Movie Review: BLACK ADAM Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the biggest action star in the world, and rightfully so. He’s made movies where he blows sh*t up, fires big guns, wrecks cars, jumped off buildings, fought domestic terrorists, defeated a giant ape and even went head-to-head with an earthquake. The man has done it all. So, it’s pretty clear that a superhero film was in his future.
Black Adam has been talked about and touted for years and it’s finally here. The problem is: it’s a letdown.
Even a man who is as close to a real-life superhero like Johnson can’t save Black Adam from itself. But, you can’t blame The Rock for the film’s failures or shortcomings. DJ does all he can and more to save this sinking ship of a film.
Throw in the reliable and often standout actor, Pierce Brosnan, and the film seemed like it was destined to be a great one. Boy were we all wrong. But, once again, Brosnan is not to blame. In fact, Brosnan and Johnson along with the other actors are the saving grace of the film.
The real problem with Black Adam is the plot has more holes than swiss cheese. Director Jaume Collet-Serra, along with screenwriters Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani, try to stuff so much into the film, it just falls flat. It feels like the film really isn’t about Black Adam.
I went into the film expecting to see my hero – our hero, America’s hero – The Rock, kicking ass and taking names. Yet, the film spends too much time on characters not named Black Adam. Taking the focus off him to jump to Adrianna (Sarah Shahi) and her son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui) is a huge letdown.
WE WANT THE ROCK, DAMMIT!
Adrianna resides in modern-day Kahndaq, a country that while in DCs universe, seems to be similar to the Middle East and its oppressive rule over it’s people. Kahndaq’s ancient mythology states that Black Adam was a slave who saved the country from rule of an awful king. The king gained power of demons through a crown that had magical material that is called Eternium. That happens to be the only thing that can hurt Black Adam.
Now, you would think that since Eternium can hurt Black Adam, much like Kryptonite can hurt Superman, this would be an important feature of the film. Well, you would be wrong.
The movie also introduces us to the Justice Society. Don’t confuse it with the Justice League. The Justice Society is comprised of a group of international superheroes led by Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Brosnan’s Doctor Fate, Red Tornado (Quintessa Swindell) and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo).
My biggest issue with the Justice Society is that we get no introductions to any of the characters. While the actors do their best, it’s hard to be successful when we don’t even know exactly what hero they are playing. If this movie were actually about the Justice Society, it might come off as ok, but it’s called Black Adam and it stars The Rock!
While there are tons of battle scenes, lots of killing and action galore, the subpar CGI ruins it all.
The film is at its best when it’s focused on Johnson. Usually, superheroes aren’t allowed to kill people – but Adam has no qualms about going on a killing spree. For a PG-13 film, there is a ton of violence, which I welcomed with open arms.
The movie is best when focusing on the fact that a superhuman has been awaken after sleeping for 5,000 years. There is some comedic charm in teaching Adam about the modern world. While Adam is barbaric, he does have a heart. He is learning about modern society and how it differs from his barbaric upbringing.
Black Adam isn’t all bad, as Johnson saves the film from drowning. His charm and comedic wit keep the film from being a total dud – and he should be lauded for that fact. As I walked out of the film, which left a ton of questions, the biggest one was: why? Why put Johnson, who could carry any film by himself, in a film that doesn’t play to that strength? It just makes no sense. It was almost like the director and screenwriters forgot who the star was. That’s a shame because it looked like Johnson was ready to give the world a superhero movie that was bigger than anything we’d seen before. Ultimately, by no fault of his, the film just gets added to the list of DCEU films that disappoint.