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‘Black Adam:’ DC Welcomes Dwayne Johnson As The Anti-Hero

Another DC film enters the mix with Black Adam. Dwayne Johnson makes his debut in the superhero world, and audiences are waiting in anticipation of how he fares. Will it fall flat? Will it break box office and critic records? Or could it be right in the middle?


A Black Adam synopsis for the average audience member

If you’re like me, you might have very little experience within the DC Universe. Fear not! I’ve got a brief but thorough non-spoiler plot explanation. Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) originates from the city Khandaq, living as a slave under king Anh-Kot 5,000 years ago. When he is granted the power of Shazam, he frees the people of Khandaq.

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Thousands of years later, Black Adam is no where to be found while the city is overrun the Intergang, evil forces and enemies of superheroes. When Black Adam is freed from imprisonment, he seeks revenge on the Intergang and forces who caused him pain. Simultaneously, the Justice Society, made of Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan) want to return Black Adam to imprisonment for the safety of the world.

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ALDIS HODGE as Hawkman in New Line Cinema’s action adventure “BLACK ADAM,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. /CREDIT: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures. © 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

We’ve also got Khandaq resistance fighter Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi), her son Amon Tomaz (Bodhi Sabongui), and Adrianna’s brother Karim (Mohammed Amer) in support of Black Adam’s return.

Dwayne Johnson plays Dwayne Johnson 

It’s shocking that Dwayne Johnson has never played a superhero or at least a major character in these full-fledge DC and Marvel movies. He’s got the strong physique and a dominating personality to pair with it.

Johnson is clearly playing a version of himself, like he does in a lot of his films. But don’t actors take a part of themselves in every role they do? Dwayne Johnson embodies the idea of what a superhero is: powerful, physically strong, and extremely intimidating. His lack of awareness with modern day adds a flair of comedy, in juxtaposition with Black Adam’s standoffish nature.

Of course, we wouldn’t have a superhero film without an emotional backstory. While I won’t spoil what made him the way he is today, the character definitely has a lot of trauma to work through.

The movie grapples with the fact that Black Adam has darkness inside him, making him more of an anti-hero. While he symbolizes this dream of freedom for the people of Khandaq, there should be more to him. More personality, grief, anger, and complexity that we don’t see. This could be due to the movie’s script or the need to fit so much into 2 hours.

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Riddled with flashy superheroes, less focus on the story

The film begins with a tale but soon jumps into fast action and wild battle scenes. Suddenly we get to present day, then boom our Black Adam returns, then boom new superheroes unfold. It’s easy to get lost in the story, as super beings flying and punching with guns blazing take over our consciences.

At times I felt like I wanted to bring my head up for air, as I was drowning in all of violence and anger. Luckily, there was relief, whether it be a heartfelt moment between Adrianna and her son or the comedic timing of Karim. I’ll never be able to get “Baby Come Back” out of my head. You’ll see why.

The best part of Black Adam? The collective audience reactions

I’m not one that seeks out action or superhero films during my free time. But being in a room with people, critics and fans alike, who can’t contain their excitement is invigorating. The audience would erupt in laughter or applause whenever they could, making the moments on screen much more worth it. Now I understand why DC and Marvel bring so many devoted fans.

I couldn’t contain my own thrill when a post credit scene shared some cool crossovers. I won’t tell you now, you’ll have to go to the movies to find out.

But that’s why people make movies right? It’s all about how those moments make a person feel in the moment. While everything may not be perfect, and the story might have needed more time to be fleshed out, it moved people. It moved me. And for a superhero movie, that’s all you can ask for.

Catch Black Adam now in theaters.

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