After using his powers for vengeance, the mortal slave Teth-Adam was imprisoned by the gods and trapped for centuries, becoming Black Adam. Nearly 5,000 years later, Black Adam is freed and finds his unique form of justice challenged by the Justice Society of America (JSA).
If you’re familiar with the kind of blockbusters Dwayne Johnson is often a part of, this is no different — an action movie that tries to be as crowd pleasing as possible with as little brain energy as possible. And it’s very middle-of-the-road for his filmography — it’s not as fun as the Jumanji or Fast & Furious films but not as embarrassingly bad as Skyscraper or Baywatch, so right there in the middle with forgettable spectacle like San Andreas, Red Notice and Jungle Cruise. Johnson delivers a solid performance as Black Adam, whose humor this time around comes more from Adam’s “fish out of water” aspect. However, his character’s actual development in order to justify him turning into a more rageful anti-hero is pretty uninteresting and it says a lot that all four members of the Justice Society have no backstory or arc but are far more interesting than him. Aldis Hodge shows off his badassery as Hawkman, going toe-to-toe with Johnson and even managing to steal the show from him, along with Pierce Brosnan, who is also great as Doctor Fate, whose powers and presence are intriguing. Noah Centineo and Quintessa Swindell are also entertaining as the other two members of the JSA. Unfortunately, the movie is brought down by a bloated conflict, weak CGI and a script you’ve seen a thousand times before. The rapid editing of action scenes takes away lots of the grandiose, even when Black Adam fighting the JSA starts off fun. By the third act, it descends completely into a forced “good guy vs bad guy” CGI-fest of action that feels pulled straight out of Justice League. Though the style manages to occasionally have fun, it’s got too many elements working against it, whether it be the editing, Marwan Kenzari’s awful character, the lack of thematic clarity, or a willingness to take itself less seriously than it should.
Black Adam serves loud noise and huge action scenes — exactly what The Rock is known for — but unfortunately nothing more. The solid supporting cast and occasionally entertaining action and scale isn’t enough to save this movie from descending into generic chaos.