Saturday, October 22, 2022

Black Adam


In ancient times, the kingdom of Kahndaq suffered from the tyrannical rule of King Ahk-Ton (Marwan Kenzari). His reign of terror ends when a young kid is chosen by a council of gods and bestowed the superpowers of Shazam. Teth-Adam (Dwayne Johnson) disappears quickly after he ends the monarchy. Centuries later, the people of the modern nation of Kahndaq are still suffering, this time from a group called Intergang. Resistance fighter Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) searches for the Crown of Sabbac and finds it. She unwittingly summons Teth-Adam from his centuries worth of hiatus as she reads the inscription on the crown aloud. Her son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui) immediately befriends him and treats him as a hero, despite the guy believing otherwise. Meanwhile, the emergence of a superpowered being alerts Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), who sends the Justice Society of America composed of Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and sorcerer Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan) to take him down.

I guess what made me like this film is the breath of fresh air it brings. We are not talking about the way the storyline is crafted or what the themes are because this is just another one of those origin stories following a template. What we mean by breath of fresh air is the introduction of a new character that is not attached to the original DCEU Justice League. After all, DC has the tendency to milk the same popular characters over and over again. Seeing a newcomer who identifies more as an anti-hero is simply refreshing.

Another thing to celebrate are the special effects. With the slew of mishaps coming from some MCU films this year as far as CGI is concerned, Black Adam really stepped up to the plate and gave us a visual treat, especially with those scenes involving Doctor Fate. These sorcerers are always just a delight to watch in action. The imagery that they bring to the table never fails to amaze. Hawkman is also a worthy addition to the roster. Cyclone and Atom Smasher, on the contrary, feel like they are just there for the obligatory teenybopper romance angle.

As for the plot development, I admire the twist that they threw in there. To be honest, as a pedestrian viewer unfamiliar with the character’s comic lore, I didn’t see that coming. It explains why Black Adam is the anti-hero that he is. Whether he becomes part of the DCEU in the long run is anybody’s guess but if ever he does end up there with the other heroes, then we are already looking forward to the dynamics that will emerge given Teth-Adam’s ambiguous moral compass. Hey, we need someone who can go toe to toe with Clark Kent, you know.

Speaking of Clark Kent, everyone in the cinema cheered when Henry Cavill showed up in the end credits. This should have been his second excursion in the Shazam post-credits domain had WB only allowed him to actually appear in the epilogue of Shazam instead of opting for that half-body shot. The good thing about this is that Superman fans can now rejoice because it looks like Cavill’s caped crusader is here to stay. With the recent shake-up in the echelons of the WB’s upper management, we can probably hope for the best.

All in all, this is a decent DC offering with a lot of crossover potential with their other heroes. Personally, I’d love to see him face off with Shazam himself. Toss in Superman into the mix as well and we will definitely have one hell of a good time. Let’s hope that WB does not screw this opportunity up like they always seem to do. They have a promising installment here.

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