A Brief History
On October 21, 2022, another blockbuster film in the DC Extended Universe is being released to the American public, and after spending $200 million on the budget and providing a tantalizing series of commercials and trailers we have to think the movie will be a big success at the box office.
Right off the bat, we will address some criticisms leveled by other reviewers. (We got to see the film in advance on October 19, 2022.) First of all, the not quite adherence to the comic book storyline, including changing the ethnicity of some characters. Hey, Black Adam is a work of fiction! The movie makers have some license to modify the story to best fit their film, or so we believe. While we do not provide spoilers so as not to ruin the movie for you, there are a couple of minor modifications from the original stories, and not all the Justice Society characters are featured in the film. Neither of these changes bothered us at all, perhaps because we are not deeply invested in the comic storyline. Since most movie goers will not be comic experts/purists, it should not matter to the vast majority of the audience anyway.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, he of several movies we immensely enjoyed (including The Shallows, Orphan, Unknown, and Jungle Cruise), Black Adam has a winning combination of gritty fighting to the death and tapping into the remarkable comedic talent of The Rock (Duane Johnson) in the title role, but NOT to the point of silliness. In fact, the preview audience laughed out loud at subtle little jokes delivered in a deadpan manner. (We were laughing on the inside.)
The film contains lots of action, lots of eye candy, and nice clear cinematography to keep you riveted to the screen for the entire 124 minutes, plus a little cameo from another DC superhero in the mid-credit scenes that elicited a roaring applause from the crowd. (Nope, no spoiler!) Rated PG-13 due to the rampant violence, we think you can bring your kids of any age barring any serious emotional problems they may have. Mostly the special effects are superb, with just a little bit of cartoonish CGI here and there, but not to any distracting point.
Okay, so how about OUR criticism? Another frequent point brought up by other critics is at least somewhat shared by us, with the theme/feel/atmosphere (call it what you will) seeming to be somewhat ambivalent, vacillating between Black Adam being a hero and being a villain. The Rock is so darn likable that being a villain really does not sit right with us, and apparently not with the producers either. Despite an overall thoroughly enjoyable film watching experience, there was that little nagging in the back of our minds regarding this inconsistency. We likewise saw that to a smaller extent with the juxtaposition of the small comedic jabs with a deadly serious save the world, save our country vibe. Still, this criticism is what we consider a minor flaw in an overall excellent movie.
We had a great time watching the film, and the rest of the test audience seemed happy with it as well. We believe most movie fans will enjoy the movie whether or not they are conversant with the DC Extended Universe, so for DC newbies, the movie can be successful as a “stand alone” even if you do not see the other DC films. Enjoy!
Question for students (and subscribers): Did you enjoy this film? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Johns, Geoff. Black Adam Box Set. DC Comics, 2022.
Manning, Matthew. Black Adam: An Origin Story. Stone Arch Books, 2022.
The featured image in this article, a scaled-down, low-resolution image of a poster for the 2022 superhero film Black Adam, appears in an article that provides critical commentary on the film in question, not solely for illustration, on an educational and journalistic website with servers in the United States per fair use under the copyright law of the United States.