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Friday, March 24, 2023

REVIEW: Black Adam

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Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and featuring a remarkable lead role from Dwayne Johnson, the spiky, majestic Black Adam is one of the best DC superhero movies of our time. This tale of a dark and seemingly malevolent god reappearing in a long-occupied Middle Eastern country rejects most of the choices that undermine even the genre’s best contributions. , presents the title character, a champion who challenged a tyrant thousands of years ago, as a fearsome unknown force with an endless desire for destruction. Known by his old nickname, Teth-Adam, his resurrection from a desert tomb protects someone from the corporate mercenary thugs who have been oppressing them and mining their land for decades. It has proven to be both a miracle and a curse for those who have prayed for it…

For the rest of its run, Black Adam leans into the inevitability of Adam’s rise to good guy status, solidifying the titular character transformation in the first two Terminator movies (seeing people try Adam’s cynicism and Geneva). There are even comical spots that are taught to be customary). “Black Adam” used to be common in old Hollywood dramas about a lone wolf who had to commit to a cause to reset his moral compass or discover his worth. But the poignancy that the film brings to the first part of the story is never dull.

Adam at first seems like a force of nature, like Godzilla and other beasts in Japanese monster movies. For those who follow Adam’s path, it is difficult at first to tell whether he is a good man, a bad man, or simply indifferent to relationships. One thing is certain: everyone will help Adam prevent a hell-forged crown infused with six demonic energies from being placed on someone’s head in the Intergang. A charmer (Marwan Kenzari) faced with wanting.

In fairness, they may not have expected the movie to begin with a flashback that climaxes with a slave at a construction site getting gut-stabbed and thrown off a cliff, and a boy being threatened with beheading, or for the title character to obliterate an army with electrical bolts and his bare hands seconds after his first appearance. Nearly every other scene—including expository dialogue exchanges—is set against the backdrop of a chaotic city whose residents have been hardened not just by the occupation, but by the catastrophes that are unleashed whenever super-beings clash, which ties into recurring scenes and dialogue about what it means for a small country to be invaded and occupied by outsiders who set their own rules and are indifferent to daily life on the ground.

Film history buffs might note the studio that originated the project: the Warner Bros. subdivision New Line. It rose to prominence with horror films, grew by releasing auteur-driven, down-and-dirty genre pieces and dramas (including “Menace II Society” and “Deep Cover”), and got into blockbusters with the original “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. This pedigree can be seen in many scenes and sequences in the film. It’s a PG-13, but it’s an R in spirit. Black Adam used a quote from The Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black (a song referenced in Lorne Balfe’s score), as well as the “Good, Bad, Ugly” musical and visual snippet. And we will soon announce what the movie will be. The best works encourage people who move the world like threshers.

The film’s politics and spirituality are equally engaging and consistent. Although the story indulges in Orientalism and contains images of simplistic Western hopscotch, Black He Adam never loses sight of what Adam represents in our world. The denial of autonomy, liberation, the possibility of redemption and renewal, being defined by things has always been done. The result was the “Black Panther,” which offered a Middle Eastern-influenced version of Marvel’s cinematic Afrofuturist sensibility and made its setting stand anywhere in colonized pop culture. But its politics are more defined and less compromised. We equate crews like the Avengers sent to imprison us with UN “intervention” forces that the people of the region don’t want because they only make matters worse. . The film is also anti-royal, which is all the more surprising given that the backstory hinges on royalty and bloodline.


Black Adam is a great and clever example of this type of film, with interesting scribbles around the edges while coloring inside the lines. In a brazen, ruthless, and oversized way, Colette Serra’s film respects its audience and wants to be respected by them.

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