Black Adam, DC’s October blockbuster starring The Rock, was unfortunately quite a predictable bore. DC is darker for sure, but it also lacks the spark and amusement of Marvel and their MCU. Black Adam is based on the DC comic book first published in 1945.
The Black Adam story is a blander copy of The Mummy, Moon Knight, and other Egyptian films made by Hollywood, taking place in the fictional Middle Eastern Kahndaq, without possessing anything really novel throughout the whole film. It’s almost as if the creators, led by director Jaume Collet-Serra, ran the story, cast, and script through “the standard Superhero algorithm” to generate the movie. However, to be honest, I think Artificial Intelligence would’ve done a better job.
Commendable Casting but Weak Dialogue and Characters
I love Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He’s super cool with his incredibly bulging muscles even without CGI, his charismatic smile, along with his colorful heritage and corresponding responsibility. He gave a decent performance, playing the anti-hero Teth-Adam called to the present day from ancient Kahndaq. Adrianna, the modern mother character whom Black Adam kept saving, was played by Sarah Shahi, of Iranian and Spanish descent. Amon, the son whom Black Adam also kept rescuing, was played by 14-year-old Bodhi Sabongui, of Egyptian, Liberian, and French descent. The protective mother and good-but-rascally son delivered lines that could’ve been written by any random customer at a café.
The seemingly random Justice Society—Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo)—were all cast with a representative eye in mind. The Justice Society originates from the DC Comic Book characters. Their role was to stop Teth-Adam from destroying Kahndaq and the world. The social irony, as the mother Adrianna explained, was that 1) the people of Kahndaq see Teth-Adam as their rescuer and defender, not as a villain, plus 2) where was the Justice Society when Kahndaq actually needed them due to global violence and poverty.
Although the main characters were commendable for diversity, the dramatic speeches were fairly predictable, and the comedic one-liners were few and far between. I’ll admit there were a few lines that were pretty funny though. Uncle Karim was a good addition. However, overall, the delivery gave the impression that either the actors were jaded from doing 55 takes of the same lines, or that they didn’t even find the script interesting themselves.
Heroic Villain or Villainous Hero, with Violence
Teth-Adam, notably, promoted violence, unlike other superheroes in DC and even Marvel, minus Deadpool. One of the few humorous dialogues was when the mother Adrianna said “I do not want you teaching my son violence!” and Teth-Adam obliged with “Of course, I understand. His father should be the one teaching him violence”. The promotion of violence is meant to be understood as “only when needed”, which seems to be the way many nations conduct wars, but I digress.
Overall, Black Adam served its role as an action-packed, smashing, action movie with great diversity. Just don’t expect a revolutionary storyline.