Black Adam: The Rock and a Hard Place

Don’t hold your breath if you were hoping for a reference to the Rock’s energy drink brand Zoa.

Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson has been attached to this project for 15 years, and within the marketing and interviews for the film, you can tell that his excitement for Black Adam is pretty high. I can see how 15 years ago this could have been a game changer for the genre, but we now live in a world where talking ducks in space and the Hulk saying “Bruh,” are the norm in the superhero industry.

It’s clear how much time off-screen the Rock put into the role, as he is jacked, what’s unclear on-screen is if there was actual dialogue for him to say or if he just made it up as he went along. They definitely take the time to let you understand Black Adam’s motivations, but the death toll racked up in his name is quite enormous, to say the least. I’m not sure how well this film would be received by fans had Adam been played by anyone else, in other words, If I was asked to describe who Adam was it would be a short paragraph.

What’s most fun about this character is how much he kills his enemies as it makes for very entertaining action. Adam does suffer from ‘Captain Marvel Sydrome’ unfortunately though, as he easily fights grunts to other superheroes barely taking as much as a scratch. There is a moment during some action where out of nowhere it just starts playing The Rolling Stones, which immensely stole any seriousness of the scene.

After being released from his tomb, the Justice Society is called in to capture Adam, and within this team is the best character in the film, Dr. Fate played by Pierce Brosnan. Fate becomes sort of the Obi-Wan of the story, being a mentor to both Adam and the other members of the team and Brosnan is perfect at balancing his wiseness with levity. His powers on the surface mirror that of Dr. Strange. The 2 or 3 action scenes he’s in do more with his weird mind-bending powers aspect visually and on a practical level than Strange in his most recent film. Fate affects the events of the story in the most impactful way more than anyone else.

The family that awakens Adam is useless on practically every level. Each moment they appear is a moment of the film that should have been used on anything else. The villain as well holds about as much value as the quarter that fell between your car seat 4 years ago that you’ve been meaning to get out. Don’t even know the villain’s name, and I truly don’t care.

The main theme is definitely worthy of your workout playlist, but nothing else on the score stands out. The color grading is poorly utilized, everything looks the same and you could easily get confused as to where events take place as the majority of the story is set in the fictitious middle eastern country of Kahndaq.

It’s not that The Rock’s first steps into a spandex suit are necessarily bad, there’s not much here to offer that can’t be experienced somewhere else better. Black Adam would be a great first or second draft, but aside from about 20-30 minutes, you’re probably not gonna want to see what the Rock has cooked up.

My Grade for Black Adam is a D

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