Now Streaming Review: Black Adam

Next time I convince myself it’s too disrespectful to watch the post credit scene to a movie without watching the movie it’s attached to first, tell me I’m being dumb.

First Things First: The way the back of the neck of Black Adam’s suit is cut to leave The Rock’s trapezius muscles exposed makes it look like he’s being birthed from his costume head first.

Brief Thoughts: Though I cannot speak to whether or not this representation of Black Adam is true to the page of the character’s essence, his portrayal here definitely feels like the character was written to the strengths of Dwayne Johnson, having realized too late that the gravitas only goes so far when the man is stripped of his charisma and charm. He’s obviously a formidable and imposing presence, but there’s so little to the character that all he has is his fight sequences, slow moving and laborious fight sequences in which all he does is float around shooting lightning at people as very on the nose music tries to manufacture unearned hype. The only superhero who doesn’t outshine him in his own movie is Cyclone, who was seemingly chosen to (according to IMDb trivia) replace both Hawkgirl and Stargirl simply because her colorful fart clouds minimize the budget by obfuscating scenes – no disrespect to Quintessa Swindell because I actually really enjoyed her performance outside the fights, the character’s power set just seemed like a very odd fit.

Quick Questions:

  • Did Johnson refuse to do the accent for Black Adams’ country of origin, Kahndaq, or did he try it and everyone quickly decided it was for the best to pretend it never happened?
  • Did Johnson also have it in his contract that he cannot be seen walking?

Brief Thoughts (Cont’d): With a setting and its oppressed citizens feeling more like a flat backdrop lacking any real three dimensionality, and a character that feels so detached from the slowly revealed, emotionally charged backstory – maybe a better actor could have somehow hinted at the truth to the character or made his unaffected reaction to this world have more depth (had the script also been a stronger source of inspiration) – it is near impossible to find anything worth getting invested in here.

Final Thoughts: Hawkman’s suit and Dr. Fate’s powers sure were cool (assuming I’m interpreting them correctly), but I’m sure I’ll forget those soon enough. Goodness knows I’ve already forgotten pretty much everything else about Black Adam.

Black Adam is now streaming on HBO Max.

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