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  • Jeff Beck

Black Adam: Yet Another Uninspired DC Outing (Blu-ray)


The Film:


If there's one thing you have to admire about the filmmakers at DC Studios, it's the persistence to keep going despite a rather dreadful track record. They press on in the hopes of being able to churn out something with the same quality as "Shazam!" or better yet, "The Suicide Squad" (and with James Gunn now in co-command, hopefully that's exactly what will happen). As if a good DC superhero film wasn't already difficult enough to develop, the filmmakers behind "Black Adam," their latest outing, decided to make it even harder by casting Dwayne Johnson in the lead. Will their persistence be nearly enough to stop DC's latest endeavor from being yet another disaster to add to the list?


Starting long ago, we witness the wicked king Ahk-Ton of Kahndaq create the powerful Crown of Sabbac before being destroyed by the city's champion, a young slave boy who was given the powers of Shazam. Flash forward to modern day, where we find the city under the oppressive rule of the Intergang, a group of mercenaries. Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi), an archeologist and resistance fighter, sets out with her brother and other colleagues to try and locate the Crown of Sabbac. They find it at the site, but are ambushed by Intergang, forcing Adrianna to resurrect the powerful Teth Adam (Dwayne Johnson), who promptly takes care of the soldiers.


Teth Adam immediately comes to the attention of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), who dispatches the "Justice Society" (Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo)) to bring him in. An epic battle ensues, but a new enemy is soon revealed, one who wants to obtain the Crown and literally release hell on Earth, forcing an unlikely alliance in an effort to stop this from happening.


When it comes to "Black Adam," there really isn't any beating around the bush. It's your very typical, standard DC outing that seems to have had very little thought put into any of its most important elements. You have a plethora of characters that are remarkably unengaging and sadly under-developed, all trapped within a cliched plot that features absolutely nothing that we haven't already seen before in the multitude of other superhero movies. And so, with no three-dimensional characters to connect with, and a story whose plotpoints anyone could lay out in their entirety in the first 30 minutes of the film, you can begin to imagine what the experience of sitting through it is like.


That said, the film has yet another major issue that, while it may not be as detrimental as the film's weak plot & characters, still hinders it in a very significant fashion. Typically, when you go to see a Dwayne Johnson film, you already know in advance that the aforementioned elements won't exactly be top-notch, but even so, you can usually count on Johnson being his usual self. That is to say, he tends to be a very charismatic actor who's rather fun to watch, even if the film he's in is falling apart all around him. So as to how anyone at DC thought it was a good idea to take him, completely drain him of all that charisma, and let him sleepwalk through a major film like this is one of those inexplicable questions that will likely never receive an answer. Suffice it to say that it was indeed one of the absolute worst ideas anyone could have proposed and carried out, for featuring an emotionless Dwayne Johnson only serves to further diminish what little excitement the film has.


By the end, we find that the film has had very little to offer in the way of entertainment value, making the supposed 15-year journey to bring this to the screen appear to be in vain. One would think that, if it really did take that long to develop, then a lot more serious consideration would have gone into its most vital components. There would've been an exciting story to get swept up in, and intriguing characters to root for, instead of a cacophonous mess that aims for the bare minimum in both departments. "Black Adam" could've been a fun, thrilling experience if the filmmakers had cared enough to put the effort in where it counts, but unfortunately they did not, leaving us with yet another DC comic book outing that evaporates the second it's over.


Video/Audio:


"Black Adam" arrives on Blu-ray in a 2.39:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of excellent quality. The image is sharp and clear throughout the entire two-hour runtime, highlighting the film's extensive visual effects work and designs. Likewise, the Dolby Atmos-TrueHD audio track is very solid, giving you all of the dialogue, sound effects, and score in outstanding quality. Overall, like most Warner Bros. releases, there are no complaints to be had in either area.


Special Features:


The History of Black Adam (10 Minutes)

Who is The Justice Society? (14 Minutes)

From Soul to Screen (6 Minutes)

Black Adam: A Flawed Hero (5 Minutes)

Black Adam: New Tech in an Old World (5 Minutes)

Black Adam: Taking Flight (4 Minutes)

Kahndaq: Designing a Nation (6 Minutes)

The Rock of Eternity (6 Minutes)

Costumes Make the Hero (8 Minutes)

Black Adam: A New Type of Action (7 Minutes)


The plentiful extras include ten featurettes, totaling a little over an hour, focusing on various behind the scenes aspects of the film, such as the characters, costumes, setting, and action sequences.


Conclusion:


With its uninspired narrative, paper-thin characters, and an uncharacteristically uncharismatic Dwayne Johnson, "Black Adam" merely presents yet another DC dud that fails to excite, entertain, or even remotely engage.


Score: 2/5


Available on Blu-ray starting tomorrow.


Follow me on Twitter @BeckFilmCritic.



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