Sweet sorrow.

Watching Black Adam almost feels like an effort in futility, given the recent and ongoing shake ups in the DC Extended Universe. It’s almost disappointing that this film was clearly leading up to a fight between The Rock and Henry Cavill in some future movie, only to reveal that neither actor is actually going to be in the DC Extended Universe going forward. Sure we might have a fight between A Black Adam and A Superman at some point, but if it’s not this duo then what is even the point?

Despite my ongoing boycott of the movie theaters, Black Adam is a film I’ve been looking forward to seeing. While I have virtually no enthusiasm left for cape shit movies, I have to say DC has been elevating my expectations far higher than Marvel over the last couple of years. Sure we get flops like Birds of Prey, but The Suicide Squad was fantastic as was the sequel Peacemaker season, and I did enjoy Shazam and Aquaman when I saw them. The less said about Wonder Woman 84 the better.

Black Adam stars Rock “The Dwayne” Johnson as Black Adam, also known as Teth-Adam. Teth-Adam was a slave in ancient Kahndaq who is bestowed the power of the Gods by the wizards from Shazam, and is sealed away for centuries where he gets a case of the sleepies. Modern day Khandaq is controlled by a military outfit known as Intergang who do gang stuff and harass the locals and make things suck. Sarah Shahi plays Adrianna, professional mother and resistance fighter, who brings Black Adam back from the dead to help liberate Kahndaq. Her son is here too, played by Bodhi Sabongui. He plays the typical DC kid whose job is to point out how cool super heroes are.

Being an entity of legend, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) knows everything about Black Adam and is already geared up to send a team of super heroes out to bring him into custody. For this job she sends Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo). Can the Justice Society bring Black Adam to justice and still make it home in time for James Gunn to fire them all? Will the unlikely pair of hero and villain team up to beat the bigger baddy? Can Dwayne The Rock Johnson learn compassion before he too is fired by James Gunn? Sure. It’s a super hero movie.

I came out of Black Adam thinking one thing; soup and croissant was a horrible idea for a movie snack. Otherwise I can’t say I hated this movie. I wouldn’t highly recommend it, but it was the closest I’ll get to calling it enjoyable without actually particularly enjoying the movie. It kept my attention on life support long enough to get through the whole two hour movie without making it feel much like a two hour movie. Kudos to director Jaume Collet-Serra for somehow managing to make The Rock kinda boring.

I enjoyed the visuals of the movie. DCEU films from Aquaman onward have been nice on the eyes for me, and I’m not just talking about Pierce Brosnan. Where Marvel movies tend to look like over-manufactured CG on a cheap green screen background, DC films feel like you’re actually in a place a lot of the time, albeit one where reality operates at an exaggerated level. It feels like if you translated the comic book world into the real world. Things aren’t grounded, but it’s kind of exactly the way I would want them to be.

The biggest mistake in my opinion is creating a film centered around Black Adam as the protagonist of sorts, because the character is clearly not thick enough to stretch out a whole movie. Please stop sending me photo’s of The Rock’s butt cheeks. Black Adam feels like a character that would have been best introduced as a villain in another heroes’ arc, like perhaps the next Shazam movie for instance (where it would make sense) instead of trying to pull together this story about demons and wizards and shoe-horning in every trope of “you’ve been sleeping for 5,000 years, things have changed very much in your absence” as The Rock asks if Grubhub is actually a service that sells grubs. This joke doesn’t appear in the film, but the spirit is there.

It’s also disappointing because a lot of what Black Adam rolled up to was potential, and watching this movie in the end of 2022 when The Rock announced that there are no plans for his character, that Henry Cavill is out as Superman, Ezra Miller is out there grooming children in his cult and getting into fights at bars in Hawaii, and the entirety of the DCEU seems to be getting ready for a big reset, Black Adam loses much of its value to watch. It’s like watching a show knowing it’s being cancelled before the season ends.

Rating: C+