Black Adam (2022) Movie Review

Title: Black Adam.
Rated: PG-13.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra.
Writer(s): Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines & Sohrab Noshirvani.
Release Date: 2022.
Runtime:  2 hours and 5 minutes.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy.
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Quintesssa Swindell, Marwan Kenzari, and many more!
Budget: 195,000,000.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The line between a hero and a villain can sometimes be blurry through lenses where the means don’t justify the ends. For some, everything goes as long as it can allow one to assure peace among the people one wants to protect. For others, the moment a line is crossed, there’s no going back and justice must intervene. But who decides where the line is traced? Even more complicated is how you enforce such a line when the person in the way is a superpowered being who will not have mercy on those who are not on the same wavelength as he? Following years of development and multiple rewrites, the eleventh movie of the DC Extended Universe introduces Black Adam and the Justice Society as the hierarchy of power is shuffled. But can actor Dwayne Johnson deliver the goods and prepare the terrain for the future of the DC Extended Universe?

What is Black Adam (2022) about? The city of Kahndaq is under the oppression of the Intergang with its people forced to obey without anyone to protect them. Adrianna Tomaz, however, has other plans. Archeologist and resistance fighter, she actively seeks to retrieve the Crown of Sabbac in hopes to give her people a new saviour, Teth-Adam, who she believes to be Kahndaq’s champion. What follows is Teth-Adam’s journey to discovering his roots and taking a stance in this modern conflict to either become the hero the people of Kahndaq need or to blissfully ignore it all and hide in the shadows of the past. Meanwhile, the U.S. government official Amanda Waller sends the Justice Society, composed of Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Cyclone, and the Atom Smasher to stop Teth-Adam on international soil before he becomes a bigger threat to the world.

(c) IMDb.

Pulled down by the actor’s own charismatic reputation, this Black Adam origin story suffers tremendously from a monotonic performance where little distinction can be made between the actor and the character. The director’s desire to pit existential questions about heroism at the heart of the protagonist’s journey also crumbles from the lack of conviction and risk-taking, especially when playing a character who has always been fundamentally acknowledged as a full-on villain within the DC universe is substantially changed to appeal to viewers through his invincibility and weak one-liners. Unfortunately, this direction makes the overarching plot of American liberators intervening in foreign territory against a slave-turned-guardian of the people absolutely redundant and ineffective in the grand scheme of things.

Pushed forward to become the hero the people needs during their desperate time against oppressive powers, especially thanks to an overly-eager, innocent yet optimistic child, isn’t as compelling as it could’ve been but is overshadowed by the unidimensional characters that join this circus along the way, unable to properly take action against Black Adam while taking into consideration the political landscape they’re clearly about to step into. To make matters even more tormenting, the ultimate villain brought into play for the final act of the movie, where the plot twist was supposed to reinvigorate the movie, a very predictable one at that, was a saddening catastrophe, with a villain that is quickly forgettable and only utilized as a statement for the protagonist who could finally establish what he believes in when it comes to freedom, violence, and heroism.

(c) IMDb.

While the narrative is primarily generic material that poorly fleshes out its characters, there’s no denying that most of the fun derives from its CGI-infested action sequences (who can blame them?). The movie remains massively edited, making most of the action choppy and unable to build tempo, utilizing an incredible amount of slow-motion effects, and attempting to create urgency and hype with pop music pin needles. However, these action scenes are fun and effortlessly distract you enough from the rest of the chaotic show that suffers from a poor narrative, weak characters, and an absence of innovation. Some solid score created specifically for the movie does merit some applause but the best part of the movie lies in its mid-credit scene and even that can be worrisome for the future of the DCEU if the studio doesn’t think it through.

Black Adam (2022) is a dull and questionable origin story depicting a villain as an anti-hero through ineffective comedy, poor use of side characters, and bountiful plot holes while tackling themes of freedom, violence, and heroism.

Black Adam was out in theatres on October 21st, 2022.

Have you read any Black Adam comics?
Have you seen Black Adam (2022)? Will you?
What did you think about it?
Share your thoughts with me!


22 thoughts on “Black Adam (2022) Movie Review

  1. If this ever goes free on Prime I’ll give it a watch then, but the DCEU has impressed me even less than the MCU.
    And turning a villain into the protagonist is not cool imo. Personally, I’d say the Rock isn’t that big of a fan if he wants to fundamentally change the character like that. And while I’m ok with Shazzam going head to head with Supes, introducing ANOTHER character in that exact same vein? I think the Rock has Superman envy….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know how this review didn’t deter you from even wanting to check out Black Adam (maybe you’re a The Rock fan at heart??) but I’ll be curious to see how you’ll fair with it when you get the chance. I don’t think Shazam will go up against Superman, considering they’re both superheroes but the odds of Black Adam being the ultimate enemy (or frienemy) in future DCEU movies wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.


  2. My son’s review was mildly more positive than yours, so it was on my To-Watch list, but I’m not paying for it. Black Adam has never done much for me in the first place–I’m more interested in seeing the Fate and Hawkman material

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’ll be less disappointed if you don’t pay for it. If there’s anything positive to be said, it’s definitely the casting of Dr. Fate. I wish he had his own movie before being shoehorned into Black Adam. Hawkman could’ve been better (he gets annoying the more you watch) but it’s nice to have him on the big screen.


  3. Lashaan, I thought it was one of the better DC efforts, although I admit that is a very low bar overall. It took a while, but once the action kicked in I thought it was consistent throughout. Plot holes/questions – no doubt about it. Ultimately, I thought Johnson did well., considering he’s already such a big action star and this role required him to be quite different in tone and style. That being said, there remains a big difference between the quality of DC and Marvel. This movie doesn’t close that gap at all, but it at least establishes another DC character in anticipation of a “team-up” down the road.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The best DC movies we got were Joker, The Suicide Squad, and The Batman, for me. Those were amazing and memorable movies. Black Adam could’ve been so much more for me but having bathed in all the superhero stuff for a long time now, I didn’t feel like he brought his A game this time around. I am curious about what’s next and I do hope it’ll only get better going forward! I’m glad you did enjoy this one in the end though and thank you again for reading, Bruce! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, thank you very much for “saving” me from a fruitless visit to the theater! 😉
    While this kind of movie needs action sequences to keep the viewer engaged, it would seem, from your review, that there is very little else here besides those scenes, so I understand your low rating… Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d never heard of the character so I’m completely unfamiliar with the story. I’ve enjoyed some of The Rock’s movies, but the characters he plays are often very similar, so I could see that being a distraction here, especially if it were originally done in a more serious tone but changed to a more comedic one for the movie-going audiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review, Lashaan! I especially love when you give bad reviews because they are ruthless 😂 also it saves me the time needed to watch it, even though to be honest I wasn’t even planning to, as I know close to nothing about this character and universe!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As charasmatic of an actor as Dwayne Johnson is, even he can’t save a movie, and as much as a morally ambiguous main character in a superhero world is intriguing, neither he or a great concept can save an otherwise less than mediocre movie. Even if the writing worked better, choppy editing can ruin an otherwise great film, making the whole thing feel amateurish.
    Same thing happened in the She-Hulk episodes that I did watch. The action scenes were very sloppily edited, especially in the first episode. The characters seemed to warp to different places between shots, or they held benches in completely different ways without any transition shot. The scene’s single punch isn’t even shown on camera. I have a lot of complaints about that show (which I gave up on after Episode 5, despite usually being a completionist, and She-Hulk easily being my favourite of the Hulks), but your blog post isn’t about that.
    Anyway, I was interested in the Black Adam movie, despite knowing virtually nothing about the character, but your 2/5 review seems to be fairly normal for this one. It sounds like a skip to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, it’s saddening to watch directors go forward with choppy action scenes. I always translate that as an inability to do good action, a way to hide flaws through bombastic and fast-paced scenes, especially so that casual viewers don’t ask themselves too many questions… I personally don’t think of The Rock as an actor, mostly just playing himself in every single movie he’s in. It’s hard to ever take him seriously too, and that’s key to a villain like Black Adam. I’d be curious to read your thoughts on it if you ever do dare check it out. If anything, wait till it’s free on a streaming service that you own…


      1. If you ever get around to watch the newer Jumanji movies, you’ll see that The Rock actually does have some range. Especially the second one where he’s basically playing Danny Devito. But I would agree that in a lot of his movies, he basically plays himself, or at least a slight variant of that.

        Liked by 1 person

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