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Is ‘Black Adam’ worth the watch?

“Black Adam” is the latest installment of the DC Extended Film Universe, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, as the titular character of Black Adam. A man granted superpowers 5,000 years ago to prevent the unleashing of dark forces on the world, he is summoned to the modern era to face new and old threats alike. So, is it worth checking out?

To start off, this movie can be a bit confusing for non-DC fans. There are a lot of characters introduced and a number of references which may go over people’s heads. It is still possible to follow along, but it may take a bit of time to get acclimated with what’s happening.

Focusing on the film itself, the visual effects were stunning. They integrated with the real-world environments well, creating many incredible-looking shots and an overall really good-looking movie. Everything about this movie, from an aesthetic perspective, worked.

This translated into the action scenes, which benefited from both a meld of popping VFX and fantastic camera work. The combination brought some really fun fights and power dynamics to life. There are super-powered beings against regular people, super-powered beings against super-powered beings, and even a chase scene between super-powered beings and high-speed bikes.

The characters came together with their own charm and interesting relationships. Dwayne Johnson brought a different persona than his typical comedic portrayal, playing a stoic man out of time who learns what it means to be a hero. It leans into the “fish-out-of-water” trope a bit, but in a “this is how you become a superhero” kind of way. It worked well for the world that this movie is set in.

“Black Adam” gave a live-action debut to the Justice Society, a small band of heroes traditionally featured in the comics. They were led by Aldis Hodge’s character, Hawkman, who had a few interesting dynamics with different characters throughout the film. He constantly clashed with Black Adam over how to handle enemies and had little trust for the main character. The two partook in a tense alliance which boiled over a few times, resulting in some of the movie’s more memorable moments.

Hawkman also had a strong chemistry with Doctor Fate, Pierce Brosnan’s charismatic sorcerer. He may resemble Marvel’s Doctor Strange, but the two are their own characters. In fact, Doctor Fate was written into existence 23 years before Doctor Strange.

That said, if one enjoys the charismatic sorcerer type, they’ll like Doctor Fate. He stole every single scene that he was in. A calm, collected and charismatic presence at all times, warping reality and looking cool while doing it. The strong connection between himself and Hawkman made for the most compelling dynamic in the entire movie.

Cyclone and Atom, portrayed by Quintessa Swindel and Albert Rosthein respectively, round out the Justice Society as its less experienced members. The two shared a strong romantic chemistry and their developing bond was rather heartwarming.

The three human characters and the villain weren’t all too memorable. Their presence in the movie was to help Black Adam recognize the importance of heroes to humanity, but they weren’t all that interesting individually. This ties into one of the film’s larger problems: how much was happening.

Without delving into spoilers, this movie introduces Black Adam and his backstory, the Justice Society, and the human characters and the oppression they faced in their country. This is before mentioning the mercenary group serving as an antagonistic force. It’s just a lot for one movie. It never did a bad job of handling it and the basic plot is straightforward enough, so it would be easy for people less familiar with DC lore to get confused.

By far the biggest detractor from the film was the dialogue. The characterization was well-done throughout, but the dialogue was very repetitive and cliched. It was easy to figure out what a character was going to say before they’d even said it.

So, was “Black Adam” good? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is it’s an enjoyable time with friends but it’s not a must-see. If it were to receive a score out of 10, a six-point-five or seven would suffice.

About the Contributor
Adam Shah, Contributing Writer