We’re so very excited for this one. We had the absolute priviledge of checking out Black Adam early, and with only a few days until Adam is unleashed upon the world now seems like the perfect time to jump right into our review- Without spoilers of course, we’re not animals. Black Adam is coming and you won’t receive any mercy from him. Be sure to check out Black Adam in cinema on October 21st. See it on the biggest screen possible and witness the change in heirarchy of power in the DC Universe. You’re all in for a real treat.
Nearly 5,000 years after he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the ancient gods—and imprisoned just as quickly—Black Adam (Johnson) is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.
As Black Adam‘s release date drew nearer, something felt incredibly different compared to other DC-related releases. It’s still difficult to pinpoint exactly why it felt different, but part of it revolves around Black Adam’s character. We’ve seen anti-heroes in the superhero world before, right? Just look at James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad or Sony’s Venom. These are bad characters who do good deeds… Badly. The same goes for Black Adam, but there’s something fascinating about his role because he is near on omnipotent. We’re dealing with a character who is extremely powerful and angry. He literally cannot be stopped. This film could have either restrained him or fully unleashed him… And they went with the latter, thankfully. Black Adam is an absolute force of nature and they fully embrace that, staying true to his character and creating a blood-pumping and kinetic experience that is brutal from the get-go.
The brutality of Black Adam is what will separate it from the myriad of comic book related content we’ve had… And we’ve had a lot these past few years. The film does such a great job at establishing Black Adam’s power and showing it off to the extreme. Now, they didn’t lean into the gory side of the violence, but you can really feel the intensity of it. Every punch, dismemberment, bone crunch, and explosion… You can feel the power of Black Adam from his strength, all the way to his speed and destructive lightning. It packs quite the punch and it’ll surely place every superhero fan firmly in their element. His abilities are even used to make us laugh. Imagine the absurdity of trying to take Black Adam on with a baton or even a missile. There are some incredibly funny set ups, reminiscent of the Flash and X-Men’s Quicksilver, where you can actually see what’s going to happen and how it’ll end for the enemies- at this point, they’re literally cannon fodder sacrificed for the sake of entertainment and it is glorious.
Just watching the trailers for Black Adam revealed just how big this film is going to be. Even then, the trailers only revealed a fraction of what’s in store. Black Adam is a visually stunning spectacle, and we’re not just talking about the visual effects either. The environments are interesting and plentiful, the suits are among some of the best we’ve ever seen in DC and perhaps in the entire superhero genre. Not only does the action look fantastic and feel exhilerating, but the overall film is so visually consistent in terms of scope and spectacle. It never falters and it uses every opportunity to show these new characters in the best light possible.
Speaking of characters, Black Adam utilises its completely new cast brilliantly. It’s a great introduction into the lore that surrounds Black Adam, and an even better exploration of the oddities within the superhero realm. There are of course sacrifices made in regards to some of the characters screen time, but everyone gets a healthy amount that it’s really easy to walk out and have a clear favourite- Hawkman and Doctor Fate all the way. Unfortunately, the film struggles with its human characters. Most of them are generic and bland, but they serve the story by steering Black Adam in the right direction. There is an element of fun to be had whereby the human side of this story actually works against the Justice Society. It’s an interesting dynamic and it does raise a lot of questions regarding the purpose of superheroes. Not only that but it also helps further ignite the rivalry between Hawkman and Black Adam which in itself is an absolute highlight.
The major issue with Black Adam is that it doesn’t inspire anything new out of the superhero genre. There are some really cool ideas that work in its favour, but when you look at the story as a whole it is very formulaic and basic. For a film that has had a long and fascinating history, it feels as though they missed an opportunity to add a flare of life to a genre that has grown exponentially yet remained somewhat the same. Having said that though, this film is about Black Adam’s debut into the theatrical DC universe and the way they handled him is near on perfect. They nailed his abilities, his attitude and morality, and his relationships with other figures of renowned power and status.
Black Adam is a thrilling ride. Sure, it has some weaknesses but they’re quickly buried under the high-octane action and immense fun. Dwayne Johnson delivers a really refreshing performance that allows him to embrace a more sinister persona. Aldis Hodge and Pierce Brosnan absolutely shine as Hawkman and Doctor Fate, they’re the only two forces that can keep up with Black Adam and it’s brilliant to watch. Hawkman and Black Adam are on two different ends of the spectrum and it creates an unique bond that grows and changes throughout the film. It’s a tense relationship, but it does highlight some interesting gaps associated with ideals of justice and security. Supported by an epic and ancient-sounding soundtrack from the brilliant Lorne Balfe, Black Adam is somehow both formulaic and refreshing. While its limitations may weigh it down ever so slightly, this is unquestionably an incredibly promising start for the antihero. Black Adam certainly has a very bright future in front of him…
Oh, make sure you hang around for the credits. You’re welcome.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, the film stars Dwayne Johnson, Noah Centineo, Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Quintessa Swindell, Mo Amer, Marwan Kenzari, Bodhi Sabongui, James Cusati-Moyer, Sarah Shahi and Uli Latukefu. Black Adam will be ready to cause chaos in cinemas on October 21st, 2022. Have you booked your tickets yet? Let us know in the comments.