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  • Benjamin Vance

Black Adam: Heroism Painted Black


Sadie Cox shows her enthusiasm before seeing the newest superhero film. Photo by Gino Botta.

DC Universe’s newest movie, “Black Adam,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has hit theaters, furthering the franchise’s cinematic universe. Scoring a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, fans have been less than impressed with the project.

The movie is the story of the origin of Black Adam, a villain in DC with amazing powers including super strength, flying, lighting manipulation, and super speed. It shows his life back in the ancient civilization Kahndaq, and how he was initially chosen by the same sorcerer who transformed the teenage Billy Batson into the red-spandex-wearing capester Shazam in a previous DC movie.

The plot then shifts to modern day Kahndaq, following a family who ultimately summons Black Adam to protect them and their country. Black Adam shows up and immediately starts zapping and killing the bad guys, proclaiming himself as not only the champion of Kahndaq, but as its protector.

This caught the eye of The Justice Society of America, as they saw Black Adam killing people rather than going the due process and justice route superheroes traditionally take. This got some new superheroes involved, introducing new characters into the DC cinematic universe, such as Doctor Fate, Hawkman, Adam Smasher, and Cyclone. The movie juggles conflict between Black Adam and the Justice Society of America and conflict between Kahndaq and the invading bad guys.

The overall point to the film is to advocate for the “anti-hero” approach, rather than the boy scout always doing the right thing approach traditionally seen by superheroes. “There are only heroes and villains,” says Hawkman, a character who, despite Hodge’s solid performance, is very naive to the whole “good vs. bad” take on the world. This way, the movie can remake the same point again. “The world doesn’t need a white knight; sometimes it needs something darker,” Doctor Fate says, presenting the film’s thesis.

Overall, the movie sets DC up for a ton of future movies. Black Adam’s character is the counterpart to Shazam, a hero we have already seen in DC. It also brings in those new superheroes that will most likely be in future movies, such as the Justice Society of America (not to be confused with The Justice League of America).

There are many other references to characters like Superman. This is very exciting to the fanbase because Black Adam go hand to hand in the comics, both being extremely powerful beings. Although the movie itself did not measure up to many expectations, it continues build-up in this franchise for the future movies.