Five thousand years ago in Kahndaq, Egypt, a young slave undergoes a significant transformation. When he encounters the Egyptian gods, they decide to have mercy on him, providing him with superpowers. Eventually, this individual is imprisoned deep underground. In the modern day, a woman named Adrianna (Sarah Shahi) and her friends make a huge discovery, finding the secret location of where this man was imprisoned. In a moment of desperation, she calls upon him for help, hoping that he will return to fight and protect her people. Kahndaq may need a hero in the modern day, but instead, they get a dangerous and powerful Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) filled with many dark secrets from his past. The return of Black Adam gains the interest of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), who calls upon Justice Society to take him down and reimprison him permanently.
Naturally, Black Adam is best described as an action film serving as an origin story for a new hero. But to my surprise, there are many superhero characters alongside Black Adam gaining their first introduction in this film. These reveals even go so far as to show us the team within the Justice Society.
I felt disappointed and concerned within the first five minutes of this film. The introduction felt highly familiar and contained similarities to films such as 300, The Mummy and Lord of the Rings. Thankfully, when this introduction had passed, and Black Adam was introduced, along with the Justice Society, there is a fun and entertaining film to be had. While familiar, the story still delivered a level of satisfaction and entertainment. After all, the film understands that not every audience member is familiar with Black Adam.
As for positives, it is reasonably evident that Dwayne Johnson is passionate about this character. While his role isn’t overly loud or filled with plenty of noisy emotion, he’s still pleasing. Black Adam’s most enjoyable moments were when he interacted with others trying to educate him or when he was profoundly careless. Many subtle gags occur through, such as incidents where he walks through walls instead of looking for a door. Actor Pierce Brosnan also brings a highly likeable presence to the screen in his side performance as Doctor Fate, a member of the Justice Society. The musical score feels majestic and fitting for the entire duration.
As for issues, there are some major disappointing factors here. Firstly, I did not find the villain impressive. With a transformation that takes place as the film progresses, the villain only becomes worse over time. Their voice is terrible and almost laughable, unfitting and unmenacing. The CGI is also questionable. While, for the most part, I found the visual effects pleasing, the CGI felt distracting during critical moments as minor flaws were apparent and evident. One scene includes The Rock floating in the sky, speaking to others, and you can see pixelation or fuzziness on the clouds. Something about this film feels rushed and unfinished, and the CGI needs to be tighter. Some action moments, while somewhat fun and exciting, still feel familiar. There are various slow-motion action sequences, which reminded me of movies like 300. These 300 slow-motion effects overstayed their welcome and were used far too often to remain compelling or exciting.
Overall, it’s evident that Dwayne Johnson is passionate about bringing this superhero’s origin story to life among the other DC superheroes. While Black Adam isn’t overly loud as a character, his interactions with others are entertaining, as is seeing him adjust to a modern world. The supporting cast, including actor Pierce Brosnan, is excellent here. However, it’s not perfect as an origin story and carries familiar beats. The CGI feels rushed, with some moments feeling unpolished and distracting. The villain is also a significant weakness and becomes more cringe-worthy and laughable. No matter your thoughts on this one, I can’t deny there’s still a fun level of entertainment presented. I suggest viewers set their expectations to witnessing another origin story for multiple superheroes in a story that, once again, builds towards something more remarkable and significant within the DCU.