‘Black Adam’ movie review: Dwayne Johnson saves the day, despite some hiccups

The movie rides on Dwayne Johnson’s massive shoulders and considerable charisma, and all naturally comes right in the end in a storm of CGI

October 20, 2022 06:14 pm | Updated October 21, 2022 05:41 pm IST

A still from ‘Black Adam’

A still from ‘Black Adam’

Though slow to get into its stride, once it does, Black Adam is fun — not OMG, eyeball-searing movie magic, but jolly good nonetheless. The 11th film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), this Shazam! spin off begins 5,000 years ago in somewhere-istan, this time going by the name of Kahndaq.

Black Adam
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Marwan Kenzari, Quintessa Swindell, Bodhi Sabongui, Pierce Brosnan
Storyline: A superhero wakes up after a 5,000-year nap to find his world changed and still the same
Run time: 124 minutes

Among the sand and soaring cliffs of Kahndaq is a rare and precious metal, Eternium. What is with these faux-Latin sounding fantastical metals; remember unobtainium and vibranium? Anyway, that is a story for another time. Back to the Jaume Collet-Serra (Jungle Cruise) led Black Adam where the despotic king Anh-Kot, intends to use Eternium to create the Crown of Sabbac, to get unlimited power and rule the world... you get the drift.

A slave boy leads a revolt, and just at the moment of his execution, becomes all-powerful and challenges sneery king Anh-Kot. Five thousand years later, Kahndaq’s miseries are not over as the country is being ruled by a gang of mercenaries. A university professor who is also a resistance fighter, Adrianna, (Sarah Shahi) is looking for the Crown of Sabbacc to ensure it does not fall into the wrong hands.

The wrong hands, led by Ishmael (Marwan Kenzari) have watched enough movies to know that they just have to follow the good professor, turn one of her team against her, and the crown is in your pocket or on your head. However, before that happens, Adrianna wakes up the slumbering superhero Teth-Adam (Dwayne Johnson) and all hell breaks loose.

The Justice Society of America (JSA) is called in to neutralise Adam much to the dismay of Adrianna’s superhero-mad son, Amon (Bodhi Sabongui). The JSA led by Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) with Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan) providing irritatingly-vague predictions in hindsight, Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) eager to fill his uncle’s shoes, and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell) head to Kahndaq only to realise the ground reality is rather different.

All naturally comes right in the end in a storm of CGI with that mid-credit sequence showing the deliciously dimpled meta-human promising much joy to come. Brosnan lends gravitas, while Centineo and Swindell have a cool chemistry.

The movie rides on Johnson’s massive shoulders and considerable charisma. The back-and-forth between Amon and Adam is reminiscent of John Connor urging the Terminator to be cool in Terminator 2: Judgement Day; wealmost expected Adam to say. “Hasta La Vista, baby…”

Black Adam is currently running in theatres

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