Fans have been excited about Black Adam for a long time, but possibly not as long as the movie’s star, Dwayne Johnson. The actor confirmed his casting as the anti-hero in 2014, but his expressed interest in the character dates way back in 2007. The rigorous training began in 2020, and finally, FINALLY the next chapter of DC Movies is upon us. With atom smasher-sized expectations at the box office, Black Adam will show the titular character freed after thousands of years of imprisonment, with the Justice Society called in to try to neutralize him. Critics have screened the movie ahead of its October 21 release, and unfortunately, it looks like they aren't too pleased.
Alongside Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Quintessa Swindell and Noah Centineo star as the members of the Justice Society, and director Jaume Collet-Serra brings his background in both horror and action/adventure. First reactions to Black Adam were mixed, with some viewers raving that The Rock ushers in a new DCEU era, while others criticized the “dull CGI.” Now that their full reviews are out, we can expand what we know about Dwayne Johnson’s blockbuster, and we’ll start with CinemaBlend’s review of Black Adam. Eric Eisenberg rates the movie 2.5 stars out of 5, saying it struggles to stand out in a crowded genre and is underwhelming, despite some interesting ideas:
For more from CinemaBlend, you can also check out Managing Editor Sean O’Connell’s spoiler-free video review of Black Adam.
Mike Ryan of Uproxx agrees with Eric Eisenberg that there’s potential in the movie, but says it’s ultimately disappointing. The critic argues that choosing to keep the title character so stoic strips away all of Dwayne Johnson’s charisma, saying:
Matt Singer of ScreenCrush also wonders why such a charming actor would feel so passionate about playing a one-dimensional character. He rates the movie 4 out of 10, saying this one wasn’t worth the wait:
Alonso Duralde of The Wrap says Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam is “stiff,” and by the time he develops a sense of humor late in the film, it’s too late. But of all the letdowns it has to offer, the visuals may be the worst offender. More from the review:
That critic wasn’t the only one to comment on the visuals. Witney Seibold of SlashFilm rates it 3.5 out of 10, calling it a jumbled mess of a movie that feels like it wants us to anticipate what project comes next rather than enjoy this one. The filmmakers fail to establish a mood or stakes for the fights that have to happen, he says:
David Ehrlich of IndieWire notes, as other critics have, that one of Black Adam’s main issues is that Dwayne Johnson and all involved aren’t willing to let the main character be all that bad. He grades the movie a D+, saying:
If you’ve been excited for this movie for a long time, or if you’re a fan of DC or Dwayne Johnson in general, less-than-stellar reviews aren’t likely to keep you planning a trip to the theater. If you’re still game for this one, Black Adam will be released in theaters on Friday, October 21.
In the meantime, be sure to check out CinemaBlend’s interviews with the Black Adam cast, including Johnson, Pierce Brosnan, Aldis Hodge and more. See what’s next for The Rock, as well as all of the action that’s in store for the DCEU with a look at our list of upcoming DC movies.
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Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.