- Release Date: October 21, 2022, in the US
- Release Date: October 20, 2022, in India
- Language English Dub in Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi
- Action, fantasy, adventure, and superhero
- Cast: Quintessa Swindell, Dwayne Johnson, Noah Centineo, Aldis Hodge, Sarah Shahi, and Pierce Brosnan
- Sohrab Noshirvani, Rory Haines, and Adam Sztykiel
- Director: Lawrence Sher
- Beau Flynn, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, and Dwayne Johnson are the producers.
- Warner Bros. Pictures, production
- Score: 4.5
The spiky and beautiful “Black Adam,” which was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and stars Dwayne Johnson in a standout lead role, is one of the best DC superhero movies to date. This story is about a gloomy, presumably evil god who reappears in a Middle Eastern country that has been under occupation for a long time and rejects the majority of the decisions that bland-if even the best entrants in the genre. It portrays its eponymous character—a hero who fought against a tyrant ruler thousands of years ago—during the first third of the film as a terrifying and mysterious entity with an insatiable desire for destruction. His resurrection from a desert tomb, going by the ancient name Teth-Adam, is both a miracle and a curse for the people who prayed for protection from the corporate-mercenary thugs who have been oppressing them and strip-mining their country for years.
The remainder of “Black Adam’s” running time concentrates on the inevitableness of Adam’s change into a decent man, summarising the transformation of the title character in the first two “Terminator” movies (there are even comic bits where people try to teach Adam sarcasm and the Geneva Conventions). Then, “Black Adam” adds a dash of the macho sentimentality that was once popular in classic Hollywood films about loners who needed to become involved in a cause in order to reorient their moral compass or realize their own value. But the film’s early chapters of its plot never lose their razor-sharp edge.
At first, Adam appears to be a literal force of nature comparable to Godzilla and other monsters from Japanese kaiju movies. At first, it’s difficult for anyone who crosses Adam’s path to determine if he is good, evil, or simply apathetic to human needs. Everyone wants Adam to assist them in stopping someone in Intergang, a multinational corporate/mercenary consortium whose interests are represented by a two-faced charmer, from receiving a crown made in hell and imbued with the power of six devils (Marwan Kenzari).
Years ago, Humphrey Bogart portrayed many cynical guys who pretended to have no interest in issues before changing their thoughts and taking up arms in opposition to tyranny or corruption. The plot has been revised numerous times by Johnson during his career. Most recently, he played a character in “Jungle Cruise” based on Bogart’s riverboat captain in “The African Queen.” Infusing the whole with his distinct charm, he draws inspiration from classic primal performances by Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger and poet-brute performances like Anthony Quinn’s strongman in “La Strada.” He has studied the classics, as evidenced by “Black Adam,” and has selected passages that seem to fit his needs. Even the sweeter moments of remorse and guilt seem to be influenced by 1950s morality plays like “On the Waterfront.”
The latter are typically brought on by three “civilian” people who appeal to Adam’s supposedly inherent (albeit hidden) benevolence. One of them is Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi), a professor at a university, a member of the resistance, and the widow of a resistance hero who was assassinated by the colonists. A different one is Adrianna’s jovial and unflappable son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui), who zooms through the bombed-out city on a skateboard that appears to have as many additional uses as a Swiss Army Knife. Finally, Adrianna’s brother Amir (comedian Mohammed Amer), who brings life to the stereotypical earthy everyman role, is present.
However, the screenplay by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani manages to fend off the urge to indulge in unwarranted sentiment. Despite proof, the film does not claim that Adam or the superheroes he is up against (Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman, Noah Centineo’s Atom Smasher, Quintessa Swindell’s wind-controlling Cyclone, and Pierce Brosnan’s dimension-hopping and clairvoyant Dr. Fate) are good people with sincere intentions. There is no absolute right or wrong in discussions of motives and strategies. The film’s edge comes from its desire to linger as long as it can in morally ambiguous territory.
Additionally, it derives from violence, which is depicted as an unavoidable outcome of the individuals’ motivations, obligations, and personalities rather than being linked to any particular morality or ideology. As “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Gremlins” did with the PG rating over 40 years earlier, this framing, together with the bloody scenes and visuals of people being shot, impaled, and crushed, pushes the film’s PG-13 rating to its breaking point. At the “Black Adam” screening this writer went to, there were a few walkouts, and in each instance, a parent with a child under 10 was responsible.