Black Adam has finally landed after much hype. I’ve been looking forward to it because I think Dwayne Johnson is cool. Sure, most of his recent roles all have a certain ‘Rock’ quality, but they are usually light-hearted fun. So, when I heard he was going to be in a DC movie, I thought good! A fun DC movie! Sadly, what we get is an action overloaded, severely lacking in backstory film that only a DC fanboy can love. But Johnson is pretty damn brilliant. This is his role as much as Iron Man was Downey Jr’s.
Black Adam does a good job with the titular character, and Johnson adds a depth to him that I think only he could pull off. His performance, along with the criminally underused Pierce Brosnan as Kent Nelson / Doctor Fate, is superb. As is Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, the leader of the Justice Society. A Society has no back story other than it’s put together by the hardball Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). As someone who hasn’t read even one comic about Black Adam, this movie certainly leans into expecting the audience to know the lore, something that Marvel does not do often.
Hodge, as Hawkman, does a great job in carrying the team. But I had no clue why he was able to take a beating from Black Adam, and seemingly issue damage back. How? The movie doesn’t explain. He’s got wings that look electronic, is he a militarily super soldier? Again, no clue. He’s just there, with no backstory. So, I just failed to care about any of the characters. His interactions with Fate were some of the better scenes in the film though.
Team oh no
Others joining the team are the ‘funny’ but useless Atom Smasher and Cyclone. Atom Smasher is supposed to be the light-hearted element, but his jokes didn’t get one laugh from the cinema I watched Black Adam in. And Cyclone? Bloody hell. I’d sack her immediately if she was on my superhero team. She’s a god damn liability. One scene has her throwing metal scaffolding at Black Adam… Not only is this painfully and obviously not going to do anything to him, but she also manages almost kill bystanders in the process. I spent quite a bit of time mumbling under my breath with this movie because there are so many dumb things that happen.
The story is pretty straight forward and sets up what I am sure will be a better future for DC. I say that because James Gunn and Peter Safran have taken over creative direction of the entertainment section. Thank God. I say that because Black Adam suffers what most other DC movies suffer, poor writing. The action scenes are bloody excellent, if not a little too yellow for me. It’s, of course, a serious movie, it’s DC, so why they pepper terrible attempts at humour in is beyond me. Stick to being serious if you want that to be your thing, just do it better.
The music in the film is an odd beast. At times it felt like they were copying James Gun’s Guardians of the Galaxy, playing some zany and fun tunes, only to go back into bland orchestral pieces we’ve heard a million times. The flip flopping between the two was annoying, though I am sure most won’t notice.
Black Adam is a movie that is ‘fun’ because you don’t know what is going to happen and has nice action beats. That’s what kept me happy. I wanted to know where it was going, even if I didn’t really care. And that’s fine. But it certainly isn’t a movie I’d want to watch again. I am hopeful though that they will do something with Johnson’s Black Adam going forward as he was great. And with the end credit scene, I think we’ll get just that.
I give Black Adam an underwhelming…