Black Adam is the latest DC Comics property to get the lavish big screen treatment. It is also a spin-off of 2019's wildly entertaining Shazam!.
Black Adam opens in ancient Kahndaq, and Teth-Adam (Dwayne Johnson) is bequeathed the powers of Shazam by the Council of Wizards which he then uses for vengeance. Because he gets out of control with his mighty powers, Teth-Adam is encased in a prison tomb. Cut to the oppressed present day Kahndaq. Just about everyone-bad and good-are searching for the powerful Crown of Sabbac. Archaeologist Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) does find the crown, but is pursued by the deadly organized crime syndicate known as the Intergang. Needing help, Adrianna reads an incantation that reawakens Teth-Adam, who basically goes on a killing spree.
The JSA (Justice Society of America) is called in to capture Teth-Adam, a feat that won't be easy. Leading the JSA is Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan), and his crew consist of Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell).
Black Adam had great potential to be an excellent superhero - or anti-hero - movie, but it's so cluttered with action scenes that it's exhausting. If only director Jaume Collet-Serra (Jungle Cruise, Non-Stop, The Shallows) paced the movie better, building up to the action instead of throwing in flashy shots of super punches and blasts of thunderbolts every few minutes. I also wish that the screenplay, credited to Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani, would have taken just a little bit of time to set up and clarify plot points. It seems that the filmmakers didn't have faith that the audience could follow an engaging story and characters.
Still, Black Adam is a lot better than Green Lantern (2011), but what isn't? Admittedly, some of the action scenes in Black Adam are exciting. Occasionally, there is some snappy dialog, and the film's saving grace is that it has a smart sense of humor. I did find it funny just about every time Black Adam would casually and creatively murder henchmen.
Black Adam isn't a total loss. I mean, it is mildly entertaining, but it could have been great.