Being the most derivative production of an inherently derivative franchise of a derivative genre is the sole superlative achieved by Jaume Collet-Serra’s first entry in the superhero business. Or in this case: super villain, since one of the few draws of the lesser known title character is his status as amoral arch antagonist of Superman. But DC’s pet protector (more lame in-jokes await those who watched DC League of Super Pets) is still too posh for, as he is called most of the time, Teth Adam (Dwayne Johnson) whose backstory is related in an equally cheap and campy looking prologue.
After the gods turned him into a bulked-up version of Gorr the God Butcher to free the people of the fictional middle-eastern country Kahndaq from a slightly less queer-coded version of 300’s Xerxes, the former slave turned to vengeance instead. After 5,000 years of imprisonment, he is freed by second-rate Lara Croft Adrianna (Sarah Shani) whose skateboarding son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui) – a soulless stock character like all supporting cast – sees in him one of his comic book superheroes. Which, of course, he is despite his massive body count. At least in this lazily written story.
For writer trio Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani, it doesn’t take more than a kid’s hopeful eyes and reasoning from his mother to convert him. Any modest psychological potential is thoroughly eliminated, as is that for political commentary. By pointing out the privilege and hypocrisy of the Justice Society of America, an Avengers stand-in led by Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Pierce Brosnan’s Doctor Strange rip-off Doctor Fate sent to stop Black Adam, the predictable plot could rise above overblown CGI action and flat jokes. But it rather opts for being the most Dwayne-Johnsonian movie ever.
- OT: Black Adam
- Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
- Screenplay: Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani
- Country: USA
- Year: 2022
- Running Time: 124 min.
- Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Shahi, Viola Davis, Pierce Brosnan, Noah Centineo, Aldis Hodge, Quintessa Swindell, Odelya Halevi, Angel Rosario Jr., Joseph Gatt, Natalie Burn, Marwan Kenzari, Mo Amer, Uli Latukefu, Patrick Sabongui, James Cusati-Moyer, Bodhi Sabongui
- Release date: 20.10.2022
- Image © Warner Bros.