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Black Adam brings too many heroes to the fight: Movie Review

Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

After nearly three months without a true blockbuster movie in theatres, that drought finally ends this week with Black Adam, the latest superhero team-up spectacle from the DC Universe.

Mega star Dwayne Johnson re-teams with his Jungle Cruise director Jaume Collet-Serra for this action showdown set in the fictional country of Kahndaq. The action and effects are outstanding, and Johnson was made for this part. Unfortunately, what should be a star showcase is muddled with several other second-rate superheroes.

After 5,000 years since the ancient history of Kahndaq, modern-day western powers are taking advantage of the middle east country. When hunters try to steal a cursed ancient artifact called the King’s Crown, mercenary god Teth Adam (soon Black Adam) is awakened by professor Adrianna (Sarah Shahi) to control the mess.

Black Adam (or Teth Adam) is a really, really cool character with some extraordinary superpowers. Watching both Adam and Johnson’s portrayal is genuinely exciting and action-packed: he’s great lead for this blockbuster.

The problem is that Adam is being forced to share screen time with several other significant less interesting superheroes who have very little to do with Adam, the King’s Crown story line, or the fictional country of Kahndaq. By splitting the audience’s attention, it doesn’t amplify the action. It’s distracting.

Called the "Justice Society of America", this side group of heroes trying to manage Adam’s reappearance offer nothing to the story other than add noise tot he production value. The JSA bogs down the run time and plot; the whole film would have been substantially more focused if it stayed just about Adam, Kandaq and its history.

This is no fault of the actors playing them: talents like Aldis Hodge and Pierce Brosnan (as comic-nerd favourite Doctor Fate!) are giving great performances. But their characters are significantly less interesting than Adam, Adrianna and her family.

Shahi, Bodhi Sabongui and Marwan Kenzari all play the non-hero characters, who are far more compelling than their powered-up counterparts. If the film was more focused on this action than that of the JSA, the script would be tighter and more time could be spent on Adam and the main plot.

DC’s The Batman in March was longer, but it was far more effective because of its primary character focus. Instead, Black Adam plays like 2017’s convoluted Justice League, with more clichés than compelling characters.

Black Adam

4 out of 10

PG, 2hrs 4mins. Superhero Action Drama.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Shahi, Bodhi Sabongui, Marwan Kenzari, Aldis Hodge and Pierce Brosnan.

Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, 5 Drive-In, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX.