black adam

Black Adam… All thunder, no lightning (Review)

Black Adam finally arrives. The long-awaited cinematic debut of Dwayne The Rock Johnson is here. Since the casting news back in 2007, The Rock has been adamant that this will shake up the genre and the DC universe. To chart the timeline, in November of 2007, we had not even since Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. The DCEU was not a thing, and the Rock had a lot more hair.

Black Adam-casting
Black Adam-casting of the Rock 2007

A lot has changed over the past 15 years, but one thing has remained the same. Dwayne’s ability to give out wolf tickets and overhype a film. In 2020 The Rock said Black Adam would change the hierarchy of the DC universe. In another quote, he said Black Adam is the future of the DC universe. Unfortunately, after 15 years and a lot of hype, Black Adam proved to be a lot of thunder and no lightning.


Be sure to read until the end for my ranking and where this movie ranks amongst

the DCEU films.

Black Adam comics

The version of Black Adam we meet in the film is a loosely adapted version of the character from Geoff John’s new 52 comics. A few changes position the character firmly in an anti-hero space and are someone the audience can sympathize with. What we got was a Rock movie disguised as a Black Adam film.


The film’s plot is essential and acts like a page of superhero movies for Dummies, Vol 1. Warning, significant Spoilers ahead.


Black Adam is pretty true to what you see in the trailers and nothing more. The movie has soo many speeches and exposition but does not say much. After the voiceover backstory, we pick up with Sarah Shahi’s character, playing Isis, who in the comics is the superheroine whose real name is Adrianna Tomaz.


Isis in the movie is the second least interesting character in the film.

The first is Bodhi Sabongui’s character Amon. Isis’s son. In a movie that goes from exposition to punching every 3 minutes, you would not think they would have him in more than half of those scenes.

Every time he is on the scene, felt awkward and cringes. A bad copy of Freddy from the Shazam movie.


Black Adam’s first scene came by way of plot armor. After a betrayal you’ve seen coming from Kansas, intergang has Isis outnumbered, and they have guns. They are instructed to stop shooting and not shoot the crown, which is heavy and in her bag. So a bullet to her head would have avoided all that. To make matters even more ridiculous, they catch her and ask if she has any last words while pointing a gun to her head and allowing her to read an entire encrypted message to free Black Adam. It was tough to watch.

Black Adam

Teth Adam awakes and takes down the intergang members trying to steal the crown of Sabbac from her. Mohammed Amer’s character gave the majority of the comic relief. Although look, there are not a lot of bright spots in this movie, the surprising one thing that did work was the humor for the most part. They leaned heavily on turning Black Adam into a Drax or Diana in the first Wonder Woman movie, a ” man-out-of-time “character type.


The rest of the film is pretty cookie-cutter, with goofy dialogue and flashbacks that give a feeling of not knowing what it should be.

For example, Black Adam took hero 101 advice from a kid like he was the terminator in T2, maybe forgetting he was a human. It was very odd. It made very little sense, and as the movie went on, it became more apparent that this is a Black Adam movie only in title.


Cool points are incoming; Amanda Waller brings in the Justice Society. The saving grace for the entire film is Aldris Hodge’s portrayal of Hawkman. In every scene he is in, he crushes. Especially his moments with Peirce Brosnan. Peirce Brosnan and Dr. Fate’s moments were few but good. They felt like they belonged in a different movie, a more interesting movie. Quintessa Swindell felt like an accessory.

Quintessa Swindell
Quintessa Swindell -Black Adam

She was not given much to do, and I felt like I’d seen this.

Her powers popped on screen but were just there to round out the inclusion bubble. She had maybe 4 lines of dialogue, which was not really needed.

Noah Centineo- black adam

Equally a throwaway is Noah Centineo’s Atom Smasher giving his best Peter Parker impression.

Neither seems like heroes a seasoned general like Hawkman would bring in to defeat someone who is essentially a “god.”


More pointless fights and cat and mouse chase for the crown that Black Adam could have tossed to the Atlantic Ocean and flown away from Intergang until he got rid of them. Isis gets the real back story with a tweak to Black Adams’s origin, revealing he was not chosen by the wizard, but his son was, and his son gave him the powers.


Black Adam was finally convinced to de-power because he zapped Amon a little when he lost control. They sent him to Waller in a tank so he could not speak, only to have Dr. Fate free him an hour later.


We have another cringe-worthy rally cry from Amon to get the city to fight the dead demons that Sabacc raised. Sabacc somehow gets a slight upper hand on Black Adam, he and Hawkman ultimately work together to defeat him, and the finishing move is pretty sweet, as Black Adam rips him in half.


More cringe dialogue leading to a Fantastic four-type name reveal. Cringe.


Last but not least, the moment we had all been hoping for was the post-credit scene revealing the man of steel, played by Henry Cavill. Overall this movie is an underwhelming action movie. They set up some fantastic ideas, but this is just another throw-away film for the DCEU.


So here is where I rank Black Adam in the DCEU:

  1. James Gunn’s Suicide Squad
  2. Man of Steel
  3. Wonder Woman 1
  4. Zack Snyder’s Justice League
  5. Aquaman
  6. Batman v Superman
  7. Shazam
  8. Harley Quinn and the Birds and prey
  9. Black Adam
  10. Jose Wheaton’s Justice League
  11. WW84
  12. Suicide Squad


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