On Oct. 22, Black Adam, the latest entry in the DC Extended Universe, was playing at the Bohm Theatre. The film focuses on Dwayne Johnson’s portrayal of the titular character as he is awakened in the modern world after centuries spent imprisoned.
Teth Adam, as the character is known until he receives his more familiar moniker, comes to find that his home of Kahndaq has modernized over the course of the 5000 years he has been imprisoned. The character is forced to reckon with whether his ultraviolent brand of justice, and himself by extension, have a place in this new world.
The plot itself follows the standard “save the world” trope that is common among superhero movies. If the wrong individual were to gain possession of a powerful artifact, the Crown of Sabbac, then great evil would befall Earth. As standard as it is, there’s nothing wrong with simplicity. There is no need for devout familiarity to DC comics lore to comprehend what is happening throughout the film.
The characters in the movie are an enjoyable set, particularly the heroes. Teth Adam is similar to the typical characters that Dwayne Johnson has become well-known for. Tough and physically imposing with witty retorts, this is very much the Rock playing the kind of characters he knows best. As familiar as it is, it’s still a quality performance. There are moments when this kind of performance feels a bit excessive, particularly when Adam first encounters the Justice Society, but it eventually takes its leave as Adam and the Justice Society begin to get better acquainted.
Speaking of, the Justice Society is a welcome addition to the DC Extended Universe. Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate embodies the role of a mystical, all-knowing powerhouse with great charm and wit. Aldis Hodge portrays Carter Hall, Hawkman, as a man with a firm sense of morality and a dedication to abide by his own definition of righteousness. The two are old friends who have been members of the Justice Society for quite some time, and they find themselves mentoring the other two members that accompany them in their mission to subdue Teth Adam.
Noah Centineo plays the character of Atom Smasher. Through the course of the film, Atom Smasher’s youth and inexperience is played for laughs, which prove to add some levity in the midst of some action sequences.
Quintessa Swindell rounds out the roster of superheroes with her portrayal of Cyclone, the more experienced youthful counterpart to Centineo’s immature Atom Smasher. The acting is one of the highlights of this film. All the actors prove their competency throughout. Johnson in particular delivers an emotional performance near the climax of the film when the truth of his powers is revealed. The effects make the film a pleasure to watch. There were some moments where the writing felt odd. The writing surrounding the human characters without superpowers was where this was most apparent. It felt as if most of the attention was given to the superheroes, which is fair. It’s a superhero movie.
For me, this is one of DC’s strongest outings as of late. It’s just a fun watch, and it doesn’t need to be anything more complicated than super powered individuals smacking each other on a screen. Not everything needs to be a thought-provoking masterpiece. Sometimes, it’s just fun to watch cool stuff happen. It approaches Matt Reeves’s “The Batman” near the top of DC films, primarily because it knows what it wants to be. It’s worth the time, especially if you just want something entertaining to watch with friends or family.