Black Adam review: DC continues with the duds

After what feels like a lifetime of waiting, Black Adam is here as the latest DCEU attempt at establishing something for the public to take notice of. So, after all this time, was it worth it?


The plot is rather simple: Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) is a super-powered being given powers in the same way as Shazam and he even uses the “Shazam!” catchphrase to switch between forms. A bit confusing for casual superhero fans who don’t know the comic connection between the two characters but overall it’s not too important.

Sealed away for countless years for an initially unexplained reason, Black Adam returns and appears to be a very loose cannon that needs to be controlled once again. Meeting him is the Justice Society – not the Justice League – comprised of Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell) and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo).

The five square off until they need to team up to fight some real big bad and there’s a cast of regular humans in the background too.

The story itself is nothing. It’s so utterly uninteresting and ultimately inconsequential that it could be edited out to turn this two-hour movie into a 30-minute YouTube video and that would be more enjoyable.

There’s nothing else to say about the why and how of the happenings in this movie and this poor writing extends to the cast. While the actors and actresses were given little to work with the talent behind that varied wildly.

Brosnan acted circles around everyone else and turned out to be the real heart of the movie, despite the fact that the filmmakers tried their best for a child character to be who the audience really cares about.

For those who cringe when they see bad child actors on screen prepare to find a good 50 percent of this movie to be embarrassing. This isn’t just the fault of the actor but also the filmmakers who failed him because, aside from the awful dialogue, there are technical issues like bad ADR that hamper things.

The rest of the cast is fine. The Rock is The Rock is The Rock and if you’ve seen any of his movies – or wrestling career – where he plays more of a heel, then you know what to expect.

Certain people may say that all the fluff around the action in a movie like this isn’t important, but we then have to ask why there is so much non-action crammed in.

Again this movie is two hours long. It could have easily been cut down to a tighter 90 minutes and skipped a lot of the non-essential story and grating characters.

But how is that action when it happens? Well, we hope you like kinda dark and very brown PlayStation 3-era aesthetics because that is the majority of this movie. You can see much of it in the trailers on this page and that is how most of the film looks.

The CGI of the fighting (and it is mostly CGI) is actually quite solid. There are only a few instances of characters looking rubbery and it’s on par with the computer-generated mediocracy of the latest MCU movie so at least Marvel and DC are on even when it comes to overworking CGI artists for lower pay and wonky results.

Is there some fun stuff to enjoy as the supes beat each other senseless? Sure but there are no real stakes and no one even gets a bloody nose despite being punched through an infinite amount of buildings.

This doesn’t just apply to Black Adam himself, but even the “weaker” superheroes show no real sign of things being difficult or dangerous because they’re always in the next scene looking runway ready with maybe some dirt on their pristine costume to indicate that they just got pummelled a few seconds ago.

It’s funny that the quips and obvious jokes in this movie don’t hold a candle to the hilarity of the music choices. Black Adam got an audible chuckle from us with the first use of a licenced song at the beginning of the movie. The meme’d to death “the world is a vampire” opening line from The Smashing Pumpkins’ Bullet with Butterfly Wings plays to set the film into motion.

The one-two punch of funny happened about an hour later when the line “no one man should have all that power” from Kanye West’s Power was played thrice in succession as Black Adam casually slaughters a few hundred unnamed, masked goons and causes irreparable damage to the mining infrastructure of an embattled country.

If there was an original score in this movie we don’t remember a single note of it despite sitting down to write this review shortly after the credits rolled.

Black Adam is supposedly a “passion project” but this doesn’t come across as anything with passion behind it. As a complete package, it’s more like some executives at Warner Bros./Discovery dangled millions of Dollars in front of people until a product was rolled off of the assembly line to meet some annual forecasts to satisfy shareholders.

This movie is a bore and only claws back some points as it holds together fine visually for the most part and we do genuinely like Brosnan as Doctor Fate. Maybe they should have just made a Doctor Fate movie instead of the umpteenth attempt at “but what if Superman, but bad???”

Skip this movie, read the synopsis on Wikipedia and watch the after-credits scene on YouTube in a few months.


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