Black Adam

Black Adam ★★

Black Adam feels like a relic from a time before Hollywood had figured out how to do good superhero movies. It's aggressively mediocre in every imaginable way, with not a single interesting character or memorable set piece in sight. An alleged passion project for its leading man, passion is precisely what the film is lacking.

Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He had the potential to become the defining action star of our time, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of his generation. He certainly has the physique, the charisma and screen presence. Only the problem seems to be that the only thing bigger than his muscles is his ego, and the only thing bigger than that is his interest in money. Now, Schwarzenegger definitely cared about his paychecks too, but he also cared about the movies he made. He worked with high profile filmmakers such as James Cameron, John McTiernan, Paul Verhoeven, Walter Hill, Ivan Reitman, Joel Schumacher, and even Robert Altman (well, technically he did). And Johnson? He did that Michael Bay movie nobody saw (Pain & Gain). That's it. He's made almost fifty movies so far, but the closest he's come to playing a character he will be remembered for is Hobbs. Starring in another guy's franchise isn't exactly what I would call an iconic legacy.

True, his movies have made billions at the box office, most likely more than Schwarzenegger's, but will they be remembered? Will they become classics which are revered decades later? Fuck no. At the most Johnson will be remembered for himself, not his work. Where is his Terminator, his Predator, his Total Recall? No, dude's too busy sanding off every edge in order to please everyone. Can you imagine him doing something self-aware like Last Action Hero, poking fun at his "Y'all know I'm the coolest dude in the room" shtick? I can't.

I know the business isn't the same as it was in the 80s and 90s. IP is king, characters are more important than the actors portraying them. That's why Black Adam is such a huge missed opportunity. With a genuinely great film, this could have been Johnson's Iron Man. This could've been the role people remember him for. But he botched it.

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