Black Adam

Despite its promise, Black Adam has not lived up to the hype.


Photo by Brechtbug (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

There were many promotional materials ahead of Black Adam’s release.

In today’s streaming world, movies have become less of an event and more of a Friday-night-fun-time staple. With the hunger for action movies only growing, it is up to media companies to appease the gaping maws of film consumers. This has led to high-budget, low-quality movies that exist only to be consumed once and forgotten. Success for these movies is mainly determined by whether or not they feature a celebrity. Black Adam, an October 2022 movie, displays that even when someone as famous as Dwayne Johnson plays the lead, movies still depend on the quality of their production. With an unintelligible plot, uninteresting characters, and no apparent meaning, Black Adam flopped at the superhero standard like Aquaman out of water.

Arguably the most important part of any chronicle, the story provides a foundation on which a film, book, or performance can be built to the sky, bringing its actors to stardom with it. Accomplished plot writers will produce well-paced, original tales that captivate the audience, making for a memorable experience. Unfortunately for Black Adam, their super writer must have flown away, leaving his novice sidekick behind to save the day. Black Adam had a forgettable exposition that poorly mimicked the introductions of other superhero flicks. Its storyline was substandard as well, containing only the ancient superhero meeting the wannabe kid plot as its main feature. While this unearthed superhuman was out kicking bad-guy butt, he left no room for character progression and ate up all the time overpowering minions who posed no threat to him. While there was an evident problem for the heroes to solve, it lacked a real challenge for Black Adam, who simply steamrolled nearly all foes. Although the story was botched, Black Adam could still seek redemption in its modern-era visuals.

As greenscreen technology and cameras improve, the lines between live shots and computer-made graphics are beginning to blur. Black Adam provides a blast to the past, however, with its bullet CGI. Reminiscent of the decade-old Breaking Bad, yellow-orange flashes with spiky edges constituted the firearm editing in this action movie. While scenes were far from stunning, they were sufficient to at least appear similar to a millennia-old city. It is important to blend these scenes with the characters and their interactions with the environment. However, Black Adam seemed to bypass this rule, by simply dragging the hero through the air. With no altitude change whatsoever, Black Adam possesses the one superpower no other hero can obtain: bad editing. 

Despite being known as Black Adam by the audience, this is actually a misnomer. He was called Teth Adam for the entire movie, and the words “Black Adam” were never uttered, or even implied, in the movie at all, except at the very end when it is left to the viewer to finish the script. The only time the line “Black Adam” is said is during the post-credit scene. While this would typically be a minor inconvenience in a regular movie, this facet just compounded with the rest and left a sour taste in the mouth.

It’s not hard to find the final verdict for Black Adam. From the underdeveloped plot, retrostyled graphics, and the rotten cherry on top that is the title, Black Adam proves that the success of a movie is really determined by the quality, not by the star.