Black Adam - As Bad as the Critics Say?

By Julia Laszakozis

Black Adam, the newest DC installment, tells the story of an ancient champion of the fictional North African kingdom of Kandaq, which rose under a tyrannical king. Thousands of years later, Kahndaq is still under foreign rule, this time by imperial forces. Resident Professor Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) and her son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui) search for a way to stop the imperial forces and, in their journey, free the champion Black Adam from his tomb. With almost unstoppable power, Black Adam soon garners the attention of the Justice League (including Hawkman, Doctor Fate, and Cyclone), who do not approve of his killing as a means of justice. Despite their differences, they are forced to work together in order to defeat a greater threat. Like many other recent superhero films, this movie is fine. DC fans will enjoy it, as will action lovers. The plot makes sense, and there are no egregious distractions from the movie’s purpose. Yet, Black Adam received overwhelmingly negative critic reviews. Why is it that critics find this movie so bad, especially considering the mostly positive audience reviews? One of the biggest themes within Black Adam is the relationship between what is morally right and wrong. What constitutes a hero? This is a refreshing take on the normally black and white morality of most superhero movies. Despite this intention, the film fails to provides a new perspective on the issue. The movie attempts to address the topic of imperialism within Kahndaq. Though this country is fictional, its situation makes it easy to draw ties to current and past imperialism in North Africa and the Middle East. The movie suffers due to its unwillingness to make a controversial claim about this topic, perhaps because the studio was afraid that could lead to loss of viewership. The performances in the movies are nothing memorable. Johnson played his typical character, a burly, muscular hero who saves the day. However, that may be the biggest fault with his performance. The movie is about an anti-hero. The audience isn’t supposed to know if they support him or not. However, Johnson’s presence is overwhelmingly positive. The audience is used to knowing exactly how they feel towards Johnson’s characters, making it difficult to look at the movie from a different lens. The only notable performance was that of Mohammed Amir, who served as the film’s comic relief in his portrayal of Adrianna’s electrician brother. Like many other aspects of the movie, the soundtrack is average. Music Supervisor Lorne Balfe seems to be taking cues from Marvel as some classic rock is incorporated into the film. This music enhances the scenes into which it is incorporated, but it is used very sparingly throughout the film and so feels slightly jarring. Despite receiving negative attention from critics, Black Adam has found great mainstream success. It grossed $67 million in its opening weekend, the highest of Johnson’s career. Fans of superheroes and heartfelt family moments will enjoy this film. The action sequences within the film are entertaining and well made. While it didn’t live up to what it could have been, audiences’ opinions show that it is a fun movie that many people find worth watching.

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