Nearly 5,000 years after he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the Egyptian gods—and imprisoned just as quickly—Black Adam is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.
I prefer the 2022 DC Extended Universe entry, Black Adam, to the two most recent Marvel films. Like its titular antihero, played by Dwayne Johnson, this movie plows forward with such gleefully destructive chutzpah that I have to tip my hat.
I knew absolutely nothing about the Black Adam comic book character or most of the other super beings, played by the likes of Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Noah Centineo, and Quintessa Swindell, that populate this screen story before I walked into the theater. The script extends no special favors to viewers like me, instead throwing us into the fray with a minimum of exposition. The end result, which is akin to starting my first day at a new job where I know none of my co-workers, but they have all known one another for years, was frustrating at first glance, but I quickly settled into the groove. Since director Jaume Collet-Serra, who also helmed House of Wax, Orphan, The Shallows, and Jungle Cruise, has a knack for establishing an audience rapport with thinly-sketched characters by focusing more on mayhem than on dramatics, I was ushered into this fictional world with surprising ease once I surrendered to its sensory overload.
I love the foreboding visuals of Black Adam hovering in mid-air above entire armies before he wreaks havoc on soldiers or other superheroes. The origin story is derivative and the computer-generated effects are not state-of-the-art, but the setup benefits from Johnson’s ability to maintain an intimidating glare towards foes while also exuding a self-deprecating humor.
Although Sam Raimi directed one of the recent Marvel films, this DC offering is the one that reminds me the most of his 1992 cult classic, Army of Darkness. There is a somewhat serious subtext about world politics and the inclination to quell rightful uprisings for the sake of overall stability, but the plot is so endearingly rambunctious that one can simply focus on the explosions without worry of being inundated with messages. If, like me, you enjoy watching things blow up, then you are in the right place.
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