Nearly 5,000 years after he was imprisoned, Black Adam is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.
THE GOOD STUFF
BLACK ADAM- The Black Adam is a character is a welcome departure from what the dceu gives us in terms of protagonists. At one point in the movie, there’s a direct comparison to Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name, and yes, the two characters do have stuff in common. Both are quiet, gruff, eccentric strangers with a strong but unorthodox sense of justice. Black Adam is a flat-out butcher, and his sense of justice is to kill first and ask questions later.. if he asks any questions at all. And because the DCEU has absolutely bastardized every single iconic Justice League character that we know and love, seeing a character that operates in such extremes, and seeing how those extremes play out can be fun… At times.
Pierce brosnan– I’m not out here saying that his performance in this movie is one of his best or that Doctor Fate is a character that deserves a franchise all his own. I will say that no matter the age, seeing Pierce Brosnan in an action movie again is a welcome sight. He is still effortlessly charismatic and has chemistry with everybody on screen that he shares scenes with. When it comes to a certain type of tent pole, having a massive amount of swag will make you the exception to everything a moviegoer can hate about your movie. Brosnan has that swag.
THE BAD STUFF
THE CHILD- I am always hesitant about giving thorough criticism of the performances of child actors in films. There’s always room to get better, and more often than not, the overall skill of a child actor is underdeveloped, given to the kind of roles that they have to play. However, in the interest of fairness, when there is a character that brings the energy of the movie down every time they’re on screen, it’s only fair to point that out. That being said, the character of Amon Tomaz (or Osiris to anybody who follows DC comics) is flat out cringe-worthy, unfunny, annoying, and absolutely predictable. By the second act of this movie the character overstays his welcome.
THE ACTION- When I think of the main thing that DCEU films do wrong in juxtaposition to the MCU films, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s what happens during the action sequences. I recently came to this conclusion after watching this film more so than anything else from the DCEU. I understand that Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are not killers. These are characters with 70 years of history, and to this very day, one of the key traits of all three of these characters is that they don’t kill. With the MCU, you have characters like the Hulk, Wolverine, The Punisher, and a lot of other characters on screen that will kill their opponent if they have to.
Black Adam is not only being advertised as the antithesis to the “Big 3” of DC comics, but the movie is advertising itself to have a LOT more edge than anything we’ve seen from the dceu because of his penchant for violence. So that should be the case…..Right?
One would think that to go into this film, you would see a tonal shift from literally everything that came before…..RIGHT?
ABSOLUTELY NOT. Is the action as gloomy as the Zack Snyder films or as cheesy as the Wonder Woman films? No. But it is basic. The usage of slow motion and quick cuts, the pop songs fitted into the action sequences, characters walking away from explosions in slow motion, and a final battle that is entirely laden with CGI to the point of being hard to follow; we’ve seen all of it before. There’s no soul to it. There’s no individualistic flare. This was a significant missed opportunity.
THE JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA- Am I out here saying that you have to give every individual character to a superhero team their own movie to give us some kind of a backstory? No. We’ve been so brainwashed to the MCU’s way of doing things that we think it has to be that way. However, as silly and simplistic as this may sound… They do have to be characters. They cannot be plot devices.
The Justice Society of America’s introduction into film should be treated as a lot bigger of deal than what this movie portrays them to be. They show up, fight Black Adam before really being introduced to him, argue with him some more, fight him again, say with him some more, and fight alongside him. All the while, everyone is being mutually truculent, and so on and so forth. Two members of the JSA don’t have anything to do; one of them doesn’t really speak all that much and can easily be forgotten that she’s in the movie whatsoever. The relationship between the JSA and Black Adam is really poorly executed, to say the very least.
THE UGLY STUFF
CGI- Of all the efforts it took to get this to the screen, all of the fighting that Dwayne Johnson had to do to make sure that this movie was exactly what he wanted it to be, all the 200 million dollars that it took to put this movie into theaters… AND I’M OUT HERE LOOKING AT F****** MATTE LINES ON THE SCREEN.
Mind you; the CGI looks excellent regarding the big action set pieces. And for the most part, every character that involves some CGI as a part of their costume looks excellent too. However, there are some super degenerate CGI horses*** that this movie does with the body of Dwayne Johnson that is incredibly, laughably horrendous. There also is a set piece during a flashback sequence where the matte lines come in, and it’s just unacceptable, given the hype and the budget. Completely unacceptable.
THIS F****** DIALOGUE- If there’s any one thing that people will spoof on the internet when it comes to this movie, if there’s any one thing that this movie may be most remembered for it is the incredibly horrible dialogue. I’ve seen Vin Diesel B-grade action films with dialogue equivalent to this. (or, in few cases, a little bit better) All of the ROUTINE speeches about great power being a curse, all of the DULL conversation around the history of the Black Adam character, all of the REPETITIVE trite arguments between the JLA and Black Adam about the nature of heroism, all of the TIRESOME speeches given by the villains of the film, Amon, and Black Adam himself that are so stale and so stereotypical of a movie like this, you may be able to predict what they’re going to talk about given the situation that they’re in. You would have to turn off your brain more than once during this film in order to not cringe multiple times.
The post-credit scene of this film will be talked about ad nauseam by people on the internet, for a good reason. Within the post-credit scene, I realized that the entire goal of Black Adam wasn’t necessarily to be a great film or even to be the best film of the dceu. It was to provide a hard reset simply—a way to start to erase the horrendous Justice League saga from the minds of the typical moviegoer. And I can picture studio executives sitting around a table and coming to the conclusion that to do that, you must simply not be as terrible as the things that have come before. Although theoretically correct, I would argue that you have to make something great.
Black Adam is generic-brand-cardboard-box-vanilla-ice-cream. It is as generic, and it’s plain as it gets. It is risk-free, focus-grouped, and poorly executed. And it could have been much more than that.
BLACK ADAM is in theaters now