Onto the next release of the weekend and I just finished watching the new English film Black Adam in a theatre near me. Everytime there is a new superhero in town, be it Marvel or DC, people are excited. And this time, the concept of a superhero was turned on its head with DC introducing its first Anti-hero(no not the villain) in the form of Black Adam. Its trailer seemed promising but what did become a talking point of the film just after its release of its Rotten Tomato score of 44%. As usual the audience was split with the film being given either the highest ratings by DC fans or being called out for being poor(of the anti-DC fans). I decided to go into the film with a clean slate. So then is Black Adam worth your time, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Black Adam is the origin story Of the anti-hero Teth Adam who becomes an unlikely protector of the land of Kahndaq. Now I haven’t read the DC comics for this character but the story on paper did seem like an interesting concept as it involved an anti-hero, a far cry from the regular superheroes doing the rounds. But the screenplay never rises above its writing material. Standing at a shade above 2 hours, it makes for a compelling viewing but it could have been better nevertheless.
The drama gets off to a flyer with an interesting story dated back to the first rulers on earth wherein a radioactive mineral sets off a thrilling chain of events. The proceedings did have a right mix of mythology and thrill that made for a compelling viewing. The stage was set perfectly for the introduction of the anti-hero who also makes a heroic entry in the same city that was plagued with outsiders who were controlling it. So far so good!
The issue starts to creep in soon after and it has little to do with the screenplay as a whole, as much as it is related with the characters. A reason why Marvel has fans worldwide is because it has setup origin stories of almost all the characters through its various films. To give you a perspective, Iron Man had almost 3 films of his own before Infinity War wherein his character finally dies. Now because the audience has been on a journey with him through his previous films, they are automatically connected to the character. But here, the introduction of the justice society does not stir a similar impact(even when one if them dies towards the end) with the makers relying on the audience to have read the comics for them to be invested in them here which would never result in the same kind of impact.
Another small flaw being that the drama here lacks layers. Almost the entire drama unfols superficially on the first layer which doesn’t result in the kind of impact which a film like this was expected to be. Having said that, the drama is consistently watchable primarily because there is something happening onscreen all along. This guarantees that it does not have many dull moments although the “high” in the screenplay is missing. Also the humour is subtle and definitely contributes well in the screenplay.
The events leading up to the final act are good but the final act in itself seemed one dimensional and underwhelming. This had got to do with the sketchy portrayal of the antagonist that never created that sense of fear. Having said that, the mid credits scene was one of the best that I have seen in a very long time and that has promised a bright future to this franchise and the DC universe, much to the delight if its fans(it was met with hooting and cheering by the capacity crowd). So overall, the screenplay is decently penned but it could have been a lot better.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are well written and make for a fun viewing experience. The music and BGM go well with the drama. The cinematography and VFX are top notch but the action sequences have excessive slow-mos that just take some shine off them. Director Jaume Collet-Serra has done a decent job here. There are moments which are engaging but at times the grip in the narrative is missing as well.
The performances are really good here. Noah Centineo as Atom and Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone are decent but majorly wasted. Sarah Shahi and Bodhi Sabongui are both pretty good. Pierce Brosnan as Kent is pretty well restrained. Aldis Hodge as Hawkman is excellent and thoroughly enjoyable. Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam fits the bill perfectly as far as his character is concerned. He looks the part, excels in combat sequences and overall does a good job.
Black Adam is a decent superhero(or anti-hero) origin film which is neither too good nor too bad, somewhere in the middle. Available in a theatre near you.