Long Live The King: A spoiler free review of DC’s latest action stuffed popcorn flick Black Adam.
It’s been a long time coming, but, Dwayne Johnson aka “The Rock” finally got to bring famous comicbook anti-hero\villain Black Adam to the big screen. I went to the theater expecting nothing but two hours of crazy action packed entertainment and I got it. Nothing more, nothing less. So now let’s get into what I liked about the film, what I thought could’ve been improved, and how I rank it in terms of comic book films this year. So, ladies and gents let’s get started, shall we?
In ancient Kahndaq, Teth Adam was bestowed the almighty powers of the gods. After using these powers for vengeance, he was imprisoned, becoming Black Adam. Nearly 5,000 years have passed, and Black Adam has gone from man to myth to legend. Now free, his unique form of justice, born out of rage, is challenged by modern-day heroes who form the Justice Society: Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Atom Smasher and Cyclone.
What I liked:
- Aldis Hodge and Pierce Brosnan as Hawkman and Dr. Fate.
The casting all around was solid, but when it came to show stealing Aldis Hodge and James Bond himself Mr. Pierce Brosnan were the champs in this film. I just felt like out of everyone, the performances and repore between the two men grounded the film and gave it its heart. I have been a fan of both Pierce Brosnan for his role as James Bond in the 1995–2002 era of Bond films and Aldis Hodge’s role as expert hacker\thief Alec Hardison on 2008–2013 classic TNT hit drama Leverage, and both impressed me immensely in this film.
- Insane, in your face and unabashed action!
This certainly wasn’t a film afraid to go for it when it comes to pure, unadulterated violence and action. The movie had plenty of straight up horror film type mayhem and I loved every moment of it! This is a film that knows what it is, but also has a bit more guts to not pull its punches like most other comic book fare aimed at children. This was some big boy fights we as an audience were treated to, and it helped make the film more enjoyable than it might have otherwise.
- The Rock as Black Adam.
Everyone has said that The Rock is the ideal choice for the mighty titan of mayhem. They were right. I’m not gonna pretend that The Rock gave an Oscar worthy performance in this film, but it’s fair to say that I certainly couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role but him. He gives us enough vulnerability and heart to balance out the far darker aspects of Black Adam, and it only made the character more believable and even accessible as the film went on.
- The Black Adam\Hawkman dynamic.
One of the deeper aspects of the film was the frosty dynamic between Hawkman and Black Atom. These two men were two opposite sides of a coin and their vastly different ideas of right and wrong; justice and vengeance made the film far more interesting than it would’ve been without it.
A special little surprise.
…. Yeah, I’m not gonna say what that is (spoiler free, remember?) but it’s a pretty dope moment.
What I didn’t like so much:
- The humor didn’t always land.
Much like how the MCU can sometimes miss the target with their jokes at times, this film’s comedy at times didn’t really nail the joke. There were also times where a forced joke or two kind of spoiled a richer dramatic moment that should’ve been taken seriously all the way. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of great movies and tv shows used humor to cut the tension in a very dark\dramatic moment, but it takes real skill from the writer of the joke and the actors delivering it to get it just right and unfortunately the timing and delivery would be off in certain moments.
- Adam Smasher and Cyclone.
While I thought everyone in the cast did solid work, I would’ve liked the characters of Cyclone and Atom Smasher to stick out a little more and be fleshed out more, but maybe in the sequels they’ll achieve this. Atom Smasher especially came off as the stereotypical awkward nerdy fanboy trope we see in these movies all the time, he was the biggest offender in the humor falling flat department.
All in all, I went to the movie just to have a good time with friends and that’s what I got. Black Adam is nowhere near a perfect movie, but it was very much a fun two hours of pure action with good performances and even emotional depth mixed in. I definitely rank it as the best comic book film of the year so far.