Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … Black Adam?
Introducing DC comics latest crime combatant, Black Adam. His superhero traits are similar to Superman’s (flying, ultra-strength, etc.), but there are key differences. One has a pleasant personality and values human lives, and the other, an angry malcontent, doesn’t give a flying leap. One was born on Krypton and grew up on earth, which many moviegoers already know. However, less is known about the enigmatic bad boy. Hence this origin ﬁlm, which needs to establish Black Adam’s beginnings, why he’s so embittered and how he ﬁts into the world, or at least the DC comics universe.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has shepherded this project, his lovechild, for decades. Bringing the story of DC’s brown-skinned superhero to fruition is a major achievement and the movie star has earned his props – even if this act/fan/sci-ﬁ is less than perfect. He was born to play Black Adam, every role in his past builds up to this persona and it’s a crown he was destined to wear.
Screenwriters Adam Sztykiel (“Rampage”), Rory Haines (“The Mauritanian”) and Sohrab Noshirvani (“Informer”) don’t have a successful superhero movie in their spotty ﬁlmographies. Yet, they were tasked with developing characters, storylines, dialogue and major plot points for a comic book anti-hero who was conceived back in 1945 and swathed in Middle Eastern culture. Former music video and commercial director turned ﬁlmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra, who worked with Johnson on “Jungle Cruise” (a dubious achievement at best), helms this venture, which might explain the emphasis on movement and flow and less weight on mindblowing special effects.
The ancient city and now bustling metropolis of Kahndaq lives under tyranny. It’s citizens long for their freedom. Through a mishap in an ancient tomb, archeologist Adrianna (Sarah Shahi, “The Rookie”) unleashes Teth Adam (Johnson), a powerful being who’d been imprisoned for 5000 years. Angry and looking for vengeance against millenniums-old adversaries, he is on a tear: “I was a slave before I died. I yield to no one.” The Justice Society (the very ﬁrst superhero team, which was created back in DC comics in 1940), a squad of modern-day heroes, is determined to catch and detain the angry rebel.