If you want a one sentence review for Black Adam, it would be, “it isn’t a terrible film, but it isn’t particularly interesting either.” The film certainly has some good moments, which I will allude to later in this Black Adam film review, but those moments are separated by a lot of what we have all seen before from this type of story.
Let’s get into the review.
Anti-Hero or Just Bad?
Dwayne Johnson brings his signature big guy in a big film attitude to the role of Black Adam, and as his character doesn’t really say much I can’t say I really know who he is. Sure, there are some revelations and small character moments here and there, but for the most part he’s just a boring version of Shazam! who doesn’t mind killing people.
The anti-hero should be a fascinating character study, or at least showcase an individual we start to care at least a little about, understanding their worldview – like what the film Venom did with Eddie Brock. That story was a pretty good example of how you can have the “good” and “bad” parts of a person come together in a satisfying way.
Black Adam just seems like a traumatized individual, taken 5000 years out of his time, and forced into trying to be a hero despite essentially being a murderer. Sure, this kind of character development can work well, if handled right, but this wasn’t.
The Justice Society
The highlight of this film for me was the Justice Society. Again, most of the characters weren’t developed very well, and their backstories were brushed over quickly meaning I cared very little for most of them, but Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate was great. I really enjoyed his little arc and role in the overall story, but even his performance wasn’t enough for me to properly enjoy this film.
If we had less of the filler rubbish in the film and dedicated a bit more of it to showing us who these people are, I think that would have improved it a little. But to be honest, I think the story as a whole just fell flat and would require more than a little change to improve it drastically.
The main issue with Black Adam is not the performances of the actors or the cinematography or effects, but the story itself. Without going into spoilers, we essentially have the revival of an ancient hero who is immediately hunted down by the Justice Society, while a descendant of an ancient kind aims to become some sort of demon king to make his country great again…
In general it’s a watchable film, but it’s just not very interesting. A boring plot can be okay if the characters are amazing, but this film’s heroes, villains and side characters were all mostly flat and uninteresting.
The Future of Black Adam
I think there are future films planned for Black Adam, but I can’t really see what they can do with the character on his own. In an ensemble cast, they might be able to make a good film out of it, like when they put Thor and the Hulk together in Thor: Ragnarok. We will see.
I’m interested to see what the future holds for the character, but not holding my breath.