Film Review: Black Adam

15 years ago, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson threw his hat in the ring to play the anti-hero Black Adam. The movie of the same name has finally been released. I must state that I am by no means a DC expert, I’ve played the LEGO games and watched a couple of the animated shows in my time but I’m absolutely an MCU fan first.

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15 years ago, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson threw his hat in the ring to play the anti-hero Black Adam. The movie of the same name has finally been released. I must state that I am by no means a DC expert, I’ve played the LEGO games and watched a couple of the animated shows in my time but I’m absolutely an MCU fan first.

With that said, I was still excited to see the movie. I’d originally overslept and missed the 10am screening so had to rearrange for midday. I suppose the real test then is do I feel as though I should’ve just left it and gone back to sleep again? Let me think on it. 

I thought the film had an infectious energy to it. If that sounds like a vague compliment - it is.

The structure (and as an extension the pacing of the film) is shocking so it shouldn’t really come together well at all, yet, somehow it does. The film starts off with some overcooked narration, followed by a tomb raider scene and then an ‘assemble the team’ scene… It’s almost like two thirds of the runtime is the 1st act. Playing out in such a weird way but with so many action sequences it is just pure anarchy and so fun.

 I’m convinced there was nothing written down in the script until an hour in. Every object is imploding and exploding before you know if the object was a person or a car, let alone if the character had any depth. Granted, the effects were good and there’s a compelling origin in there somewhere, it’s just absolutely drowned in nonsense. 

I did love the Justice Society - They’re completely unequipped to face Black Adam and all his smouldering, but worthy of a show themselves. The wannabe Justice League consists of Hawkman, Dr Fate, Cyclone and Atom Smasher. Atom Smasher, played by Noah Centineo, is like Deadpool, Spider-Man and Ant-Man all rolled into one – completely derivative but you can’t deny the great combo.

Quintessa Swindell plays Cyclone who can control wind, Hawkman is portrayed by Aldis Hodge – essentially a discount Black Panther. Which is a shame because he has that same regal quality and moral alignment that Chadwick Boseman had, if Hawkman had been around before, he’d be much more impactful.

It’s Dr. Fate that is the best character. Pierce Brosnan feels like an SAS soldier that’s walked into Laser Quest, he’s completely overqualified and brings his suave charisma to a character that is actually pretty cool but clearly a counterpart to Doctor Strange. 

I’m very appreciative of the fact that after two decades of superhero films, patterns will emerge. I’m especially aware that DC and Marvel have always had similarities right down to the fundamentals, comic writers would actually work for both companies. You have to give DC the benefit of the doubt, even though almost every character in here is a mirror image of someone seen already in the MCU, they shouldn’t be reduced to being ‘a copy’. For example, Dr. Fate had been conceived 23 years before Doctor Strange - I know DC can do so much better than this hodgepodge, scrapbook of a film. 

Dwayne Johnson is ultimately bland as Black Adam, the third act is not gripping, the family who assist in the fish out of water moments are annoying and the origin itself is too pretentious and underdeveloped. There are glimmers of a good movie but this is the most formulaic and unsurprising comic book movie yet. 

 

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