Life & Culture

Film review: Black Adam: "Yet again a case of throwing everything in the mix and hoping that some of it works."

A disappointing DC offering


This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Jalon Christian, foreground, and Dwayne Johnson in a scene from "Black Adam." (Warner Bros.)

Cert: 12A

Stars: **

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars in this new adaptation of one of DC comics most iconic superhero characters. Directed by Spanish born filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Jungle Cruise), Black Adam is a spin off from Shazam! (2019) and the 11th film in the DC extended universe.

Written by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani, the film also stars Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton, Hidden Figures) Netflix’s very own teen heartthrob Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, The Perfect Date), American-Iranian actor Sarah Shahi, Marwan Kenzari (Aladdin) and Mr 007 himself, Pierce Brosnan. by)

The story takes place in the fictional middle-eastern country of  Kahndaq in the present day. Nearly 5,000 years after he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the Egyptian gods, Black Adam (Johnson) is freed from his tomb by local historian and archeologist  Adrianna (Shani). Angry and confused by the modern world, Adam wreaks havoc around him as he unleashes his unique form of justice on those who tried to harm him.

Meanwhile, having retrieved a powerful artefact from Adam’s tomb, Adrianna’s life and that of her teenage son are put in great danger as they are pursued by a duplicitous former associate. Enter the Justice Society, a group of misfits and superheroes headed by Carter Hall (Hodge) and Doctor Fate (Brosnan), their mission is to capture Adam and make sure she never leaves his prison again.

One dreads to think what Black Adam would have looked like without Johnson’s ever present charm and magnetism. With a preposterously far-fetch - even for a superhero movie - premise and some decidedly below par performances from almost everyone involved, Black Adam adds yet another notch to DC’s never ending list of terrible big screen adaptations.

While the film is entertaining enough, mainly thanks to Johnson's deadpan delivery, this is yet again a case of throwing everything in the mix and hoping that some of it works. Aside from the commendable, if barely coherent,  anti-colonialist stance, Black Adam just doesn’t have much to say nor is it funny enough to function as a semi-comedic response to the MCU.

Let down by a convoluted premise and some truly atrocious CGI renderings, it’s safe to say that this isn’t the DCEU offering starring Dwayne Johnson most of us were hoping for. Still, fans of the franchise won’t care too much about that.

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