Black Adam (2022)
October 24, 2022 10:25 AM - Subscribe

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

Also starring Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Quintessa Swindell, Marwan Kenzari, Mo Amer, Bodhi Sabongui, James Cusati-Moyer, Jalon Christian, Djimon Hounsou, Viola Davis, Jennifer Holland, Chaim Jeraffi, Henry Winkler.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. Screenplay by Adam Sztykiel and Rory Haines & Sohrab Noshirvani. Based on characters created by Bill Parker & C.C. Beck.

39% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Now playing in theaters. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (21 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is getting some bad reviews and Twitter is enjoying hating the shit out of this, but... we really enjoyed it?

It's 125 minutes of Dwayne Johnson as a pissed-off Superman, directed by the filmmaker who did the first Orphan. Absolutely nothing in this is surprising or reinvents the wheel, but they sure spin the heck out of the old one.

Fun popcorn movie. Feel like a 1996 superhero movie in terms of story, with 2022-level FX.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:27 AM on October 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

Viola Davis and Jennifer Holland, huh? Some Task Force X/Suicide Squad/Peacemaker crossover?
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:29 AM on October 24, 2022

It turns out Amanda Waller is connected to the Justice Society as well and they have a big part in this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:33 AM on October 24, 2022 [5 favorites]

I kind of want to see it to see Pierce Brosnan do a little scenery-chewing, and I'm always fond of Aldis Hodge, but when the theater ran back to back trailers of this and Black Panther, hoo boy, did this look stiff, pretentious, and dreary by comparison.
posted by praemunire at 11:20 AM on October 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

I can't speak to whether anyone besides me would think this is good, but I can positively swear to you it is 0% pretentious. It's straight up in 1990's commercial action film territory, just a real clear case of "Who cares what happens? Just use the tough-guy-who-needs-to-learn-to-care-about-others trope and hang some cool shit on it for The Rock to do."

There's a real clean case to be made that this is basic, but not pretentious.

Basically, this film is the Commando of superheroes movies: it doesn't have an original bone in its body, but it has a great, game star, and a shameless cheekiness in going right for the cliche, such that you end up watching thinking, "They're going to do the thing? FUCK YES, THEY ARE GOING TO DO THE THING!"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:26 AM on October 24, 2022 [9 favorites]

My son and I saw this last night and were .... entertained.
The Rock is great and the supporting actors were good, the action was fine and actiony, and the story was fine as a sort of anti-Shazam.
We got just as much fun out of laughing at the bleached out palette and poor CG of the opening scene, the dialogue from low-budget Sam Jackson's mash-up of Nick Fury/the Falcon and/Ironman. the hilariously obvious props used on the flight deck of the "Quinn jet", and how uncannily Atom Smasher sounds and looks like young Mark Ruffalo (coincidence???)., and how much they staked on an emotional beat that had too little serious development to be actually deserved.
Props to the filmmakers for such a diverse cast, and for the surprise (to me) third act.
No regrets going, but DC still has a way to go to rival MCU at the box-office.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:28 PM on October 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

Mod note: A few comments deleted. A bit of a derail-y comment leading to a totally fine discussion, just not appropriate or necessary in this movie thread. Let's keep the space clear for folks to discuss what they came to discuss in this Black Adam fanfare post. If you're not digging the current FF selections, feel free to post your own or dig around FF a bit more, there's a lot of variety.
posted by travelingthyme (staff) at 3:03 PM on October 24, 2022 [6 favorites]

God-tier superbeing fucking up bad guys without hesitation nor regret. What's not to love? Was it too anti-colonial for the [target audience]?
posted by whuppy at 12:45 PM on October 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

the writing clunky, the performances stiff, the sfx laughable (the fucking dollar store ripoff " school for the gifted/ xmen plane" launch looked like a 1st yr VFX student project failure! easily the worst vfx i've seen in a film in a decade)

windchick and too-much-adolescence dude were AWFUL.AW. FUL. just painful.

Sarah Shahi was charismatic, while hawkdude was a muppet with a stick in his ass.

piers and dwayne have some nice lines, but are WAY better than this shlock.

this was some weak, weak sauce . easily the worst superhero film i've seen in a long time and that's a low bar.
posted by lalochezia at 8:57 PM on November 16, 2022

I could appreciate what they were trying to do, didn't work. Why waste Aldis Hodge on a straight-man role? (Though at least they managed to save the Hawkman costume from looking ludicrous.) They took two guys normally brimming with charm and just had them scowl and posture at each other.

As predicted, I did enjoy the weird Dr. Fate. Overall, I guess it was less painful than I thought it might be (I was braced to walk out if it got too Alex Ross [close] or too fascist-y [flirted with]).
posted by praemunire at 9:24 PM on November 16, 2022

For all of it's faults, I did like how anti-colonialist/anti-imperialist it was though I wish they had leaned into it more. The mom does call out the imperialist BS that is the Justice Society swooping in on Waller's behest, to Hawkman's face, a few times, but they never respond to it (which I suppose is accurate for how these things play out in the real world).

Hawkman was deeply frustrating, and they gave him far too much of a pass. For example, the hypocrisy should be glaringly obvious near the beginning when Hawkman lectures them about "due process" (for the white PMCs that Black Adam is killing) while his whole objective is to rendition a guy away to a black-site prison without any hint of due process. In the end Hawkman comes around, it seems, entirely because they needed Black Adam to save the day, but with no acknowledgement that anything about their approach was flawed. They never address the central problem with Justice Society being there, namely how is it that an un-accountable, un-elected, American bureaucrat (Waller) and a private group of American vigilantes have final say on what goes on in Kahndaq? To the extent that Kahndaq gets a happy ending, it is because they could not stop Black Adam, no matter how much they tried, but they never seem to grapple with whether should have been trying in the first place.

Also, having Doctor Fate take off his helmet constantly really feels like bad film-making in the post Mandalorian world.
posted by selenized at 10:33 AM on November 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

To the extent that Kahndaq gets a happy ending,

And did they? Did Intergang just say "eh" and move on?
posted by praemunire at 4:07 PM on November 20, 2022

Did Intergang just say "eh" and move on?

There was a whole other movie in there, where Intergang uses their eternium based weapons to take on Black Adam and do some real damage (it's the only thing that seems to hurt him). But unfortunately the writers forgot they wrote them into the movie.
posted by selenized at 9:03 PM on November 20, 2022

Just watched last night. Was reasonably entertained, not great but not awful. As the movie seemed to be winding down and appeared to be setting itself up for a sequel, I was ready for it to be over. And then here they all came again, dragging this bullshit out for another... what? 30 minutes??? And I couldn't even focus on what was happening because I was so mad.

I eventually got up to go pee and my husband was like "you want me to pause it?" and I was like "God no!" and then I sneaked into the other room to paint and I have no idea how it ended nor do I care.

(Review courtesy of ADHD)
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:55 AM on November 26, 2022

Finally saw this, and I think that I made the right call to wait until it dropped onto HBO Max. It does have some interesting things to say about anti-colonialism, and a good plot twist regarding Adam's origins, and Brosnan was especially good. But the big bad was hugely disappointing--if you've ever seen a heavy metal album cover or the airbrushed side of a 70s van, you've seen better--and his zombie minions could literally be defeated by ordinary people with sticks. And it's probably the least favorite of any Dwayne Johnson role that I've seen, although I haven't seen them all. He just looks kind of tired throughout most of it.

Also, given the current fuss about Henry Cavil no longer being a part of the DCEU, it's a bit amusing that his appearance was so minimal; what the movie really needed, but passed up for some reason, was a quickie mid-credits scene of there being a news report about a flying man with a glowing lightning bolt on his chest, and a quick pan to Zachary Levi in the Captain Marvel suit going, "Wait, what?"
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:30 PM on December 18, 2022

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this, but I think it only works as a done-in-one standalone. There isn't enough meat here for a series, and there certainly isn't anything here that warrants reworking the entire Snyderverse as a cosmology with Black Adam at its center -- and if there's anything here that warrants maintaining the Snyderverse at all, it's the 35 seconds of Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, who I hope Gunn can find a way to keep in the new regime.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:05 AM on December 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

I think in a decade it’s going to meld with Doom Patrol for me in having a just-barely-team of super types led by a greybearded ex-Bond.

It was, I thought, decently well-made shlock. I didn’t begrudge my time with it but I suspect I am unlikely ever to return for a second viewing.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:48 PM on December 20, 2022

Was surprised that Aldis Hodge didn't bring much - or as much as I had hoped.

Dwayne Johnson on par.

I felt that Pierce Brosnan elevated this movie beyond his weight class.

Kind of liked the double climaxes. But Hawkman isn't really credible. Although now - I recall having a 10" Hawkman doll when I was a kid (or maybe a knockoff) with a switch on his back that makes his right arm swing whatever is stuck in the fist receptacle.

The writing wasn't great, 'The World is a Vampire' by 'The Smashing Pumpkins' as the opening song felt like a signal for getting dads onboard bringing the film's intended age audience to the theater.

The CG felt far below par. Especially for the finale(s).

Tho' "You can do better than swinging a stick" is something I can super stand behind.
posted by porpoise at 9:54 PM on December 20, 2022

For a movie that’s been in development for fifteen years, you would think they would have had taken the time to try to make the dialog less clunky.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 3:34 AM on December 21, 2022

The scene where they just totally fucked up the family’s apartment fighting kept reminding me of that one dude in Django Unchained that got shot like, a lot. I couldn’t stop laughing by the end of it.
posted by hototogisu at 12:59 AM on December 26, 2022

Neoliberal Ganksquad aside.. it was awesome seeing Dwayne Johnson play a character that is "not a hero but The People's Champion".

I felt something when he cooked those jabronis with the people's lightning and accelerated them to the people's velocity.

And smashing the throne at the end!
posted by yonega at 1:13 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]

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