Black Adam awakens from a long slumber to find that the world, in some ways, is quite different from when he left it. But you know what they say about how the more things change. The world will always have bullies—those who use their powers to subdue those weaker than they are. At any rate, those bullies get bullied in this one. The JSA decides to intervene where they haven’t before. And faces meet fists in this epic, action-packed comic book movie.
The writers and director use tons of action. But it’s not action for the sake of action. It pushes story and character.
It is through the action that viewers see who Black Adam really is. “We are what we do...,” as Aristotle would say. And Black Adam’s actions tell viewers that he is a complex and tormented figure, who is driven by trying to right the wrongs of his past.
Dwayne Johnson delivers on what is required of him. For most of the movie, he shows viewers his rage. But audiences also get to see his sorrow as his traumatic past unfolds.
Sara Shahi’s Adriana Tomaz is very complex as well. She’s a mother and a freedom fighter, who wants a liberated homeland and a safe place to raise her son. She’s torn.
Adriana doesn’t like violence but sees the violent Black Adam as a means to reach her goals. The heroes in her estimation haven’t done their job. So she’s willing to try something different, regardless of the heroes’ warnings that she is betting on the wrong champion. But she trusts her eyes more than what others tell her.
Bohdi Sobongui’s portrayal of Amon Tomaz serves as some of the movie’s comic relief. But he too has complexity within his character. He admires the revolutionary streak within his mother. He wants to be just like her and stand up to those who occupy his country.
Amon is also the ultimate fanboy. But he idolizes superheroes that have done nothing about his country’s occupation. So when Black Adam shows up, it makes sense that he would take to him. In Amon’s eyes, he’s the personification of those ideologies: a superhero that actually does something about the villains oppressing his people.
Hawkman only cares about the letter of the law. But he doesn’t bother to look at how its application affects the lives of so many negatively. His ark is such that he comes to understand that everything is not always black and white.
Atom Smasher is a bit annoying. The thought of bulls in china shops would be the best way to describe his character and the actor who portrays him. Joseph Centineo comes off clumsily in the attempt.
Quintessa Swindell is a ball of energy as Cyclone. Not a lot is required. But she delivers what is. Hopefully, we’ll see more of her character in the future.
Pierce Brosnan hits all the perfect notes. He does cryptic well. The artists and animators deserve lots of praise for all of the characters but especially his. His Doctor Fate looks like he jumps straight off the pages of a DCU comic book.
The movie is stocked with lots of crazy action and has complex and compelling characters that make for a rousing good time. Dwayne Johnson fills Black Adam’s shoes perfectly. Don’t look now, but the Rock may have just saved the DCEU.