Black Adam battles demons, critics amidst massive opening

Black Adam has been one of DCs most complex characters, being portrayed as both supervillain and hero depending on the comic. Led by Dwayne Johnson, the character made its live-action debut in the DC Extended Universes Black Adam on Oct. 21.

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Black Adam has been one of DC’s most complex characters, being portrayed as both supervillain and hero depending on the comic. Led by Dwayne Johnson, the character made its live-action debut in the DC Extended Universe’s “Black Adam” on Oct. 21.

Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) certainly can, as Hollywood darling Dwayne Johnson leads the live-action iteration of “Black Adam” to box office brilliance. Released on Oct. 21, “Black Adam” is the perfect movie to enjoy this fall with a Slushy and a bucket of buttery popcorn.

Prepare to mindlessly enjoy the sights and sounds as Teth Adams (Dwayne Johnson) wards off enemies in the fictional North African country Kahndaq. After being dormant for 5000 years, ancient folk hero Teth Adams awakes in a foreign world and is tasked with protecting “The Crown of Sabbac,” an ancient, demonic relic. After befriending a local woman named Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) and her son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui), Teth finds himself in the crosshairs of local militias as well as The Justice Society, a newly formed group of popular comic heroes. The Justice Society adds many new faces to the DCEU, such as Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell).

Black Adam is one of the earliest superhero comic characters, debuting in 1945 in a Fawcett Comic titled “The Marvel Family #1.” In fact, before Marvel would become its own company, hero Captain Marvel and villain Black Adam were longtime rivals. Teth’s story would later be reprinted into DC’s “Shazam! #8 (1973).” From the earliest iterations of his character, Teth is depicted as the antagonist. It is only in relatively more recent DC issues that he is portrayed differently. This switch occurs in the comic, “Justice Society of America #21 (2008).” In the new film, the DCEU tests the limits of your typical graphic-emitting PG-13 superhero movie, focusing instead on Teth’s brutal and cut-throat methods of justice.

Raking in roughly $70 million domestically according to ScreenRant, “Black Adam” boasts the biggest opening weekend since July’s “Thor: Love And Thunder” and the most lucrative opening ever for a Dwayne Johnson headlined movie. Its capital success is more than welcome given the enormous $200 million budget and the spotty success of similar films from the studio.

“[It’s] a fun movie but there was a lot of foreshadowing that kind of gave away the end. I liked Black Adam himself. He was cool,” junior Simon Lifshitz said.

So far, public reception is split. Contrasting a putrid 39% Rotten Tomato critic score with 90% from the audience, “Black Adam” displays the differing palates between general viewers and professional evaluators. Whereas critics observed faults in nuance, plot integrity and character development, many viewers were enamored with the well-executed action, surprising cameos and the DCEU implications imposed by the powerful new anti-hero. Those seeking an enlightening story or Academy-worthy acting performances will be sorely disappointed, as “Black Adam” wrestles with bland, half-flushed characters, who are essentially non-existent when not directly in the scene.

Black Adam is yet another failure from the DC Extended Universe. The Rock’s performance was nothing more than subpar and there are a lot of plot points that do not land all that well.

— Kiki Gazit

It’s far from a flawless film. However, for The Rock, merely playing the powerful character was worthy of celebration. For years, Johnson has been working to play the iconic character with rumors of his potential casting swirling about since 2007.

“15 hard years of fighting to make this passion project a reality… A slave, yet blessed with the powers of Superman—Teth Adam is full of rage because his family was ripped away from him. Gone forever… [Teth Adams] is a hero of color. That mattered to me then. As it matters to me now,” Johnson said via Instagram.