Rock-y Reception: “Black Adam” Hits Theaters

The most recent addition in the DC Comics’ Cinematic Universe, “Black Adam”, made its debut Friday, Oct. 21, receiving a flood of overwhelmingly mixed reviews. 

Dwayne “The Rock ” Johnson took up the jobs of both lead actor and a producer of the super hero film. “Black Adam” is a spinoff of the 2019 movie “Shazam!”, with both characters receiving powers from the Wizard Shazam. Unlike the staunchly positive reviews received by its predecessor, reception of “Black Adam” has been much more rocky.

“The question that ‘Black Adam’ poses is a simple one: What happens when Hollywood’s most risk-averse movie star collides with Hollywood’s most risk-averse movie genre?” film critic David Ehrlich wrote in IndieWire. “Exactly what you’d expect. Only worse.”

However, the quality of the movie is up for debate, as opinions vary drastically. It scored only 40% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes while the audience score greatly surpassed that at 90%. It’s clear that, despite the poor reviews, some people found the film as a refreshing installment in a popular genre. 

“‘Black Adam’ has a distinct and dynamic visual style and tone that distinguishes itself against the Marvel ‘house style’ we’ve become accustomed to over many, many phases of superhero flicks, which have devolved into a depressing digital sludge offset by an onslaught of cutesy, quippy dialogue,” film critic Katie Walsh wrote in the Los Angeles Times.

Exactly what you’d expect. Only worse.”

— David Ehrlich

What some viewers praise as a dynamic pace and high energy storytelling, others see as an attempt to do too much too quickly, resulting in the audience lacking key information to truly enjoy the movie.

“Should you not have entire multi character histories at your beck and call, you may find yourself lost in the worldbuilding wilderness, wondering how so much of this fits together, who’s capable of doing what, why certain sacrifices matter, and why you should care about these peripheral, yet supposedly important characters that take up so much screen time,” Senior editor and film critic David Fear wrote in Rolling Stone.

This is, once again, all up to a matter of opinion, as what one person criticizes the film for, others may praise. For many, the fast pace and quick edits improved the delivery of the film rather than took away from it.

“The visual spectacle just keeps coming at you for two hours, and the effects are all so stupendous that you could begin to take it for granted,” film critic Todd McCarthy wrote on Deadline. “Practically every shot features something epic.”

No matter what opinions on the movie are, the Rock and his part in “Black Adam” seem to be here to stay. Despite no confirmation from Warner Bros. or DC Comics, producers Beau Flynn and Hiram Garcia have promised a sequel for the movie.

“We always hope the first domino’s the easy one,” Garcia said in his interview with  ¨We’ll get cooking on [a sequel] fast, that’s for sure.”