Black Adam – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Black Adam – Lackluster Power: I am the Anti-Hero

When you think of superheroes, you think about a specific image.  Through all mediums, superheroes can represent goodness of convictions, but also a hardiness of fragility.  No matter how you see it, that ideal can make or break the film’s experience.  In this review, I look at the latest film from the DC Comics.  An origin story of sorts, this film showcases what it means to be a superhero.  With a charismatic lead at the helm, Black Adam powers to a cliché throne of a typical comic book film.

 In modern day Kahndaq, the residents live under the control of a paramilitary group.  Amongst the weary is a fragile hope that their prophetic hero will return.  Awaken from his slumber, Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) must decide … will he fight for good or fight to conquer all.  The basic outline is a redundancy of the comic book genre.  From the onset, you watch a script that never tries to develop beyond the standard ‘heroes vs villains’ motif.  After a general introduction to the history of Kahndaq, predictable plot devices lead to the discovery of a crown (MacGuffin) and Black Adam’s tomb.  Once he is ‘accidentally’ awoken, we move through generalized direction that places a premium on style over substance.  You witness the omnipotence of Black Adam’s power through bombastic action sequence complimented by an adrenaline score.  Stringing together these action sequences is a compounding of generalized antics of heroism, comedy and pseudo dramatic conflict.  For all the charm of Johnson’s character, the lack of story creates a hollowness that overshadows the ‘fish out of water’ element presented with the main character.  Watching Black Adam try to understand this modern world provides momentary shine, but it is never given more than a ‘one-note’ notice in a directionless script.  As Black Adam starts to understand the situation, his strength becomes noticed by those in the larger known world.  The volatility of Black Adam brings him into confrontation against both the paramilitary group and the Justice Society. 

Facing against two adversaries, we witness the continued dynamic of Black Adam within the modern world.  Dwayne Johnson’s charisma continues to be the highlight amongst the lack of story or character development.  Watching him interact with the Justice Society shows a contrast of being a superhero, creating a dynamic that pushes the potential of a strong thematic appeal.  This is layered within some fun action scenes, but eventually is dragged down by the continued lack of real development.  As things are lifted through a sense of a climatic sequence (for Black Adam), this film turns towards the rare fourth act that is littered with all the cliches compounded in a comic book film.  This leads to some good and bad action sequences, but also a genuine take on what Black Adam can represent for the people of Kahndaq.  Black Adam is a comic book film that cannot be saved by a strong, charismatic lead.  If you are a fan of DC comics, superhero films or mindless action, this can be fun on the big screen.  Otherwise, wait to watch it at home.   

Full Score – 2.5 out of 5 (Friday Night Rental)

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