Black Adam, A Return for DC Movies

Can Black Adam save the DCEU after behind-the-scenes controversies?

By Kenny Velez

Photo Credit: IGN

Black Adam boldly stars in a weighty cast of notable DC figures.

“Black Adam” is the latest movie in the DC Extended Universe, as of November 6, 2022, and it has been a long time coming. 

Initially announced in 2014, it went through a variety of delays before finally coming out this year. 

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who also directed “Jungle Cruise”, the movie stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Pierce Brosnan, Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo and Quintessa Swindell.

The heart of the movie is the conflict between Black Adam and the Justice Society. The Justice Society is brought in to deal with Black Adam after his appearance causes an international incident. 

The Justice Society would be the heroes of any other superhero movie. However, since this is a Black Adam movie, they are the primary antagonists.

The introduction was an opening narration that essentially felt like an exposition dump. The film skipped through a fight between Black Adam and Sabbac at the beginning, but then it turns out that there was no fight at all, so that was a clever plot twist on their part.

The antagonist seemed to only exist so there could be someone for Teth-Adam to fight. Nothing can challenge him except for the mineral known as Eternium, so they needed someone superpowered to make a fair opponent.  

But once Teth-Adam and the Justice Society got over their differences, there was the need for yet another opponent that would be a bigger threat than Adam. 

Enter Sabbac. He becomes a CGI monster in the third act when he could’ve become a CGI monster in the second act, halfway through the movie. There could have been an interesting arc about Sabbac growing accustomed to being a monster.

The setting considerably contributed to the story. “Black Adam” takes place in the fictional Middle Eastern country known as Kahndaq, where a bunch of foreign invaders known as Intergang have taken over the country. 

If the story was set somewhere else, like the United States, then this aspect would have been lost. Black Adam’s identity as a freedom fighter, aiming to free his country, is an important part of his character. 

The effect of oppression is further highlighted through the side characters we meet in Kahndaq. They, too, yearn for freedom. 

The superhero’s origin story is a crucial part of the story, despite the fact that Black Adam is an experienced hero. 

There are no origin stories offered for the JSA. 

Instead, they are introduced as heroes that have been there the entire time, with only some of them being provided with decent background. Hawkman receives no set-up whatsoever. 

There is no romance in this story either. The closest that it comes to one is the flirtations between Atom Smasher and Cyclone.

Overall, the movie offers a good time, but it is no great superhero movie. It is formulaic and does a lot of things that various other superhero movies have done before. 

Earlier in the year, Warner Bros. was merged with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery. David Zaslav, president and CEO of the new company, made a bunch of unpopular moves since the merger, such as canceling movies like “Batgirl” before they could be released. 

“Black Adam” was released during a time when there was little hope for DC in film. The film itself received mixed reviews, made up of primarily negative reviews from critics and positive reviews from general audiences. 

The movie recently surpassed $350 million at the global box office. It might be the first step that DC has taken to restore faith with their fans, despite uncertainty behind the scenes. 

If the DCEU continues making movies like this, they may give Marvel a run for their money.

Categories: Arts

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