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The good news is that I think everyone who wants to see this movie just wants to see Dwayne Johnson be a badass superhero. On that note, I can give this movie a big thumbs up. The Rock nailed the anti-hero Black Adam. He was perfect for the role. His delivery and expressions were spot on every time. If it weren’t for The Rock I would have dropped this movie down in the D- range.

Unfortunately, there’s the rest of the movie.

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Typical DC villain

Has any DC movie had a decent villain? I don’t recall one. I’m not saying that it’s easy to create a great villain, because it isn’t. Creating a good villain is one of the hardest things to do in storytelling, but it doesn’t even seem that DC is even trying. They always seem to be evil for evil’s sake, power-hungry just because, whatever. The villain in this movie isn’t remotely sympathetic. He just wants power for lame reasons.

Who are these people?

OMG, this movie should have been at least the sixth movie in a series. We get practically zero backstory on all of the characters who aren’t Black Adam. They make it clear that these characters have existed in the DC-Universe the whole time. So… Where have they been? Do we not get their backstory? These are some powerful characters who have existing relationships that we just have to gleam from a few lines here and there. It feels like Dr. Fate and Hawkman should have at least two or three movies together. It’s bewildering how poorly the DCU is being managed. Someone has to be sabotaging it from the inside. There’s no other explanation for how they could continue to make disappointing movies and leave gobs of stories untold.

I really want to see Dr. Fate’s origin story, and then a few movies of him and Hawkman teaming up. And let’s see Cyclon’s origin story. That sounds suitably dark.

What did he say?

There were far too many dialog scenes with background music or noise that made it hard or impossible to make out what the characters were saying. How could no one notice that during post-production? This seems to be happening more and more frequently. I know I’ve mentioned this before in other movie reviews.

I guess it really doesn’t matter. You can understand everything Dwayne Johnson says. If you miss someone else’s dialog then don’t worry about it. It really doesn’t matter what they said.

Grade: C+

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There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Black Adam.

Rated: (PG-13) Sequences of Strong Violence | Intense Action | Some Language
Genres: Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Shahi, Viola Davis
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer(s): Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani
Language: English
Country: United States

Nearly 5,000 years after he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the Egyptian gods-and imprisoned just as quickly-Black Adam (Johnson) is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.

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12 responses to “Movie Review – Black Adam”

  1. Michael Fields Avatar
    Michael Fields

    Sorry I have to strongly disagree with you here. “Has any DC movie had a decent villain? I don’t recall one” The Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, The Riddler, Doomsday, Black Manta, Ares, those a HUGE and better then any villian I have seen, (Especially Heath Ledgers Joker, iconic” Lets look at Marvel Abomination (No back story) Obadiah Stane, Dreykov, and the list goes on, even Thanos did not have a good backstory he just wanted to get rid of everyone as the universe was “too crowded” so he is a Fire marshal? The guy in Black Adam wanted to fill his destiny as he was the last descendent of the bad guy Black Adam killed to release the people from slavery, so he wanted to rule AND kill Black Adam for his family. Then you say “zero backstory on all of the characters who aren’t Black Adam” do we really need one? We know they are heroes and Hawkman with Dr Fate has been doing this for a long time, in Marvel movies did they do backstories on all the kids at Professor X’s school like Rouge or storm or really Professor X (It took other movies to tell that story) Cyclops, Ajax, Colossus, and I could go on forever. Sure they could have made it more, but by doing so you add time and it already was over 2 hours, and the more time you add the less time you can show the movie, so telling it like they did got you caught up and on your way after all this was a movie about Black Adam. And if it does well I am sure they will do more of the rest of the heroes and their back story, just like Marvel does. And you did not mention the special effects that helped tell the story, those were the best I have seen in any movie, I mean just the ones for cyclone were so great. I give this movie a B+ the only reason I went down a little is because it was slow in the beginning, I know they have to tell the story but it did not pick up until he was awaken

  2. I should have made it more clear that I’m talking about the DCU, not DC in general. So Heath Ledger’s brilliant work as The Joker doesn’t count for DC since that was pre-DCU. Neither do any of the X-Men count since they’ve not been wrapped into the MCU, yet.

    IMHO, a really good villain must be sympathetic. First, the story has to give the villain enough backstory and motivation to give the audience pause to think, “You know, the villain isn’t exactly wrong. I can see their point. I would probably do the same thing in their place.”

    Thanos was a brilliant villain. He, and his legion of followers, legitimately thought he was the good guy. Of course, if you really dig into it then his motivation has some serious holes in it, but during the movie he makes it clear that he’s trying to do the right thing.

    Darth Vader is a classic example of a sympathetic villain. But only after you understand his entire story: that he was traumatized as a child and only wanted to protect the ones he loved. And was then manipulated by a purely evil, power hungry, mentor.

    In Black Adam the villain wanted power and to avenge his family. If he were my friend I’d say, “Dude, get over it. That was 5,000 years ago. And FYI, your family was despotic lunatics who enslaved their own people for their own gain. They pretty much deserved what was coming to them, and then some.”

    I don’t think the other heroes needed more backstory told in this movie. I think they needed their own movies. Like five or six movies worth of backstory and then introduce Black Adam. Or at least make a TV series out of their backstory. But you’re right, there was no way to conceivably give their backstory justice in this movie.

  3. Justin Nossa Avatar
    Justin Nossa

    I definitely have to disagree with you here. The movie was much better than expected. You could see where they probably made cuts in the film because the original screening was rated R. Also you don’t need a full backstory for every movie. They’re already talking about possibly making spin-offs or Pierce Brosnan returning as mentor for whoever becomes the new Doctor since there is multiple in the DC comics. Thank you for the app though. It’s ok to disagree but still enjoy the art of films together. Keep up the good work

  4. jmichael2497 Avatar

    It’s disappointing to read that we have another background overpowering dialogue situation, which I only really noticed in Dune for multiple scenes, so…

    Better or worse, and frequency of, dialogue clarity issues vs Dune?

  5. jmichael2497 Avatar

    (oh and I should note that some theatres are offering easier accessibility for everyone by having on screen captions, so that might have to be a thing for the bad audio mix movies )

  6. Absolutely agree. We all have our subjective likes and dislikes about movies. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is how much we enjoy a movie. If I see something and love it I don’t really care if no one else does.

    I agree that not every character needs a backstory. What disappoints me is that I didn’t feel anything when Dr. Fate sacrificed himself. If we had gotten to know and love Dr. Fate a few movies ago and seen his friendship with Hawkman grow then it would have made for a much more emotional ending.

    It’s like, if the MCU had just skipped all the movies and started with Avengers: Infinity War / Endgame then Ironman’s sacrifice wouldn’t have been remotely as cathartic.

    It comes down to the story telling axiom: show, don’t tell.

  7. Justin Nossa Avatar
    Justin Nossa

    I see your point, but I feel Pierce Brosnan’s acting was so well done that I did feel a connection there. Will definitely get some emotional connection losses in the New guardians movie for marvel coming up though. Have heard some will die

  8. It’s hard to compare the dialog audio issues between movies because I can’t remember the specifics for DUNE from a year ago.

    I hope theaters don’t turn on subtitles. I find it really distracting because sometimes I can’t help but read the subtitles even when I can understand the dialog. It leaves me missing things in the movie because I’m reading rather than watching.

  9. jmichael2497 Avatar

    the open captions appears to be a rare option like the “sensory friendly” showings (almost like trying to find nearby discount tuesday 3d showings after 2-3wks in an AMC )

    i’m glad that it is an option at all, since there are plenty of folks with not the best hearing ability (or none at all), or maybe ESL, or nowadays terrible audio mix covering up too much dialogue.

    since there does not seem to be a 3d version (if i’m going to the movies, it is generally going to be for 3d or similar big screen spectacle, otherwise i’m watching at home) then i’m hoping to find some open caption options, otherwise i may try the seat mounted tech.

  10. I wonder how many movies I’d would see in theaters if I didn’t have to do it for RunPee. Our home movie experience is pretty good. There’s a lot of blockbusters that I could wait to see at home.

    I haven’t seen a 3D movie in ages. But I’ll probably go out of my way to see Avatar 2 in 3D.

  11. Kat Curtis Avatar

    I discovered a few years ago I typically agree with your reviews on dc and marvel movies. And your review on black Adam is the main reason why I skipped it in theater. I just finished watching it on HBO and I’m not surprisingly agreeing with your review. I’m happy I didn’t spend money to see it. If it wasn’t for pierce bronson and Dwayne Johnson I would have turned it off about 40 minutes in because the problem with hearing the dialog because of the sound. And wondering (I’m not a graphic novel reader) who the characters were.

    So I’m short thank you for saving me money. Also thanks for creating runpee.

  12. I’m glad my review steered you in the right direction. I feel the same about finding reviewers that I tend to agree with and sticking with them. Although in my case, I don’t actually get to choose which movies I see. It’s sort of my job. 🙂

    And OMG, the sound. How hard is it to not play loud music over dialog?

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