Black Adam

Black Adam
Original title:Black Adam
Director:Jaume Collet-Serra
Running time:1 minutes
Release date:21 october 2022
In ancient Kahndaq, the slave Teth Adam was given superpowers by the gods. But he used them for revenge and ended up in prison. Five millennia later, when he was released, he brought his own dark vision of justice to the world. Refusing to surrender, Teth Adam must face a band of modern-day heroes who make up the Justice Society - Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Atom Smasher, and Cyclone - who plan to send him back to prison for eternity.

Mulder's Review

With Dwayne Johnson in the lead role of Black Adam and also as a producer one could expect an excellent adaptation of the universe of an iconic character, a more adult and violent alter ego of Superman. Unfortunately, the film discovered in its IMAX version remains an imposing blockbuster but cruelly lacks audacity and new ideas to properly put the DC cinematographic universe back on track. Even if the presence in the middle of the end credits of Henry Cavill who re-enloses his role of Superman to our great pleasure and that he seems to have an important message for Black Adam, we remain hungry as we have the impression that Warner Bros studios seem to persist in their use of outrageous special effects and that spoil the pleasure of discovering a DC adaptation on the big screen. 

As much as The Batman (2022) by Matt Reeves was an excellent surprise, as much Black Adam seems not to have understood the scripted errors of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), Birds of Prey (2020) and Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) and tightens a chaotic adaptation of the DC Comics universe. The result is a film that seems to mechanically obey a formula based on special effects not always conclusive and especially stories too simplistic to really win us over. The other main flaw of Black Adam is that despite a solid cast, it shamelessly wants to pump from different Marvel Studios movies, from the first X-men movies, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and also Deadpool. 

This is all the more unfortunate since it is the DC film adaptations that have served as a solid foundation for the Marvel Studios adaptations in the cinema. Richard Donner's Superman (1978) remains one of the best adaptations because it was based on an excellent script and above all on the vision of a gifted director who left his mark on the history of world cinema. In the same way, Tim Burton's Batman (1989) influenced many other adaptations and showed the importance of having a director who knows DC comics perfectly to propose a film that stands the test of time. Black Adam simply relies on the presence of Dwayne Johnson, who returns to direct after Jungle Cruise (very successful by the way) the director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan (2009), Non-stop (2014), The Commuter (2018) ...)

The story begins 5,000 years ago in the ancient kingdom of Kahndaq,. A country oppressed by a tyrannical King who has enslaved his people to extract a substance called Eternium. One day a young slave gets his hands on an Eternium stone and decides to revolt against this inhuman King. However, he is arrested and just as he is about to be killed, he is saved by some magicians who give him magical powers by asking him to say the word Shazam (in the comics, Black Adam appears against Shazam's sworn enemy). With these powers, this young superhero takes advantage of his powers to allow his people to put an end to the actions of this King and his army. We will not say more at this level to reserve you some interesting surprises even if badly exploited. 

The action then resumes in our days in Kahndaq still under the yoke of new armed forces (The Intergang) who continue to plunder the kingdom and especially seem to be looking for a crown giving its owner a superhuman power. Adrianna and her son will free Teth-Adam who seems to be in love with justice and ready to kill all those who oppose his will. This DC anti-hero will not only help Adrianna and her son fight against this armed force but will also have to face the famous Justice Society of America composed of Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell) and Atom Smasher (Noah Centino). The positions on justice of Black Adam and the Justice Society of America clash and lead to titanic battles before they decide to join forces against a common enemy.

Black Adam could have been an excellent surprise if it had been able to benefit from an excellent scenario, unfortunately, Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani do not manage to really change the deal and seem to be inspired by the Marvel Studios cinematographic work to artificially feed a scenario that we feel in cruel lack of new ideas or an original approach. However, some ideas such as pointing the finger at the American international policy for its lack of reaction to certain conflicts in countries bruised by governments that do not respect the freedoms of their people. In the same way, the film seems to show that everything is a question of point of view, so in Kahndaq Black Adam is seen as a vigilante with expeditious methods, but for the rest of the world an uncontrollable and dangerous power for world peace as was the case for Superman in Man of Steel.

Of course Black Adam rests on the shoulders of Dwayne Johnson who is once again perfect and imposing as a vigilante more violent than Superman and who does not hesitate to kill or cross walls to show that nothing can stop him and that it is out of question for him to submit to any authority. Designed to be seen in theaters and if possible in IMAX on a comfortable seat, Black Adam remains a muscular blockbuster and superior to some recent DC adaptations, but we would have had a film worthy of Dwayne Johnson, that is to say, impressive and memorable as each of his public appearances as it was the case last July in Hall H at San Diego Comic-con. We hope that the defects of this movie will be repaired in Black Adam 2 which would seem to mark the confrontation or the association between Superman and this new DC comics hero capable of putting the DC cinematographic universe back on the right track, provided that we have excellent scriptwriters and special effects that are less reminiscent of popular and hardly original video games.

Black Adam
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Written by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani
Based on Characters from DC
Produced by Beau Flynn, Dwayne Johnson, Hiram Garcia, Dany Garcia
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Marwan Kenzari, Quintessa Swindell, Bodhi Sabongui, Pierce Brosnan
Cinematography : Lawrence Sher
Edited by John Lee, Michael L. Sale
Music by Lorne Balfe
Production companies : New Line Cinema, DC Films, Seven Bucks Productions, FlynnPictureCo.
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates : October 3, 2022 (Mexico City), October 19, 2022 (France), October 21, 2022 (United States)
Running time : 124 minutes

Seen on October 19 at Gaumont Disney Village, Imax seat E21 

Mulder's Mark: