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Black Adam

Year: 2022
Production Co: DC Films
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Adam Sztykiel/Rory Haines/Sohrab Noshirvani/Bill Parker
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Djimon Hounsou, Henry Winkler, Viola Davis

It certainly wasn't my choice, but it was between this and the Black Panther sequel, neither of which I was even slightly interested in. And, as if confirming my prejudices against superhero movies, it was middling at best.

Its only point of difference is that instead of the slightly comic, self-depreciating gurning Dwayne Johnson usually adopts in movies these days, he plays a character that takes himself seriously, doesn't say much and doesn't do much except scowl.

The only real excitement in the whole thing is the return of a big name DC character in the mid credits scene, one I won't spoil here but which was revealed on social media by the actor concerned. It's not just that I'd be interested in movies about more recognisable characters, I genuinely liked the first two of Zack Snyder's Justice league trilogy, Man Of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

But before we get to more Superman movies we have to go through another tired origin story, this one about an Egyptian slave who dares to stand up against his oppressors, is bestowed with almighty, godlike powers and is immediately captured and locked away by some sort of god council until the modern era.

In the fictional city state of Khandaq, where the slightly Arabic, slightly Hebrew, slightly Hispanic population (so as not to elicit boycotts) is similarly enslaved by a system of checkpoints and curfews imposed by occupiers, an ancient talisman wakes up the ancient God and he sees everyone around him as a threat, proceeding to lay waste to the city.

Only the young woman archaeologist who found him and her suspiciously Americanised teenage son try to befriend Adam and talk him out of killing everyone, and from across the world, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis, reprising her role from the Suicide Squad movies) sends the Justice Society to stop him.

Not the Justice League, mind you – some lesser collection of superheroes with slightly ridiculous powers that only comic book nerds have ever heard of or care about. Poor Pierce Brosnan must be bored or hard up to have signed on to be one of them.

Cue all the tropes about the big boss fight, everybody realising they're on the same team and... yaaaaaaaawn. Apparently it's a spin off of Shazam, which I couldn't care less about either.

I know it seems like I hate comic book movies because I'm not a comic book fan, but that's really not it. The problem with almost all of them is that if you take away all the comic book elements and characters it's barely even drama, the story is just boilerplate IP adaptation for kids.

As recent movies about mythologies like zombies and Batman have proven, if they make good movies that tell good stories, I'll watch the millionth iteration of them.

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