Black Adam - Spoiler Review

The Rock has finally brought Black Adam to life, and he managed to cram all the action he imagined 17 years ago. Black Adam is a very entertaining film that has some very noticeable weaknesses, but by the end of the film you no longer care. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is a movie star on par with Tom Cruise; The Rock is full of charisma, but Black Adam is a different role for Johnson to play. Black Adam is a DC Comics character who is more often a villain in the comics than a hero, and this version of the character has made sure to show that he is not the type of hero we are used to seeing. In the DCEU Black Adam is bring made into an anti-hero than a villain but knowing that Johnson wants a clash between the Man of Steel and Black Adam to occur I think we will see the character evolve. With Cavill coming back it seems obvious we will get that clash, but the one I am more interested in seeing is between Black Adam and Shazam. In the comics Black Adam has had a more antagonistic relationship with Shazam, and with their powers coming from the same place I would like to see that explored. The Rock has been very vocal about wanting Superman and Black Adam to fight on the big screen which is why we will see it. The DCEU is in a very confusing place right now as the chaos at Warner Bros. (WB) has led to chaos with the DCEU. I have long complained that the DCEU has been self sabotaged by WB executives own self interest, and it has led to little continuity between the films. I know that WB is now in better hands we will see the universe be built back up, and with James Gunn heading up the DCEU I am now very excited.

The critique I had coming out of the film was that Black Adam seemed to know how to speak a language that did not exist when he was imprisoned. I know it is very minor, but it bothered me; I think if they just acknowledged that the wisdom of Solomon allowed him to learn and understand immediately. The other two critiques I had are very similar in that they involve the villains of the film as Intergang was underdeveloped, and Sabbac was another boring CGI big boss fight. I wish Intergang got a better explanation as to who they were and why they were there. I felt that Intergang has such an interesting backstory (a crime organization that uses technology supplied by the New Gods), that I wish we learned more about them. There was a New Gods DCEU movie in development, but I think since WB was taken over by Discovery it has been shelved/cancelled. There has been a trend with the DCEU to use a CGI big boss fight for the climax of their films, and I have not been a fan of any of them (except The Suicide Squad and Starro). I would have not minded a big fight between Black Adam and a non CGI Sabbac, but it was not as bad as it could have been. Black Adam was not as bad as critics had made it seem, but I can see why an action spectacle was not good enough for them. The divide between critics and fans on Black Adam is deep, but often with entertaining films you will see this type of divide. Critics are looking at films from a perspective where their entertainment is of lower importance, while for fans entertainment is often the most important thing. Black Adam is not going to get critical recognition for directing, writing or acting, but it was a fun film that has been well received by audiences.


The film opens with a voiceover telling the story of the hero of Kahndaq who freed the people from a King who was oppressing the people in his search for the crown of Sabbac. Teth Adam was the hero, he was a boy slave who protested against the King, but before he could be killed he was saved by the wizard Shazam. The wizard believed the boy to be pure of soul and he granted the boy the powers of Shazam. The boy used those powers to free the people and kill the King before Teth Adam disappeared and was never seen for the last 5,000 years. In the present Kahndaq is still under occupation this time from Intergang who are mining the country for Eternium (shards of the Rock of Eternity that has magical properties). A boy named Amon (played by Bodhi Sabongui) assists his mother Adrianna Tomaz (played by Sarah Shahi) and his uncle Karim (played by Mohammed Amer) avoid an Intergang blockade. Adrianna is part of a resistance movement, and she believes she knows the location of the crown of Sabbac. Karim stays in the van while Adrianna and two allies Ishmael (played by Marwan Kenzari) and Samir head into the an underground temple. 

Adrianna finds the crown, but she also finds the tomb of Teth Adam; but before she can do anything Intergang arrives and takes her and Ishmael captive. Adrianna has the crown, but to escape she says Shazam which releases Teth Adam (played by Dwayne Johnson) from his tomb. Teth Adam kills the Intergang members in the cave and the ones outside of the cave too. Teth Adam is hit by an Eternium rocket which knocks him out, so Adrianna and Karim take him back to their house. Samir was killed by Intergang, but Ishmael is alive and working with Intergang (or they work for him). Teth Adam's rampage against Intergang has drawn worldwide interest and Amanda Waller (played again by Viola Davis) enlists the help of the Justice Society. The Justice Society is led by Hawkman Carter Hall (played by Aldis Hodge), Atom Smasher (played by Noah Centineo), Cyclone (played by Quintessa Swindell) and Dr. Fate Kent Nelson (played by Pierce Brosnan). The world is scared by the power that Teth Adam displayed so The Justice Society is being sent to arrest him (by force if necessary). 

Teth Adam wakes up, and he adapts to his surroundings, but he broke through the wall to go outside so he can visit a giant statue of Teth Adam. As Teth Adam stares at the statue Amon is attacked by Intergang thugs which draws the attention of Teth Adam who kills the thugs and takes two more into the sky. The Justice Society arrives in time to save the thugs before they fell to their deaths, but Teth Adam is not interested in surrendering to them or anyone. A fight breaks out between the Justice Society and Teth Adam which does not result in success for anyone. While the fight is happening Amon and Adrianna are saved by Dr. Fate, but Dr. Fate feels the presence of the crown of Sabbac which causes him to be distracted. Amon heads home with the crown while Adrianna is questioned about possessing the crown, but Dr. Fate assumed she had it when it was Amon who had it in his backpack. Amon gets home and finds Karim at the table with Ishmael who he learns is part of Intergang and he wants the crown. When Amon refuses to give him the crown Karim attacks Ishmael so that Amon can get away which works except Karim is shot in the stomach. 

After the fight with The Justice Society Teth Adams goes to the ruins of the palace where he stares once again at the statue of himself. Dr. Fate and Hawkman want Adrianna's help to stop Teth Adam, but she says he is the hero of Kahndaq he did something to help against Intergang when the world did nothing. Dr. Fate and Hawkman tell Adrianna that they have access to hidden records of the history of the world and that Teth Adam is no hero. Adriana agrees to speak with Teth Adam for them, but while she is there she gets a call from Amon who says he is in trouble. Teth Adam and the Justice Society come to the aid of Amon who was trapped in his building, but Ishmael gets him and places him in the luggage compartment of the flying bikes Intergang uses. The Justice Society and Teth Adam give chase but there are more bikes so they start attacking and searching the bikes one by one. Ishmael gets away with Amon (who did not have the crown), but Hawkman saved a few of the Intergang thugs to question. Teth Adam Takes to the sky with the men saying whoever tells him the location of Ishmael will live which results in Teth Adam getting the location. They find the crown hidden in Amon's bedroom so they plan to go to Ishmael to get Amon back as a group. 

Ishmael is waiting for them at a mine, and he is hidden behind an Eternium shield which cannot be penetrated. Ishmael says that if he gets the crown of Sabbac he will let Amon go free; Ishmael says that he is the lone remaining descendant of the King who Teth Adam killed. Adrianna gives the crown to Ishmael and he puts it and then he shoots Amon (while also letting the shield down) Teth Adam flies fast and saves Amon, but his anger at Ishmael causes him to lose control of his powers and he causes a massive explosion of his powers. The explosion kills Ishmael  who utters "death is the only path to life" before he burns alive. The explosion also hurt Amon who is brought back to the Justice Society's plane for medical attention. Teth Adam hurt by what happened to Amon flies off alone, but he is followed by Hawkman. Teth Adam goes back to the ruins of the palace, but this time he tells Hawkman his story. Teth Adam is not the hero of Kahndaq, that was his son (Hurut) who was rewarded for his bravery by the wizard of Shazam. Teth Adam got the powers of Shazam after the king had him as watch as the king's assassins killed his wife. Hurut arrives and sees his father clinging to life so he gives his powers to his father to save him. Hurut is then shot by an arrow from the king's assassins and he dies in his father's arms. An enraged father attacks the King, and he loses control of his powers causing an explosion that almost destroys Kahndaq. The wizards imprison Teth Adam for his crimes in the tomb Adrianna found, and he has been there for the last 5,000 years. Hawkman admits he cannot stop Teth Adam, but he says Teth Adam can stop himself. Teth Adam says Shazam turning him back into his mortal self so he can be imprisoned so he can never hurt anyone again.

The Justice Society are taking Teth Adam to a Task Force X holding facility in the arctic; Amon is healed and they have the crown of Sabbac. At the facility they are greeted by Emilia Harcourt (played again by Jennifer Holland), and they give up Teth Adam who is imprisoned in a tank of water so he cannot utter his magical word. Cyclone and Adrianna are studying the crown when we go to hell and we see that Ishmael is there and he agrees to become the champion of the six demons of Sabbac. The crown disappears, and Ishmael is reborn as a god of hell to unleash hell on earth. The Justice Society have to go back to Kahndaq to save it from Ishmael, and Dr. Fate reveals to Hawkman that Hawkman will die saving the world. The team is attempting to fight Sabbac, but they are unable to stop him until Dr. Fate seals himself and Sabbac inside the ancient palace. Dr. Fate will sacrifice himself in order to prevent the death of Hawkman, but Dr. Fate projects himself to Teth Adam saying he can still be a hero. Dr. Fate frees Teth Adam and urges him to be the hero Kahndaq needs, so Teth Adam escapes the prison (which is underwater) and he says the magic word as he floats to the surface. 

Sabbac kills Dr. Fate, but with Teth Adam being freed and now powered up Dr. Fate was able to alter fate to save Hawkman and the world. Teth Adam arrives in time to save people from the collapsing statue of Hurut. Teth Adam confronts Sabbac, and with the help of Hawkman and Dr. Fates helmet they combine to kill Sabbac and save Kahndaq. The Justice Society agrees to leave Kahndaq in the hands of Teth Adam, and Teth Adams destroys the throne saying he would rather be the protector of Kahndaq than the ruler. Teth Adam also decides his name is too old so he adopts a new name Black Adam as the film ends. In the mid credits scene we see Amanda Waller send a drone to Kahndaq to warn Black Adam that he is not allowed to set foot outside of Kahndaq's border or else. Black Adam does not take kindly to the threat so he replies he will go wherever he wishes so she can send whoever she wants to try and stop him. Waller replies that she will take him up on that offer as Adam destroys her drone, but Superman lands in front of Adam and says that they should talk as the film comes to a close.


The opening of the film was good, but the film came to life as Black Adam electrocuted an Intergang thug to dust. It is a refreshing to see an anti-hero get so much attention, often times in comic book movies the anti-hero becomes a true hero, but I do not sense that Black Adam is not going to be killing people anymore. I liked that Adrianna called out the Justice Society for only coming to Kahndaq to stop Black Adam rather than to save the oppressed people. I thought they did a great job of differentiating the look of Black Adam's powers when compared to Shazam's. There seem to be a lot of respect paid to the Black Adam storyline in the 52 comic book series. In the 52 series Black Adam is ruler of Kahndaq, but he  meets Adrianna Tomaz and he falls in love with her. Black Adam shares his powers with her, and the story takes a dark turn from there. I do not think that Adrianna in the film also had the same last name, so I think we will see something develop between her and Black Adam. The twist reveal of Black Adam being Hurut's father was ruined by the marketing for the film which revealed that. The film was designed for us to believe that Black Adam was Hurut, but the marketing made all fall flat. I wonder if I did not know would that reveal have bee more emotional, it is a shame that the marketing for the film revealed something that it did not need to reveal. 

The DCEU has now released 12 films since Man of Steel in 2013, and there are 4 more films planned for release in 2023. Since I did my article ranking the films of the DCEU there have been 4 more films released and the first season of Peacemaker (which was amazing). Black Adam is easily in the top 5 for me, it is a great introduction for a character that has become a lot more interesting since the 52 comic book series. The DCEU is in a state of flux with the new creative team still putting out films created by the old regime. It will be interesting to see how Black Adam fits into the new DCEU, it will take some time for James Gunn to get settled into his new role so I need to be patient. My patience though will be pushed if they drag their feet on getting Black Adam worked into future projects, I don't think he will appear in a significant way in 2023, but hopefully by 2024 we will see more of him. The movie did a great job of making Black Adam feel very powerful, but also being unpredictable. Black Adam came across as not a typical hero, and that was a good choice to keep the character as someone who rides the line of grey. I was nervous that the film would soften Black Adam and make him more good than bad, but the film did not soften him as much as I was expecting. The film did make him appear more sympathetic, but they used his past as a key part of who he is now. This version of Black Adam has the rage he does because of his losses, but those losses keep his rage in check as he knows he doesn't want hurt any innocents. 

Black Adam is a massive success for me, maybe because my expectations were so low, but I really enjoyed the movie. I am going to give Black Adam an 8/10 because I thought the film delivered a thrilling story that never slowed down. I will not hold the film accountable for the marketing fumble of giving away the Hurut storyline away, and based on the DC films released so far it deserves an 8/10. The villains of the film were a bit of a disappointment, but Black Adam served dual roles as he was a bit of a villain during the fight with the Justice Society. I have not mentioned it until now, but I thought Dr. Fate and Hawkman were excellent too with those two characters stealing the movie at times. Pierce Brosnan really stood out as Dr. Fate; he gave the character a presence that made his scenes all feel essential. Aldis Hodge has to appear again, and I have no clue where or when, but he made Hawkman his own. While I did not have strong feelings about Atom Smasher, I did enjoy Cyclone as I thought Quintessa Swindell was a lot of fun. The Rock has already said we will see Dr. Fate again, but I wonder if we will see Pierce Brosnan again as Kent Nelson. Black Adam felt like its own thing, and while it did have ties to the DCEU it was focused on introducing Black Adam and the Justice Society over anything else. Black Adam is a very fun film that has some truly spectacular action, and it feels like DC films are back after being over a year since The Suicide Squad came out. 

Thank you for reading my spoiler review of Black Adam, and please share your thoughts on the film too.  

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