Dwayne Johnson was talking about fifteen years ago about a “shift in the power hierarchy” in the DC Universe. movie theater. This was the time of ripening between the announcement of the star as the hero in “Black Adam” and the final release of the film.
Perhaps the adventure needed more time in the incubator. “Black Adam,” which casts the artist formerly known as The Rock as the anti-hero with magical power, leaves this hierarchy in exactly the same place. Even worse, the movie is a giant leap backwards, a throwback to a brand that desperately needs to find its way around.
Not least because “Black Adam” is not a movie, or what might be considered a movie, but rather a collection of ideas, a set of minimal conventions for what has established itself as a “super movie.” The elements are crossed out one by one, punctuated by endless action scenes and a thread of plot that doesn’t bother with any meaning.
One has to admire Dwayne Johnson’s resilience in fighting for the project for over a decade. When the idea of adapting “Shazam!” He was in an embryonic state, then director Peter Segal wanted the young star to be the protagonist. Johnson, in turn, saw with greater interest the villain in the story and set foot to change the position of the spotlight.
At that time, DC was slowly recovering its car mojo In the cinema, starting with “Batman Begins” and “Superman Returns”. Christopher Nolan’s more realistic Batman movie, along with the billion-dollar “The Dark Knight,” put “Black Adam,” intended for a more fanciful tone, on the fridge.
The project resumed in 2014, shortly after Zack Snyder began his super-publisher transformation with “Man of Steel”. In the midst of creating the shared universe, which Snyder was leading through his Batman v. Superman movie, Dwayne Johnson saw the project constantly on hold, searching for the right place to put it on the board.
The movie “Black Adam” is clearly the result of the confusion that arose in the films with DC characters. Zack Snyder came and went, the shared universe was fragmented, and other projects, such as “Batman” and “Joker”, indicated that a connected movie game might not have been the best approach.
However, the adventure directed by Jaume Collet-Serra makes no secret of being the result of Zack Snyder’s ideas. Even after being launched by DC upon completing its version of “Justice League,” its concepts, at least here, remain dominant, both in concept and implementation. Black Adam is, for all intents and purposes, a Snyder movie agent.
This, believe me, is not a compliment. The worst traits of Snyder’s time in DC were imitated by Collet-Serra. There’s no shortage of overly synthetic combos, endless slow-motion scenes, and confusing or dark battles or both. There is also a “dark” veneer that attempts to replace maturation and development with “radical” violence that is restricted to only 12-year-olds.
The plot of “Black Adam” began 5,000 years ago, when the king of the fictional nation of Kandak enslaved his people. What the king seeks is to extract the ore, “immortality”, necessary to make a crown that bestows upon him, who knows how, magical powers. A boy rises against a tyrant, is saved from execution by six witches (one with a familiar face), and gains powers to defend his people by uttering the magic word: Shazam!
The action extends to the present, when Kahndaq finds itself occupied by the military force Intergang. A revolutionary (Sarah Shahi) finds the crown in a cave, and when she finds herself surrounded by mercenaries who have taken over her country, she frees her homeland’s protector Teth Adam (Johnson) from the grave. Awakened, he sees no problems with chopping, blasting, and mutilating enemies.
Her emission raises an alarm, and soon Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) sends a group of superheroes, the Justice Society, to contain Teth Adam. As the outfit dictates, it won’t take long for the heroes and hostile hero, after ripping half of the city’s gauge powers apart, unite the breach against a greater evil. There is revenge, sacrifice and redemption. Curtains rise. Turn on the lights. the end.
At its core, “Black Adam” feels more like a draft than a feature film. Intergang, the war power that has occupied a country for nearly three decades, has no leader or target. The newspaper did not leave the intention to comment on the military action of foreign countries in sovereign countries in the Middle East.
The Justice League has also emerged as a veteran fighting team, although it is never mentioned in this common world. Atom Crusher (Noah Centineo) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell) are hardly ever recorded as characters. Hawkman (Aldis Hodge, who wasn’t on his best days) is the cross of Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark in a rage. Pierce Brosnan (Doctor Fate) must be happy to get into the superhero game.
In the third act, “Black Adam” immerses itself in the same boring atmosphere as “Suicide Squad” (the first, from 2016), with a digital villain created solely to give work to the visual effects team. With no way to connect with any character, and navigating a plot of absentee tension, the weight of retaining any attention is left to the superlative charisma of Dwayne Johnson, today the biggest movie star in the world. spoiler: not enough.
Pop entertainment in the new century is a strange beast. In the world of superheroes, cinema no longer exists as a goal, only an expectation. The impression is that every movie exists only to thrill worry the next day. By the way, this inclination is up to Marvel.
“Black Adam,” in turn, is the culmination of this action: an entire movie that exists with the sole purpose of being a prelude to another adventure. It’s even dishonest to spend two hours introducing characters with maximum slack to slow down when reaching the finals, giving fans a few seconds of satisfaction before the store closes.
There is nothing in “Black Adam” that indicates a different direction or a “new hierarchy”. On the contrary, its climax takes back the common universe of DC, returning to the area designed by Zack Snyder. If this is the game, they should immediately put everything back into human hands.
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