A mediocre but fun and action-packed film
By Blake Moren
A&E Page Editor
This review contains spoilers.
“Black Adam” is a film based on the DC character of the same name. It is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. It stars Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Marwan Kenzari, Quintessa Swindell, Bodhi Sabongui and Pierce Brosnan.
Upon seeing the trailer, I was both excited but cautiously optimistic about this film. My prediction for the Rotten Tomatoes score after seeing the first trailer was around 60-70%. That turned out to be completely incorrect.
The Rotten Tomatoes score ended up being around 41%. This worried me a bit. This also lowered my expectation level considerably, thinking how a superhero film starring Dwayne Johnson could have such low RT score.
Well…After seeing “Black Adam”, I am a bit concerned for the future of DC films. Even though the mid-credits cutscene promises a bright future, I am still highly skeptical. I say this because “Black Adam” is a very mediocre film.
I say this without hesitation: “Thor: Love and Thunder” is a much better film than “Black Adam.” While I don’t necessarily hate it, I think “Love and Thunder” is the worst Marvel Cinematic Universe film I have ever seen, in my opinion, but it’s far superior to “Black Adam”.
Firstly, the story is convoluted, confusing and an absolute mess. I had a hard time following the story. What makes the story even worse is that it feels dated, like we’ve seen the same story elements before in far better Marvel and DC films.
This is one of the most predictable films I’ve ever seen.There were times I rolled my eyes at how cringe-worthy this film is. The film itself barely makes any sense at times, and some of the characters are outright irritating.
From a technical viewpoint, this film is actually okay. The musical score by Lorne Balfe is pretty good, even if it’s clichéd and over-the-top. The action scenes are actually pretty cool and pretty awesome in some cases.
However, the quality of the slow-motion action sequences is uneven. As much as I love Zack Snyder’s DC films, they also had slow motion action sequences that seemed to be a bit excessive at times. The difference is that Snyder’s slow-motion action sequences were much better executed. Here, they just feel lazy.
Additionally, the quality of the editing and camera angles varies from scene to scene. It’s also littered with constant exposition that got on my nerves a few times.
The quality of CGI in this film is inconsistent, with some of it looking great, and other times it looks unfinished. For example, Hawkman and his wings are awesome-looking; while all of the demons in this film look unfinished.
Additionally, the opening narration was completely awful. It was delivered in a very boring, monotone way, and the audio quality of this narration was so terrible that I was shocked that it ended up being in the final cut of this film.
The acting in this film is actually one of its greatest aspects. Most of the actors do a great job in this film, but a few others do not. Dwayne Johnson portrays Black Adam, the main character of the film who shares the same abilities as Shazam. Despite the awful script, Johnson does the best he can with what’s he been given. Sarah Shahi, who portrays Adrianna Tomaz, who is a university professor, is one of the best actors in the film.
However, Amon Tomaz, who is Adrianna’s son, is the most irritating character in the entire film. Bodhi Sabongui, who portrays Amon, is the worst actor in this film. His delivery of his lines is terrible and his character is really annoying. However, the rest of the cast does a great job.
Pierce Brosnan portrays Doctor Fate, and he does an amazing job. He is my favorite character in the film. Aldis Hodge is another highlight of the film. Hodge portrays Hawkman, my second favorite character in the film. Hodge and Pierce are arguably the best actors in the film. The rest of the Justice Society is also great. Both Noah Centineo and Quintessa Swindell do a great job of portraying Atom Smasher and Cyclone.
Honestly, the Justice Society is the best part of this film. There were genuinely funny and powerful moments in their interactions.
Marwan Kenzari, who portrays the main villains Ishmael Gregor and Sabbac, is another good actor hindered by a terrible script. These villains are so boring, generic and terribly written that I just didn’t care about them.
This is the main problem with the film. Many of the ideas regarding its story are promising, but executed terribly. The same could be said for most of the characters and their motivations. The story and most of the characters are just not as fleshed-out as they should be.
But then again, this is just a dumb superhero movie, right? Well, I’ll just say this: “Black Adam” is slightly better than “Batman & Robin.”
Another problem is the continuity of this film. While it would make sense that Amanda Waller, portrayed again by Viola Davis, would appear in this film because she appeared in previous DC films, the Justice Society have not.
While it’s fine to introduce new characters to a film franchise, the way the filmmakers approached this was incredibly lazy. The Justice Society has never appeared in any of the previous films, but the film acts like they’ve been around for a while, even though they didn’t stop General Zod, Doomsday, the Enchantress, Steppenwolf, King Orm or even Dr. Sivana.
That doesn’t make any sense, but then again, the continuity of the DC Extended Universe is inconsistent and is always changing, with Snyder’s films kind of being the only exception to this rule. To be fair, this criticism could also be applied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In conclusion, this is an uneven, mediocre and terribly executed film. But, it has a lot of fun, action-packed moments and some likeable characters. With a better director, script, story and characters, this film could have been pretty good, but unfortunately, this is not the case with “Black Adam.” Rating: 3.5 / 10