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Black Adam | Average Guy Movie Review

After 5000 years imprisonment, Teth Adam (Dwayne Johnson), a slave bestowed with the powers of the Egyptian gods is awoken to find his home country of Kahndaq overrun by mercenaries. The ensuing chaos draws the attention of Amanda Waller, who tasks the Justice Society with capturing Teth Adam before his reign of destruction gets out of hand.

Watching Black Adam, the first thing that strikes me - and I know I'm late to the party on this - is that it was never going to save the DCEU (in its current form). The story is weak. Every twist can be spotted a mile off. The characters aren't exactly compelling. Especially the villain! There's a lot of obvious green screen/CGI, all of which has a nasty habit of taking you out of the movie. And it all builds to a rather uninteresting finale that includes a whole lot more bad CGI.

The movie's biggest selling point, by far, is seeing Dwayne Johnson playing this dark and brooding, badass comic book role - one that he happens to be rather passionate about. It feels like DC bet big on the star power of The Rock, but even his shoulders weren't broad enough to carry this one. Sure, you feel sorry for this ant-hero who is awoken after 5000 years to find that everything he once knew is gone, which serves as a horrible reminder of all that he has lost, and Johnson does a good enough job of portraying the pain and emptiness that such a trauma would cause. There's also plenty of action for Adam to show off his immense powers. Although I was surprised to see a reference to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in there. But even seeing a superpowered being take out his colossal anger on anyone and anything that gets in his way can get a little tedious after a while.

The problem is; this is a major part of the plot - Black Adam shows up and punches stuff. Making the two hour runtime a bit of a slog, which is something I did not expect. In fact, it's probably the most surprising thing about this movie. Even the Justice Society's appearance doesn't help, given that their only plan is to hit Adam repeatedly. Undoubtedly this is some sort of reference to western governments' meddling in the Middle East, just not a very good one. The four members are reduced to two-dimensional/cardboard cut-out characters that generate pretty much zero interest. One of whom is clearly wearing a Deadpool mask. That said, Pierce Brosnan does at least manage to bring some gravitas to Doctor Fate. And I did enjoy the relationship between the good doctor and Aldis Hodge as Hawkman.

It might help if the supporting characters brought something to the table, but this two hour slug-fest barely has time for Adam to have any development or mystery surrounding him. Sarah Shahi seems to be there merely to worry about her teenage son (Bodhi Sabongui), who naturally can't stop getting into trouble. The villain - who is the subject of several of those obvious twists - feels like an after thought, and a rather bland one at that. A lone tick box among many tick boxes on a very crowded checklist. I guess they had to have someone who could make Black Adam look slightly good. Someone also had to provide the army of punchbags for Adam to decimate. Speaking of punchbags; I thought Intergang died with Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman!

All in all it's a two hour punch fest with very little in the way of plot. Dwayne Johnson looks good as the titular anti-hero, but not enough to keep you invested, or at times even interested. 


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