Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and starring the remarkable Dwayne Johnson in the lead role, “Black Adam” emerges as one of the finest DC superhero films to date.
With its unique narrative and captivating performances, this movie breaks away from the formulaic approach that often plagues the genre.
From its inception, the film presents its titular character as a fearsome and enigmatic force, with an insatiable appetite for destruction.
As the story unfolds, Black Adam’s evolution from a malevolent god to a champion of the oppressed is explored, drawing inspiration from classic Hollywood dramas. With its sharp edge and unwavering commitment to moral gray areas, “Black Adam” captivates viewers throughout its runtime.
Table of Contents
Adam’s Primal Force
Black Adam, known as Teth-Adam, is initially portrayed as a force of nature, akin to iconic kaiju creatures like Godzilla. The people in Adam’s path find it challenging to discern his true nature—whether he is good, evil, or indifferent to human concerns.
The oppressed citizens of a long-occupied Middle Eastern nation, desperate for a savior, witness Adam’s miraculous emergence from a desert tomb. They seek his assistance in preventing a demonic crown from falling into the hands of the nefarious Intergang.
Dwayne Johnson’s portrayal of Adam draws inspiration from classic actors like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Anthony Quinn, showcasing his immense talent and unique charisma.
The Power of Redemption
Throughout the film, “Black Adam” explores the theme of redemption and the inherent goodness within individuals. Adam’s presumed innate goodness is appealed to by three civilian characters who play a pivotal role in his transformation.
Adrianna Tomaz, a university professor and resistance fighter, along with her indomitable son Amon and her earthy brother Amir, serve as catalysts for Adam’s change. The script, penned by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani, skillfully avoids sentimentality and instead delves into the complexities of human nature. Motivations and tactics are questioned, blurring the line between right and wrong, showcasing the film’s commitment to moral ambiguity.
Violence and its Consequences
“Black Adam” does not shy away from portraying violence as an inevitable outcome of the characters’ personalities, ambitions, and duties. Unlike other superhero films, where violence is often associated with a specific code or philosophy, this film presents it as a product of individual motivations.
The film pushes the boundaries of its PG-13 rating, with sprays of blood, impalements, and intense action sequences. The director, Jaume Collet-Serra, expertly creates tension by cutting away from the most gruesome violence while allowing the audience to hear or imagine the impact. The chaotic backdrop of the city, hardened by occupation and the collateral damage caused by super-beings, adds depth to the narrative.
“Black Adam” stands out for its commitment to basic film storytelling, successfully weaving in foreshadowings, setups, payoffs, and unexpected twists. The characters, both lead and supporting, are well-defined and leave a lasting impact.
Pierce Brosnan’s portrayal of Dr. Fate, an immortal burdened by knowledge of the future, is particularly moving. Dwayne Johnson’s performance, drawing from cinematic greats like Clint Eastwood, Liam Neeson, and Toshiro Mifune, showcases his acting prowess. The film’s fidelity to its storytelling and meticulous attention to detail create a captivating experience for the audience.
Politics and Spirituality
“Black Adam” tackles political and spiritual themes, maintaining a steadfast commitment to its anti-imperialist stance. The film uses its Middle Eastern-inflected setting to serve as a metaphor for any colonized nation, aligning itself with the spirit of autonomy, liberation, and redemption.
It cleverly draws parallels to Marvel’s “Black Panther” with its Afro-Futurist sensibility but remains more ideologically driven and less compromised. The movie challenges imperialistic forces and questions the role of royalty, surprising audiences with its thought-provoking narrative.
Learn more: Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time
“Black Adam” is a stunning example of the superhero genre, elevating the DC universe with its bold storytelling and exceptional performances. Director Jaume Collet-Serra expertly crafts a film that respects its audience while pushing boundaries.
Dwayne Johnson delivers a powerhouse performance, evoking emotions with subtle gestures and expressions. The movie’s commitment to moral gray areas and its exploration of redemption make it a standout in the genre.
With its captivating narrative, intricate character development, and thought-provoking themes, “Black Adam” not only fulfills audience expectations but also surprises with its unexpected depth.