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Black Adam

I went into BLACK ADAM with low expectations.

With two exceptions, I find the DC movies to be ponderous, boring, and repetitive.

The first 5 minutes of this one? Oh-oh, dull, pretentious narration over an overly complicated introduction to the mythology we’re supposed to care about……snoooooooze.

But then, slowly, things start to recover, building to the best mid-end credits scene in any DC/Marvel movie. NO SPOILERS here.

5,000 years after being locked up in his tomb, Teth Adam is released by the intrepid, Indy-like Adriana (Sarah Shahi) and her comic relief brother Karim (Mohammed Amer). Not your typical superhero, Adam doesn’t feel any obligation to fight for the good guys. His patience is thin, his anger explosive. Luckily for us, his powers are god-like as well and the scenes of his reaction to the rogue military forces trying to destroy him after he’s first released are pretty great.

Dwayne Johnson has been trying to bring the character to the screen for decades and I thought he was a great fit for the role. It’s a more serious take, but as Teth Adam continues to thaw out of his 5000-year rest and acclimate to modern society, his attempts at sarcasm are a lot of fun. They conjure up some of the great catch phrases of Stallone and Schwarzenegger in their 80’s blockbusters.

Rather jarringly, after Adam’s release and explosive face-off, we are introduced to the Justice Force or Do-Gooder League or some such nonsense, honestly I didn’t really care and was rolling my eyes at another X-men like estate with hidden, behemoth underground airplane hanger blah blah blah. Atom Smasher (a very bland Noah Centineo) gets very big like Antman and wears a costume so close to Deadpool I kept thinking he was showing up out of the blue. Quintessa Swidell has some presence in her role as Cyclone, basically a rip-off of Storm in X-Men.

(This is the part where some comic book geek yells at me that “Cyclone came first” Storm ripped HER off!” or some such mythology nonsense….who cares)

But just when I was ready to lump the do-gooders into the trash bin, Aldis Hodge shows up as Hawkman/Carter Hall, with enough screen presence and charisma to raise an eyebrow “Rock” style. And then Pierce Brosnan comes on screen as Dr. Fate and steals the whole damn movie with an engaging, killer performance and the most interesting character in the story.

They all head off to save the world from BLACK ADAM, setting up a very solid second half loaded with strong action sequences and a terrific turn by young Bodhi Sabongui as Adriana’s teenage son Amon.

Everything nearly falls off a cliff with another villain twist and the gates of hell opening up. How many times can a DC film survive a weak villain? But all’s well that ends well and they save the best for last.

Marvel films have made mid and end credit scenes a thing of legend, but they all pale compared to the major surprise served up mid-credits here. The scene gave me goosebumps and elicited loud cheers and claps from the theatre audience. It elevates the whole film with the promise of a very intriguing next chapter. Those two minutes are flawless.

With a solid music score by Lorne Balfe (Top Gun: Maverick) and fun references to “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, BLACK ADAM isn’t great, but it didn’t have to be to rise near the top of the DC movies. It’s enjoyable, fast-paced and in Dolby Cinema, rocks your seat for a solid two hours.

Brosnan gets an A+. BLACK ADAM gets a B-.

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