I can smell what the Rock is cooking. Dwayne Johnson wasn’t kidding when he said Black Adam was going to change the hierarchy of the DC Universe. I believe he delivered.
Johnson spared no expense in bringing Otto Beck and C.C Beck’s vision to life. I mentioned in an earlier article how impressed I was by how long Johnson invested in the anti-hero. I had no idea until Shazam was released in 2019. Johnson served as executive producer and lauded the film. Even though Black Adam is akin to the Shazam mythology and it was not Black Adam’s time to shine, seeds were planted to pave the way for Black Adam to rise.
I have been amazed at how much love and care was put into the planning, filming, post-production, and marketing of the film. Dwayne Johnson is having the time of his life like a kid in a candy store. That was what it was like watching this film. It was nice to see a DC film in theaters since last year’s The Suicide Squad. I am excited to see four films in this universe next year. I am sure Marvel will be watching curiously as well. I am glad I get to enjoy both.
Before there was Black Adam, there was Teth Adam of Khandaq.
He was born into a world of slavery. Ahk-Ton takes it upon himself to use his massive wealth and power to evoke greed and fear. He decides he wants to be more evil by delving into the mystical arts. He wants a crown made of a mineral called eternium to be possessed by the demon called Sabbac.
A young boy who turns out to be Teth Adam’s son is a man of pure heart and perseverance. He sees the plight of others and wants to instill hope among his people. He unites his people when greed takes over his brethren. He nearly dies, but the Wizard Shazam and the rest of the Wizard family grant the boy powers to lead his people out of the darkness.
- The Stamina of Shu
- The Swiftness of Horus
- The Strength of Amon
- The Wisdom of Zehuti
- The Power of Aten
- The Courage of Mehen
I love how the first letter of each Egyptian god spells out Shazam. The same goes for the Greek gods in 2019.
GIVE THE COMIC BOOK CREATORS SOME GOLD STARS FOR THAT BRILLIANT PIECE OF WRITING.
Teth Adam’s son proves succesful for a short period of time. He lost his mother despite his heroics. Teth Adam nearly dies, but his son passes the powers of Shazam to him. Teth Adam’s son dies shortly after. In a fit of rage, Adam exacts his revenge. He succeeds, but the wizard Shazam imprisons Adam for his deeds. Khandaq remains in turmoil in the present day awaiting their champion once again.
Dwayne Johnson (Hobbs and Shaw, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) inhabits his role effortlessly. Black Adam is a man on a mission to never feel helpless again. He enjoys using his power to wreak havoc on any wrongdoers. The Intergang who have enslaved present-day Khandaq have their work cut out for them. He is confident no one can stop him. Then again, where there are anti-heroes and villains, there are heroes nearby to hopefully maybe steer him in the right direction.
Aldis Hodge (Leverage, Supernatural) is an actor I have admired for years. He evokes swagger but is ready to surprise you with comedy and drama in all of his roles. I remember seeing so many iterations of Hawkman in Smallville, the Justice League animated series, and the Arrowverse. I was blown away by all of them. I was even more impressed to see a black man take on this role. I was surprised when I thought I was seeing Kent Nelson’s house in the trailer. It turns out I was seeing Carter Hall’s mansion and jet. I was so moved. Hawkman is from another world. It makes sense he would have amassed his own wealth and power. I got chills seeing his wardrobe. I felt some T’Challa vibes. Carter Hall is brave, fearless, and a bit stubborn. He goes toe to toe with Adam and it is a treat to watch.
He has a warrior’s heart but ends up seeing the value of Adam over time.
Noah Centineo (The Fosters, To All the Boys films) is a heartthrob to many but a heart of gold in my eyes. I admire how well he has handled fame and has shown his true colors in 2020 by being an inspiration and caring. I am glad he was blessed with Atom Smasher. Al Rothstein gets the opportunity to become the next Atom Smasher. His uncle played by HENRY WINKLER (dope cameo) was Atom Smasher before him and wishes him well. Al is a hero in the making and wants to do well. He stumbles a couple of times but shows he is more than capable. I thought it was funny his mask seems to rival that of Deadpool. His powers able him to grow to immense size making him durable.
Watch out, Ant-Man.
Centineo offers some great comedic moments. I hope to see more of him.
Quintessa Swindell (Voyagers, Euphoria) evokes such grace, smarts, and power as Cyclone. I was not familiar with their work, but they bring so much likability to the screen. They seem level-headed amid all this chaos. She joins the team with such intellect and is welcoming to their fellow teammate Al. Nothing seems to phase them. I guess after tragically enduring how they got their powers, they only can go up. Cyclone’s powers deal with wind manipulation with more colorful flair. It is a spectacle to behold.
Pierce Brosnan (007, Mamma Mia) is a man flowing with talent spanning decades. He was the first James Bond I was exposed to as a kid. He was brilliant. I was so excited to see him join the DC Universe. I liked what Smallville and Young Justice did with Kent Nelson. This film amped up the character to the point it might give Benedict Cumberbatch a run for his money. Dr. Fate is really powerful and his powers are fantastic. He is the heart of the film. He shows Black Adam there is a better way to achieve greatness outside of anger, heartache, and pain.
The chemistry between Brosnan and Hodge is perfection. There is so much history that seems to go back to before Man of Steel. I look forward to seeing that fleshed out. When Amanda Waller said who’s on the team, it got me thinking there are countless heroes. The Justice Society of America is one active bunch. I would not object to seeing Stargirl and Starman one day.
I just realized that Marwan Kenzari was in Aladdin as the iconic Jafar. He joins the cast as an intrepid explorer turned leader of the Intergang next in line to be Sabbac. He gets around.
Sarah Shahi (The L Word) is brilliant. She has a heart of gold. She is driven to preserve the history of Khandaq and keep her son safe. She is a modern-day Lara Croft and Evelyn from The Mummy. I must say she seems more than worthy to be given powers one day. I looked her up and if Black Adam ever wanted to share his powers as Shazam did back in 2019, Adrianna Tomaz might be up for up. I can say the same for her son too.
I have to give gold stars to the actors who played Adrianna’s son and Teth Adam’s son. Teth Adam’s son is the key to this whole film. I also like how Adrianna’s son is fearless and a geek like us. He runs into Black Adam and tries to show him the hero ropes. it reminded me of the banter Billy Batson and Freddy Freeman had in Shazam. Freddie and Amon are the mentor figures that give the hero and anti-hero a platform to be better than they can be. Well, others play a part too, but grateful for all the help given. I would happily carpool karaoke with Mo Amer any day of the week. Centineo and Omer win comedic chops awards in this film.
Critics responded with mixed reviews towards Black Adam. I understand some of the criticisms. Black Adam spoke in his native language in the past. When he wakes up in Amon’s room, he knows English too quickly. I heard that some of the characters were not fleshed out enough. There is not a lot of backstory with Atom Smasher, Cyclone, and Dr. Fate. There are small moments indeed but that didn’t affect my experience. I guess I knew them from other iterations so I was dialed in. Then again, I can see why it fell short for others.
I liked that Viola Davis and Jennifer Holland came back to this film after The Suicide Squad. It shows that Waller and Harcourt are slowly becoming the Nick Fury of the DCEU. There is very little Task Force X doesn’t know. I also caught a glimpse of the actor who played Captain Singh from The Flash television series. He plays a Khandaq citizen.
I must credit Pierce Brosnan again for delivering a powerful performance as Doctor Fate. I nearly cried on the second watch seeing Fate fight to show Black Adam what a hero can truly be. Lorne Balfe delivers an electrifying score throughout the entire film. Black Adam is truly a broken man, but he is shown a better way through his son. He is shown a better way by Amon, Adrianna, Atom Smasher, Hawkman, and Cyclone. That is what works so well.
I was over the moon when Superman makes an appearance in the mid-credits of the film. This is a level-up from Shazam. Henry Cavill dons the cape once again since 2017. I was worried if we would ever see the Man of Steel again. Man of Steel 2 has been in limbo for so long for a myriad of reasons. The fact that Johnson and his producing partners were able to pull this off when WB should have done this by default speaks volumes. I got chills and yelled with excitement akin to Andrew Garfield bursting through the portal in Spider-Man No Way Home. There has been news of a Man of Steel 2 in development. This time Henry Cavill took to Instagram to announce his official return. Josh Horowitz added icing to the cake by speaking with Cavill about the future of Superman.
I enjoyed this film and how it redefined what an anti-hero is. This marks a point in the DCEU where the right leadership can be used to ensure more of the Man of Steel, Black Adam, Justice Society, Shazam family, and many characters we have seen in almost a decade. Maybe one day the Justice League will return. I am hopeful because if there is a focus on great characters, a great story and making them shine the right way, the future can look a little brighter.