new film released. That’s even more evident by the ending tease this film leaves us with, retconning the choice made in “Peacemaker” only a few months ago.

“Black Adam” is nothing special; a bloated superhero film that came out ten years too late and follows every stereotype possible. It favors spectacle over plot, and it couldn’t make itself any clearer by having a big action sequence every five minutes – this movie does not let up. We’re so far into the comic book renaissance that an origin film feels pointless, but the seemingly necessary exposition bothered me, especially when reduced to a voice-over for the first fifteen minutes of the film. With all that said, and despite the battle fatigue I was getting a little over an hour in, I found myself consistently entertained.

Once the Justice Society enters the film it really gets going and I think to myself, why not just have a film about the Justice Society’s conflict with Black Adam? In doing so, you eliminate the middlemen (the human characters), therefore eliminating one of the most tedious aspects of the movie, the painfully prominent human characters, and the lame villain. Going forth, these people will inevitably mean nothing, possibly never even show up again, so why bother? This is where my saying the plot is paper thin comes into play: so there’s this crown that we can’t let the bad guy have or hell will reign on earth. That’s it. Also, in a movie I thought had solid visual effects overall (but really bad color correction), the CGI done on the villain, Sabbac, was truly awful.

Back to the Justice Society, I enjoyed seeing new characters on the big screen in DC, not just Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman again. Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman stood out among the team, but Pierce Brosnan’s Doctor Fate stole the entire movie for me. I could watch an entire show about this character, arguably one of my favorite DC comic book characters. I know Brosnan said he based the role on Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange – his elegant magic style is similar as well – but from his costume to his powers, to his performance, Doctor Fate was fantastic. I can’t say the same for the other members, Atom Smasher and Cyclone, because they didn’t have much of a role. They were each there to assist in fighting, and that was it.

I was very impressed by the work Dwayne Johnson put in here. He usually plays the same role in every movie he’s in – the smoldering strong man with a big heart and a sense of humor. As Adam, he is kind of the same, but something feels different this time around, and I can’t quite place my finger on it yet. Did the hierarchy of power in the DCEU change? I would like to say yes, but with that end credits tease, the question has yet to be answered. Will that tease even go anywhere? This universe has a terrible track record setting up future projects, but I genuinely do hope so.

Final Grade: B-

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