​'Black Adam' Is a Bit Rocky

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Marwan Kenzari, Quintessa Swindell, Mohammed Amer, Bodhi Sabongui, Viola Davis, Pierce Brosnan

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

BY Marriska FernandesPublished Oct 21, 2022

Black Adam starts with a prologue set in 2600 BC in an ancient kingdom called Kahndaq, where the audience is introduced to a powerful magical mineral called Eternium. We see how a god-like champion was created and then imprisoned in a tomb. In present day, a Kahndaq scholar Adrianna (Sarah Shahi) hunts for the Eternium in the same forgotten tomb and awakens Teth Adam, a.k.a. Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson). For all the promise of its premise, Black Adam fizzles out despite the rock-sized star power.

Adrianna and her son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui) have hope that Teth Adam is the hero their city needs. Teth Adam, however, believes otherwise and wields his powers with a misguided sense of vengeance. To stop him, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) dispatches the Justice Society of America to get him under control. The team is led by Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and includes Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell). Together, they go head-to-head with Teth Adam before another evil force enters the picture.

Johnson is a larger-than-life personality whose charm and charisma oozes into every role he inhabits, and he's almost always the good guy with great comic timing. So to see him carry the weight of the Egyptian antihero (sans a sense of humour) and play the brooding bad guy is not ideal. Teth Adam is volatile and antisocial, carrying his own personal demons, and Johnson doesn't quite fit the bill. 

That's not to say that Johnson doesn't entertain — he certainly does, especially in moments with young Sabongui. Their dynamic is very reminiscent of the Terminator and John Connor, and the film could have used more of this, especially to strengthen Teth Adam's arc down the line. Conversely, the Justice League Society are mismatched and lack any chemistry. Their grouping feels awkward and forced, although Centineo and Hodge do attempt to salvage things with their one-liners. 

Hodge is certainly well-cast, managing to stand out in most scenes with great comic timing. Brosnan is also a moving addition as an immortal tired of seeing the future, but he is underused, and the film could have benefitted from more screen time with him. 

While the film doesn't deliver on those fronts, it still manages to be a fun ride in IMAX. The big action set pieces are well-choreographed, including stunts that were not just added for the sake of it but crafted with care, adding some kickass moments to the film. The slow-motion sequences, combined with the music, breathed life into those scenes. 

Black Adam might not be the movie a DC fan is expecting, but it's got enough to take audiences on a ride. When it comes to DC films, this isn't the best of the bunch, but it's certainly not the worst.

Latest Coverage