BLACK ADAM. Siri, make a superhero movie [Review]
The year is 2007 and Tobey Maguire is Spider-Man, Christian Bale is Batman, Brandon Routh is Superman, and the X-Men series is a trilogy. It was in this year, believe it or not, that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was cast by Warner Bros as Black Adam. 15 years later the studio finally managed to bring this character to the big screen and introduce him to audiences around the world. Was it worth the wait of these one and a half decades? Well, no.
Let’s start with a brief introduction to the subject, so that we can already torment the latest creation of Warner Bros. Black Adam tells the story of the title character, who in an ancient land was endowed by the gods with superhuman powers that would allow him to defeat an absolute monarch backed by the forces of evil. Thousands of years later, Black Adam awakens in the modern world and once again must thwart demonic plans. This time, however, he will also be confronted by the Justice Society, a group of heroes who view Adam not as a hero, but a villain.
It’s an irony that The Rock struggled to introduce audiences to this character on the big screen even before the era of Marvel Cinematic Universe or even the vestigial plans for DC’s cinematic world-building, and in the end Black Adam turns out to be a veritable and brazen Frankenstein’s monster assembled from ideas, scenes or solutions borrowed vividly from other superhero films.
Not only do we have here the serious scene-breaking jokes (extremely unsuccessful in this case) characteristic of Marvel, dynamic action scenes combined with 20th century hit songs known from James Gunn’s or Taika Waititi’s productions, or solemn and slow-mo sequences associated with Zack Snyder’s cinema, but moments in which we can, like Leonardo DiCaprio in a popular meme, point our finger at the screen and say “this I saw in X-Men, that in Ant-Man, this in Iron Man, and this scene was ripped from Fantastic Four (the one from 2015). “
What else? Generic blockbuster cinema that you’ll forget about in an hour. Lots of action, full of CGI, escalating stakes, references to comic books and an attempt to set everything within a larger universe. You’ve seen it 38 times, you’ll see it another 46. Even in comparison to less successful productions by Marvel Studios, Black Adam stands out with a really, really uninteresting protagonist (maybe The Rock, instead of going on for a year about how powerful his character is, could have asked the filmmakers to give him at least one scene that allows you to become fond of him) and a transparent antagonist created according to the teachings of the “best” school of random supervillains named after David Ayer.
And the advantages? Introduced to the DC universe, the team known as the Justice Society makes a pretty smooth debut (even if the screenwriters didn’t bother to say anything about their origins) with a particularly successful Dr. Fate played with innate class by Pierce Brosnan and… and… That’s it.
Black Adam is not only an ill-conceived, unnecessary and unsuccessful blockbuster, but also a truly uninteresting project on the mighty map of superhero ventures. Suffice it to say that in order to mention worse screen adaptations of DC Comics we would have to go back to the days of Justice League (the theatrical one) or the first Suicide Squad. And that’s already twisting the knife in the wound, so I’ll end on a positive note that any pop culture lover will probably understand: If, thanks to this bore, we get a sequel to Man of Steel, then ok, so be it. Those 15 years were not in vain.