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Review Roundup for Black Adam

One of the biggest stars in the world is finally getting his long-awaited superhero movie.


Is the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe about to change? Dwayne Johnson seems to think so. His long-awaited superhero film, Black Adam, is nearly here, and then we'll be able to judge for ourselves.

Black Adam, for the DC Universe, is kind of like Marvel's Deadpool--a well-known actor fought for over a decade to get the movie made. We're going to guess that Black Adam talks to the camera less, but it's still noteworthy that Johnson fought so hard and for so long to make what even DC fans would consider a C-tier character in terms of popularity, and even lesser known than pre-Jason Momoa Aquaman. Now, he's about to be one of the best-known, almost overnight, just by Johnson's attachment to the film.

The film serves as Black Adam's origin story, and introduces the Justice Society of America as well. Dwayne Johnson stars as the anti-hero, and is accompanied by Pierce Brosnan, Viola Davis (reprising her role as Amanda waller), Sarah Shahi, Noah Centineo, Aldis Hodge, and Quintessa Swindell.

You can check out a few of the notable review scores below to get an idea of what it'll be like before you go in.

Black Adam

  • Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
  • Written by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani
  • Dwayne Johnson, Viola Davis, Sarah Shahi, Noah Centineo, Aldis Hodge, and Quintessa Swindell
  • Release Date: October 21, 2022


"Black Adam overindulges to the point where it's hard to enjoy the DC anti-hero's debut. It's packed with undeveloped characters and an excessive number of repetitive action scenes, to the point where its half-baked debate on what it means to be a hero is lost in all the noise. Try as it might to capture lightning in a bottle, Black Adam never manages to find its spark." -- Joshua Yehl [Full Review]

The Hollywood Reporter

"Johnson creates a magnetic antihero, volatile and antisocial. He doesn't fly so much as stalk the sky; he swats opponents like the bundles of weightless CG pixels they are. And this passion project serves the character well, setting him up for adventures one hopes will be less predictable than this one." -- John Defore [Full Review]


"The movie is essentially Shane on steroids, set in the Middle East instead of the Old West, but still seen through the eyes of a young boy--Adrianna's comic book-obsessed son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui), in this case--who idolizes a figure of questionable morality. As with Shane, sticking a kid in the middle of the story brings the entire project down to a middle-school-level intellect. And yet, except for the recent Batman movies, that's how most of the DC films feel." -- Peter Debruge [Full Review]


"Black Adam isn't a full-on course correction for the DCEU, but it is an encouraging new installment in this larger universe. Collet-Serra knows how to present this darkness and antihero in a way that's effective, while also fleshing out one of the most promising additions to DC's ever-expanding cadre of characters. Johnson is also a welcome part of this world, and while the DCEU has attempted to bring moral ambiguity to characters like Superman in ways that weren't entirely successful, Black Adam allows DC to play in this darkness with an antihero that doesn't betray their world or characters." -- Ross Bonaime [Full Review]

USA Today

"Black Adam is decent when it comes to world-building--Collet-Serra's depiction of old Kahndaq is a standout, although he could have cut down on the many slow-motion action sequences throughout the film. And it intriguingly goes where other similar flicks haven't by digging into themes of imperialism and what makes a champion in a modern world." -- Brian Truitt [Full Review]

Rolling Stone

"You could maybe give Black Adam a pass for the lack of filling in key major-player blanks; for some, merely seeing these characters onscreen is enough to forgive virtually anything. When you add in an inability to figure out how to harmonize edgy, "bad-boy" genre elements with an almost corny notion of old-fashioned superhero tale-telling--tones are not blended so much as smashed together--along with action set pieces that resemble videogame cut scenes from 2010, a stock-images climax, a facile exploitation of a volatile political situation, and a sense that everything has been thrown together in a rush, it feels like you've been the victim of a multiplex scam." -- David Fear [Full Review]

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