Dwayne Johnson-starrer Black Adam, which released in theatres across India on October 20, is a much-needed Diwali blast for the fans of superhero films. Here’s what we loved about the film.
A spin-off to the popular DC movie Shazam! (2019), Black Adam is set in the fictional city of Kahndaq, somewhere in the Middle East.
Kahndaq is home to a rare and precious metal, Eternium, which has the magical quality of rendering superpowers. When despotic king Anh-Kot oppresses people to mine for the precious metal, it gives rise to a rebellion and leads to the reincarnation of Teth Adam — the all-powerful and ruthless antihero played by Johnson.
The rise of a new hero: Teth Adam
Before Anh-Kot can lay his hands on the Crown of Sabbac — made with the magical metal Eternium — a slave boy rises in rebellion from among the subjects. The boy mysteriously disappears during his execution and is bestowed with magical powers by wizards. Five thousand years later, Kahndaq is now under the control of an international terrorist organisation.
A university professor, Adrianna (Sarah Shahi), is among the rebels who want freedom for their land. She wakes up Teth Adam (Dwayne Johnson) from his grave to prevent Anh-Kot’s Crown of Sabbac from falling in wrong hands.
All hell breaks loose as a team of The Justice Society of America (JSA), led by Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), is called to take Adam into custody. What follows is a display of DC’s latest superhero’s karizma, wit and strength.
In a departure from DC’s usual movie formula, Black Adam offers a complete package for movie-goers. There’s action, adventure and comedy. The tonality of the film is quite bright, compared to the previous DCEU films. Traditionally, DCEU movies have been dark in their themes, with a little dry humour.
Black Adam breaks away from it and incorporates tongue-in-cheek humour in the dialogues. Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher often ends up as the schmuck teenager, trying hard to fit into the shoes of his grandfather. Hawkman and Teth Adam have their fair share of funny exchanges, laced with sarcasm and wit.
Fighting the evil within
Black Adam opens with a dialogue on what constitutes justice. Teth Adam’s version of justice was influenced by his traumatic experience as a slave in ancient Kahndaq. He uses his newfound power to wipe out the entire city, thus turning into an antihero.
However, guided by Doctor Fate’s wisdom, Teth Adam is able to channelise his rage and use it to wipe out those who want to destroy the earth. The film also reminds us that history is always written by the victors, and the real truth lies somewhere between the many versions of the past.
The Rock’s Teth Adam is a magnetic antihero
Dwayne Johnson’s energetic and charismatic portrayal of an antihero heralds a new dawn for DCEU films. You cannot take your eyes off The Rock, no matter what he’s doing. From the word go, The Rock dazzles by flexing his muscles, as he takes on the bad guys. He has few dialogues, but when he speaks he has you in splits. There’s little in terms of story that Black Adam has to offer. The creators make up for the loss with the larger-than-life presence of the wrestler-turned-actor.
The Justice Society shines
Aldis Hodge and Pierce Brosnan shine as Hawkman and Doctor Fate, respectively. They have some of the most sharp and witty dialogues, which make their characters entertaining and fun. The duo act as the moral fibre of the group as Teth Adam deals with his guilt and rage. Their electrifying performance in the climax is also very effective and moving. Hodge’s banters with Teth Adam are also immensely entertaining.
Noah Centineo and Quintessa Swindell are charming additions to the team, with very little to offer. Marwan Kenzari is a letdown as Ishmael fails to live upto the standards set by DC villains. He is just a warlord seeking revenge for historical wrongs committed against his family, and is not menacing enough.
Black Adam is a visual delight
Black Adam is an entertaining movie that keeps you on the edge of your seats throughout with spectacular action sequences. The stunning visual effects are an added bonus. There are state-of-the-art airships, superheroes wearing dazzling outfits and buildings blow up now and often. The majestic climax will give you an adrenaline rush as Doctor Fate battles it out with Ishmael. Lawrence Sher's cinematography is well supported by John Lee and Michael L. Sell’s editing. Lorne Balfe's score is the icing on the cake.
P.S. The mid-credits scene in the movie is the real scene-stealer. Wink, wink.