Black Adam [Grade: 87.92%]

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Story By: Adam Szytkiel, Rory Haines, & Sohrab Noshirvani

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Sarah Shahi, Bodhi Sabongui, Pierce Brosnan, Quintessa Swindell, Noah Centineo, Marwan Kenzari, and Viola Davis

* * *

Definitely an action packed good time, but could’ve pushed to be more purposeful vs sticking to the surface level. 

* * *

Theme & Story: A-

Pacing: A-

Character: B

Overall “Paper” Score: B

* * *

Entertainment Factors

General Public: Interesting Enough

DC Movie Fans: Worth the $$$

Action / Fantasy Fans: Worth the $$$

Experience Seekers (Action / Fight Sequences): Worth the $$$

Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Interesting Enough

* * *

TAKEAWAYS:

1. A slave turned “champion” of the people of ancient Kahndaq is summoned in the present to help keep a powerful entity from getting into the wrong hands while also acting as a power to liberate the city in the process. This is Black Adam. 

Thematically, the messaging that I found to be executed clearly was about defining a hero, and understanding that being a hero can start by simply shifting one’s purposeful mindset from being individualistically driven to being driven for the common good. 👍🏾

I must admit, when it comes to thematic continuity with the story, I personally found everything to be quite strong. The film starts with a lead character discussing and taking a chance at heroism, then moves into modern day idolization of this hero from the past, to Adam’s character coming into the story bringing about torn perspectives regarding his relationship with heroism + his own feelings about him being connected to heroism, to a shared learning of what heroism actually means / can mean, to this need for a different type of “hero” to help conclude everything. 👍🏾

Two areas of the story that could’ve used a little more time in the oven for me was tone and plot purpose. In terms of tone, as the film progressed, the added levity started to feel more natural to the film to the point of almost feeling like 2 different films between Act One and the second half of Act Two. It wasn’t something extremely glitchy for my viewing experience, just something I noticed, and wonder what the film could’ve felt like as a simply serious comic film that focused on people living under a government with high levels of surveillance and captivity (to some degree). 🤷🏾‍♂️

In regards to the plot purpose (which really goes more into pacing) I wish more time was placed on understanding the importance of the crown in present day Kahndaq. The film moves so fast from why it was so important in the beginning to randomly presently day people looking for it with an assumption (I presume) would be due to what was observed in the exposition, but that doesn’t really fit with the present day context. I needed an actual, physical villain in pursuit vs an implied organization.🤦🏾‍♂️

2. UGH! Aldis Hodge is a beautiful man! 😩😍🙌🏾

3. The fight scenes, though… 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

4. Eh… I need more than some ancestry.com motivation. 👀🤷🏾‍♂️

5. Black Adam has a runtime of 115 min, and it’s a quiet action packed 115 min—it’s the first thing I picked up about this film, that it felt like every 5-10 minutes, we were in a battle or some fast paced sequence. 👍🏾

Where I feel pacing fell short was with providing more purpose for the plot other than getting Adam on screen. Yes, he’s the title character, but that doesn’t mean he has to exist without being purposefully moved by others in his story. As previously mentioned, I would’ve loved an a physical villain versus and entity for the way this script was written. It was obvious that the action made up for/covered up the reason for everything happening in the present day. 🤷🏾‍♂️

6. The visual effects, ESPECIALLY when centered on Cyclone. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

7. The twist!👍🏾

8. BUT… to piggyback off point #7…I saw the side of that individual’s face early on and sort of knew… 👀👀👀

9. I really liked Pierce Brosnan. 👍🏾

10. So… I read in a article before Black Adam’s release that this was a character that Dwayne Johnson always wanted since he was a child, and that he put his all in this performance. Eh… there really isn’t too much to this character for Dwayne Johnson to have put “his all” into. I personally think his portrayal of Black Adam was a more controlled version of his past wrestling persona. This isn’t to say it was a bad performance—it wasn’t at all—but I think people are giving him much more than needed. He was just well casted. 🤷🏾‍♂️

Outside of that, his character was very strong in regards to thematic followthrough. He was a character looked at as a hero, didn’t see himself as one, but also didn’t see himself as a villain, and he tried to exist in that personally complex intersection. 👍🏾

The Justice Society of America was another great connection to the theme, especially Aldis Hodge’s character Hawkman. Similar to Adam, Hawkman was also existing at this intersection of trying to unpack what it means to be/exist as/identify a hero. 👍🏾

Amon Tomaz was an interesting character. At times, he felt a little extra/too obvious/in your face in regards to the theme, which is why I wish there was more to a villain in this particular story. He had the spirit of a child, and his love for heroes helped to drive the theme, but it was very WOOHAH (in my Busta Rhymes voice) in your face. 🤷🏾‍♂️

Atom Smasher was also another character who felt too obvious in terms of his need. In my eyes, he was meant to be the comedic entry and relief for the film, and he does a great job, but I wasn’t completely drawn to him. He wanted to be “fetch” so bad, but he wasn’t my stand out. 🤷🏾‍♂️

I did like Pierce Brosnan’s character. You can tell his is a seasoned actor, and at times felt like the odd man in the Justice Society of America…but he still managed to have my attention every scene he was in. 👍🏾

My favorite character to watch in action, though… Cyclone! The visual effects for her were beautiful, and she was just fascinating to watch. 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾

Now the character who was just thrown in there to be the villain—Ishmael—he was underutilized in my opinion. More could’ve been done with his character to add more weight to the plot overall. He is, yet, another character who’s purpose for the plot was a little too obvious, except lazily unfolded.   🥴🤷🏾‍♂️

* * *

Overall #BlackAdam gives Sonic 2 – meets The Justice League – meets Wonder Woman – meets Eternals. 

Did I enjoy myself? Absolutely. The film delivers MOST on its action and pacing to support the action. I just wish there was more “story”…

Also…just a random rant and request— when are we going to get away from folks thinking bullets can stop a being who is floating in the air and crashing through mountains? Like… WHY are we still writing this into these stories? After the first blast does nothing, it’s okay to write that everyone ran and/or retreated LOL 

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