Review | ‘Black Adam’ is a tired and tangled movie, but well done…



It hurts a bit, as someone who follows DC Comics productions and also follows ‘The Rock’ long career, to acknowledge that one of the most anticipated films of the year – at least in terms of superheroes – is a movie it is by no means, and that the final version that the producer delivers to viewers is just a mess. But that’s the feeling many viewers will get when watching the DC Universe’s latest feature film, “Black Adam,” which arrives in Brazilian theaters this week.

More than 2,000 years before the common era, Teth Adam (Dwayne Johnson) lived as a slave in the city of Kahndaq, like all the other inhabitants. One day, his son Hurut (Jalon Christian) found a blue stone made of etherium, a mineral wanted by the emperor to make an evil crown. However, Hurut wants to see his people free and starts an insurrection, which infuriates the Emperor, who ends up punishing the rebels with death. Thousands of years pass before Adrianna (Sarah Shahi) begins to search for the crown made of etherium, at a time when the city of Kahndaq is under the control of a dangerous militia. When they finally find the object, the vigilantes attempt to steal it from her, and to save herself, Adrianna summons Teth Adam from her grave. Resurrected after so long, Teth Adam seeks revenge regardless of the consequences of his actions, which arouses the attention of the Justice Society, who consider him a threat and decide to arrest him, while recognizing that his powers are far superior to any hero on Earth.

As you can see from this brief synopsis, the plot of “Black Adam” is a mess. The character’s journey is presented very quickly in the first seven minutes of the film, in a parade of names and dates that catches the viewer off guard; this prologue is what DC should deliver to fans, but instead of describing and reinforcing the origins of this new hero (who, in reality, is an anti-hero), in a way that solidifies in the , the screenplay by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani decides to condense the hero’s origin and bring him ready-made (and muddled) back to contemporary times.

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This causes the viewer to misunderstand the reason behind the powers, their origins, motivations, etc. : all we understand is that he saves Adrianna and, therefore, must be a good guy. Placing Teth Adam in this place of heroism, the insertion of four hero-characters – Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Atom Crusher (Noah Centineus) – as a kind of League of Justice (sorry, Justice Society) to contain this hero makes the feature film’s motto the fight of these five characters…relegating the real villain to a space that doesn’t even exist. That is, the villain, the real villain of the story, ends up not even being the villain, because his goals, his motivations, or why we should hate him aren’t clear. The storyline gets so lost in a mindless clash between what it means to be a hero and who’s more heroic – Hawkman or Black Adam – that the villain doesn’t get much attention. If this was real life, he had escaped.

Although the story goes all over the place, losing our attention, director Jaume Collet-Serra manages to get some good action scenes, especially in the feature’s first arc. The insertion of a well-known rock’n’roll (“Paint in Black”, by the Rolling Stones) guarantees a punchy entry from the protagonist, but it shows that the entire soundtrack budget is spent on this single song, leaving the rest of the little over two hours of film with the same single theme song. The special effects of the action scenes are impressive, referencing other hits such as ‘300’ or even ‘Batman v Superman’, but they also tire of repetition, as well as the jokes, which do not work and are not original, and are repeated countless times throughout the production, as if the viewer will come to appreciate it.

It’s a shame to say that despite Dwayne Johnson, “Black Adam” doesn’t quite fit into a movie. With a very confusing, fast-paced, and scattered story, there are plenty of embellishments for messed up content. Perhaps with the character reappearing in other franchises, he will eventually fit into the DC Universe. For such a beloved character, his debut movie could have — and should have — delivered, especially since most viewers haven’t even read the comics that spawned him. But it wasn’t this time. Who knows in the director’s edit…

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