Black Adam SPOILER FREE Review: Meaninglessly Beautiful

by Eve Andrews
black adam - dwayne johnson

Black Adam is finally here, and DC fans have been flooding to theatres to finally see his official big-screen debut! A movie about the ancient predecessor to Shazam, the announcement of the DC’s Black Adam left many fans intrigued. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, it tells the tale of Ancient Kahndaq, a city rife with oppression during the tyrannical reign of King Anh-Kot. However, when the champion known as Teth-Adam (Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson) rises, he is sealed away in an ancient tomb for 5000 years. But when a group of modern citizens encounter the tomb in their search for a powerful artefact, the fabled tomb of Teth-Adam is awakened once again.

The first thing I will say for Black Adam is that, visually speaking, it was incredibly pretty. Cinematographer, Lawrence Sher, did a phenomenal job. The visual effects were lacking in the usual cheesy look that can easily occur with an overabundance of CGI, and the practical choreography itself was meticulous. Rather than observing its fight scenes from a distance, Black Adam places the audience amid the action, honing in on tiny, painstaking details that highlight the nitty-gritty aspects of every sequence. It was absolutely gorgeous to look at.

The visual effects were further added to by the carefully chosen score, with its original material composed by Lorne Balfe, paired with rock n’roll classics such as Paint It, Black by The Rolling Stones, and a hard rock original by Eric Zayne titled Exile. The heavy blend of the hard rock guitar and Balfe’s string-based themes were the perfect way to get the audience hyped for the abundance of upcoming action.

When it comes to the actual plot, though, the best way to describe Black Adam is thin. After opening up with the customary exposition montage, the remainder of the movie contained about 10 to 15 minutes worth of actual lore and world-building, spread out over the course of two hours in amongst an extravagant barrage of very pretty-looking punch-ups. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was, in essence, an action movie; if that’s your thing, then you’d probably love it. But if an intriguing storyline is more your flavour, then Black Adam probably wouldn’t be the best go-to. While there’s a story there, epic battle footage is by far the domineering feature.

In terms of acting, Black Adam was fairly average. Nevertheless, we can’t not talk about Dwayne Johnson starring in the title role. With a sparing amount of dialogue, the quiet stoicism of his performance played well into the coldness of his character. However, the stand-out performance was by far that of Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate. A classic DC Comic character that has not had nearly the amount of screen time he deserves, the casting of Brosnan made for a brilliant portrayal of this beloved, underappreciated hero. I’d be absolutely hyped for a dedicated Doctor Fate movie starring Pierce Brosnan in the lead role!

Others had great potential, such as Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher and Aldis Hodge as Hawkman. However, grand-scale action was clearly the priority here, leaving very little room for character-building.

That said, Black Adam does appear to be setting up some future possibilities for DC cinema. We have the aforementioned Doctor Fate, the Justice Society as a whole and opportunities for further development on the dynamics that stem from it. And, of course, we have the customary post-credit scene and oh boy, this was a good one! I won’t spoil it for you but I will say, it features a very special guest who you’re bound to recognise and a possible set-up for something huge.

All in all, Black Adam is pretty thin on plot, mostly building off vaguely established lore from previous DC movies. It’s not really something that will get your brain going. However, what it is, aside from visually stunning, is fun. If you want an easy action-based watch that features the Rock shooting lighting at bad guys through his fingers, then Black Adam should be at the top of your recommended list!

Have you seen Black Adam yet? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section below!

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