The reviews for Black Adam have rolled in, and it’s time to see how the next DC film is going to fare. Lets take a look and see.
For viewers that want popcorn entertainment, Black Adam delivers and sets up something that could be really exciting for the future of the DCEU. It’s unclear how the DCEU will capitalize on this, even with The Flash, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and Shazam! Fury of the Gods slated for 2023. For now, Black Adam has done enough to ensure that viewers will be eager to see what the character does next in the DCEU. Fingers crossed that they’re heading toward something loosely inspired by World War III or Kingdom Come…
Is Black Adam the movie that will singlehandedly bring back the DC Cinematic Universe to stand toe to toe with what Marvel has built? No, but it’s certainly laying the groundwork for this to be a possibility down the line. Black Adam is a fun, frenzied, and flawed film that answers the prayers of many while also giving viewers an action-packed thrill ride with plenty of charisma from its key players. (I would also be doing the movie a disservice if I didn’t mention the amazing “pop” my screening received during the post-credit scene, which might just rival Captain America picking up Thor’s hammer for the biggest reaction ever heard in a theater.) It’s a roller coaster ride and, if you walk in with that mindset, you’re going to have a good time.
What’s most important here is securely planting the flag for subsequent installments of Black Adam adventures, and that it would seem to do. The visual spectacle just keeps coming at you for two hours, and the effects are all so stupendous that you could begin to take it for granted. Practically every shot features something epic or at least unusual going on and director Jaume Collet-Serra, who guided Johnson’s 2020 hit Jungle Cruise, takes good care to present the star in the most favorable dramatic light. The Rock is always the center of attention of any scene he’s in, and there’s every reason to believe that he’ll soon push ahead to create a string of Black Adam films and make up for lost time.
Johnson creates a magnetic antihero, volatile and antisocial. He doesn’t fly so much as stalk the sky; he swats opponents like the bundles of weightless CG pixels they are. And this passion project serves the character well, setting him up for adventures one hopes will be less predictable than this one.
There is not a single quiet moment of meaning or introspection in “Black Adam.” There is no thought or recognizable humanity. There is not a moment that doesn’t have Lorne Balfe’s musical score blaring underneath. Jokes are delivered with such haste, it might take a moment to acknowledge those moments were meant to be funny. The filmmakers know that certain fights and confrontations and villains and McGuffins needed to be included, but fail to effectively establish mood or stakes. The editing is so quick and perfunctory, “Black Adam” emerges feeling like an outline rather than a finished movie. There is no wit, no thrill, and no slickness to the action. “Black Adam” reeks of studio tinkering and endless recuts. Even visually, the film is unclear and undynamic with action often obscured by clouds of dust or Dr. Fate’s shimmering CGI geometric crystal shards.
The movie is essentially “Shane” on steroids, set in the Middle East instead of the Old West, but still seen through the eyes of a young boy — Adrianna’s comic book-obsessed son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui), in this case — who idolizes a figure of questionable morality. As with “Shane,” sticking a kid in the middle of the story brings the entire project down to a middle-school-level intellect. And yet, except for the recent Batman movies, that’s how most of the DC films feel.
Black Adam is scheduled to hit theaters on Oct. 21, 2022.