Dwayne Johnson stars in Warner Bros. ‘Black Adam’.
Not even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson could save Warner Bros. The newest participant in the DC Extended Universe.
“Black Adam,” which premiered on Friday, did not impress critics, scoring a meager 53% on Rotten Tomatoes out of 102 reviews as of Thursday afternoon. While forecasts suggest the movie could pull in between $55 million and $75 million over its opening weekend, bad talk could smash the film’s $200 million hopes before it has a chance to take off.
The film focuses on Black Adam, the man who bestowed the power of the almighty gods, but uses those gifts for revenge. He has been imprisoned for nearly 5,000 years and has emerged in the modern era to deliver his unique form of justice.
Unlike his traditional superhero counterparts – in this movie it’s the Justice League, not the Justice League – Black Adam doesn’t deny the use of deadly force.
Here’s what critics had to say about “Black Adam” before its theatrical debut:
“Watching an action movie doesn’t have to sound like a chore, but Black Adam does,” Kristi Bochko wrote in her review for Mashable. Amidst a slew of publicly damned decisions, Warner Bros. has released a DC Extended Universe movie that’s more exhausting than thrilling, offering a boring presentation combined with the ugly action of the muddled mayhem of a film that squanders its huge budget and the up-and-coming star power of Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge and Noah. Centineo.
Puchko noted that “Black Adam” rushes through the introductions of Cyclone, Atom Smasher, Hawkman, and Doctor Fate “so fast that it’s actually comical.”
“In their rush to ‘meet the team’, the screenwriters rip off a hasty, hard-to-understand presentation amidst the interweaving of so many quirky premises and paradigms (which I’ll admit is exciting),” she said.
“”Black Adam” is in such a hurry to bring this group of C-list heroes into their fight with the protagonist that your head spins.
“Black Adam isn’t bad,” Mark Kennedy told the Associated Press in his review of the film. “It’s predictable and color by numbers, stealing from other films like Ultra IP.”
Kennedy noted that Johnson is a natural choice to play “Black Adam”, able to blend “strength with humor”, but ultimately his performance and the film were “a letdown by a drawn-out and loose script”.
“[The film] It transitions from one violent scene to another like a video game for a card over a plot that is both undercooked and undercooked. From hell, just what we wanted.
Pierce Brosnan and Dwayne Johnson star in Warner Bros. ‘Black Adam’.
For Alonso Duralde of The Wrap, “Black Adam” felt “too much and not enough,” a film where “narrative maneuvers are backed up by a muddy visual style that is either distractingly artificial or alarmingly bleak, except when able to be Both.”
“The group is doing what they can with the materials, but no one is going to include them in the ultimate life achievement reels,” he said. “There is a stark feeling of having four quarters at work here – [Pierce] Brosnan to the parents! Centineo for young people! Baby skateboard for teenage girls! – It’s very clear that it’s a marketing strategy and not a group of characters that will actually react in these circumstances.”
Like many other critics, Doraldi noted that the film attempts and fails to establish a connection between the sudden appearance of the Justice Society in Kandak, a fictional state in the Middle East, and former US imperialism. However, it does not stop at making any meaningful statement.
He also limited critics to the narrative choices of “Black Adam”. The superhero movie attempts to characterize his titular character as a dark vengeful hero, but does nothing from a story perspective to elevate or redefine the genre.
‘Black Adam’ desperately wants it to be a darker, thinner version of the same hamburger that’s been served to audiences over and over again over the past 15 years, but Johnson—who is also a producer on the film and works part-time—said David Ehrlich in his review of the movie. This cinematic world as well as ours – can’t commit to the idea of doing something that might even leave an audience member behind.”
He called “Black Adam” “exhaustingly derivative”, noting that the film appeared to be “tested for audiences within an inch of his life”.
Not even the main antagonist of the film could inspire critics.
“They team up to fight what may be the most forgotten villain in comic book movie history, a monstrous arguably giant hell demon with a five-pointed star scar all over his chest,” Ehrlich wrote.
Dwayne Johnson is Black Adam in Warner Bros. ‘ The latest DC movie is ‘Black Adam’.
Johnson has been linked to the Black Adam character for at least 15 years, Matt Singer explained in his ScreenCrush review. The project has won and directors and writers lost for years, but the former WWE wrestler has always been linked.
“Sadly, 15 years of work has produced a very mediocre film, one that does not seem to reflect what should have been hundreds of hours of writing and countless screenplay drafts,” he said.
“Instead, ‘Black Adam’ plays like a commission-made product designed to bring to life the stagnant DC Extended Universe with a massive star and a host of new heroes to break into future films,” Singer said. “After two hours of grueling table setting, you’re left with a clear direction for DC’s cinematic future — and much less interest in actually watching it.”
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Rotten Tomatoes.
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