There is a reason I try to stay away from superhero movies or refrain from reviewing them on my website even after I have seen them. It’s because the majority of them simply have narratives that feel redundant and repetitious, with recycled concepts and fancy effects. With Black Adam, I decided to make an exception, not because it promises to be any better, but more because I wanted to see what had changed since my previous superhero viewing. Sadly, Black Adam’s paint-by-number plot and characters add nothing new to the stale genre.
Like so many superhero movies before it, it starts off with a ridiculous backstory on the origin of the character that takes place thousands of years ago in a fictitious place. The story convoluted with a mix of borrowed ideas from other better movies minus any logic. Flash forward to present day and we get some flimsy excuse that revives the Black Adam character from the past. As played by Dwyne Johnson, this anti-hero comes across as one dimensional as it gets. He is supposed to start off as a bad guy but yet somehow manages to only kill the bad guys in the mayhem that ensues. As if one superhero is not enough, we are introduced to a team of superheroes who represents the good guys, who tries to take on the unruly Black Adam but instead ended up forging an uncomfortable alliance to fight against a common evil. Yawn …. Not even the usually competent and classy Pierce Brosnan can save this from being a total wreck.
Much of the screen time is filled with heavily CGI aided fighting and blatant destruction of surroundings. In between, there are the “cute” remarks made by the superheroes to each other. As if these lighthearted innocent exchanges would make up for the violent nature of how Black Adam disposes of his enemies. I’m curious as to how continuous shots of him murdering his victims by dumping them from great heights, putting hand grenades in their mouths, tearing off body parts, and tossing helicopters to the ground can still be rated PG-13. The fact that many of these are being dismissed as jokes makes it even more repulsive! This unhealthy cultivation of violence to its presumably target audience of young impressionable minds is a dangerous trend that should not be encouraged.
Black Adam is a forgettable entry in the DC superhero universe. They may keep telling the world not to compare them with Marvel but the fact remains that they are often, like this case, a poor attempt to emulate the Marvel commercial success. Not that the Marvel movies are any better. However, Marvel usually has better actors and more creative CGI effects. Black Adam at least serves a useful purpose as a reminder to all discerning cinema goers not to waste time and money on superhero movies. There are a lot more deserving films and television shows out there.