Black Adam: A Unsatisfactory Game-Changer for the DCEU

Staff Writer: Kelsey Wink

Email: kwink@umassd.edu

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is ready to make DC’s Black Adam box office gold. Set to release on Friday, October 21st, the villain/anti-hero’s standalone movie is one of the most highly-anticipated movies of 2022.

(https://dc-multiverse.dcwikis.com/)

The movie plot is set nearly 5,000 years after Black Adam received the almighty powers of the Egyptian gods and his subsequent imprisonment. He has now been freed from his earthly tomb and is ready to unleash his unique form of justice in the modern world.

In requisite to the DC comics, the story of Black Adam emerged around the 1940s.

He was born in the ancient Egyptian city of Kahndaq as Teth Adam and was selected by the wizard Shazam to become his successor and precursor to Billy Batson.

Unfortunately, despite his moral purity, Teth Adam was corrupted by his powers, transforming him into the violent and tyrannical ruler named Black Adam.

By uttering the word “Shazam,”  a magical word that invokes the names of ancient Egyptian gods Shu, Horus, Amon, Zehuti, Aten, and Mehen, thus S-H-A-Z-A-M, Teth-Adam gains a variety of powers.

He has super strength, the power of flight, invulnerability, super speed, superhuman hearing, enhanced intelligence, lightning-based teleportation, and a healing factor.

This overpowered antihero is a sight to behold. It will be a spectacle to watch as Black Adam makes its weekend debut.

Joining Black Adam in this movie will be members of the Justice Society of America (JSA), the first-ever team of superheroes in comic books (the JSA predates the Justice League of America by about twenty years).

The JSA frequently teamed with Shazam. So, it makes sense that they would factor into Black Adam.

Additional cast members include Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate, an archaeologist who commands magic through his mystical helmet.

Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, the leader of the JSA who flies with magic metal hawk wings.

Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, who can control wind and generate sound.

And Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, a man who can change his size and strength by manipulating his molecular structure.

Sarah Shahi is playing Adrianna Tomaz, who will be important for the Black Adam story in her own way.

Viola Davis is reprising her DCEU role as Amanda Waller, who helps form the JSA to defeat Black Adam.

Hopefully, the JSA members will pack a punch in the anticipated lackluster superhero movie of the year and its run-of-the-mill titular character.

That being said, Black Adam has generated mixed reviews.

The first reviews of Black Adam are thundering in before its set release date, and well, they’re not pretty.

Film critics are not loving the Rock finally making his decade long-awaited entrance into the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).

In stark contrast to the film critics are the positively glowing social media reactions. Hyped fans are calling the antihero movie a “brutal, “adrenaline-fueled” gamer changer, and praising Dwanye Johnson’s “electrifying” DC debut.

Helen O’Hara, a movie critic from Empire wrote, “Johnson, Collet-Serra, and their team want edge, but without alienating family audiences. So you get massive action scenes without any obvious civilian casualties and godlike powers without consequence. It’s all nicely shot in low-lying sun and dusty vistas, but it suffers from the weightlessness that gives superhero movies their bad name: great power, no responsibility.”

The movie’s Rotten Tomatoes score suggests fans aren’t happy and not much will change for DC even after the big release.

The approval rating first began at a mere 47%, which isn’t much higher than some of the lowest-rated DC films like Justice League (39%), and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (29%).

The rating has now improved up to 55% however, it is nowhere close to the big releases DC had in recent times.

The best-rated projects include the HBO Max series Peacemaker (94%), as well as the films Wonder Woman (93%), Shazam! (90%), and The Suicide Squad (90%).

But it’s a superhero movie, after all, so it’s less likely that critical sentiment will affect ticket sales, especially with Dwayne Johnson’s “star power.” 

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEXHPp6nu3A

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