Warning: SPOILERS for Black Adam are ahead!
Editing trailers is a fine art and science. You want to include just enough footage to entice people to check out the movie in question, but so much that any big moments are spoiled ahead of time. Unfortunately, Black Adam ended up finding itself in the latter category, with Dwayne Johnson’s newest movie having spoiled one of its big twists in the first trailer, and it truly is a damn shame.
The first Black Adam trailer dropped back in June, teasing the title character’s origin, his clash with the Justice Society of America and how he had the choice of either saving the world or being its destroyer in front of him. Give the trailer a watch below, and those of you who have seen Black Adam will know immediately what I’m talking about.
With that covered, let’s delve into the information included in the Black Adam trailer that would have hit a lot harder had it been excluded from the preview and saved for the movie itself. Here’s one final SPOILER warning for those of you who’ve made it this far, but haven’t seen the movie yet.
Like his comic book counterpart, Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam was originally Teth-Adam, a slave living in Kahndaq thousands of years ago. As Teth-Adam explains in the first Black Adam trailer, he died, but thanks to the sacrifice of his son, he was reborn with amazing powers, and now he kneels before no one. It makes for a tragic origin, but surely there’s more to the story than what was shown in the trailer, right? Well, yes, but it all ultimately leads back to this twist that’s already been spoiled.
As the beginning of Black Adam, we see a young boy in 2600 BC stand up to the tyrannical rule of King Ahk-Ton, who’s been forcing the people of Kahndaq to dig for Eternium so that he can craft the Crown of Sabacc. After the boy’s attempt to start a revolt fails, he’s nearly executed, but is saved at the last minute by the Council of Wizards, who bequeath the boy with the powers of Shazam. With his newfound might, this boy becomes a mighty champion, and millennia later, he’s remembered for killing Akh-Ton and freeing his people from enslavement.
But guess what, folks? Black Adam is not this boy! Yes, I know you saw this coming, but bear with me. Before this boy was captured by King Akh-Ton’s soldiers, he was seen speaking with his father, who tried to dissuade his son from being a hero because there were enough heroes buried in Kahndaq’s soil. Following the boy becoming Kahndaq’s superpowered champion and Akh-Ton realizing he couldn’t kill this adversary through conventional methods, he sent his soldiers to kill the boy’s mother and father. Upon arriving back home and seeing his parents dead, the boy transferred his powers to his father to resurrect him, and once back in his mortal form, he was swiftly murdered by Akh-Ton’s assassins. So all this time, Black Adam was actually the father of Hurut, not Hurut himself, a.k.a. the person the Council of Wizards chose to wield these powers.
If you walked into Black Adam without having seen the DC movie’s first trailer, then perhaps this reveal took you by surprise, but that’s not the point. A plot twist of this nature is not something that should be officially shared with the public months beforehand under any circumstances unless there was a bigger twist to follow. But like I’ve already said, there wasn’t anything of the kind. After Teth-Adam inherited Hurut’s powers and wept over his son and wife’s bodies, he flew to Aku-Ton’s palace to kill the king and his soldiers, and in turn he inadvertently destroyed the palace. So Black Adam did indeed free the people of Kahndaq, but not in the pursuit of justice, but simply as a byproduct of his revenge. As a result, the Council of Wizards deemed Teth-Adam unworthy and imprisoned him in the Rock of Eternity (seemingly retconning what we learned about the character in Shazam!).
Going into Black Adam, I wondered if there was more to Hurut sacrificing his life for Teth-Adam than what was let on in the trailer. For instance, in the New 52 continuity, Billy Batson learned that Black Adam was once the uncle of Aman, the wizard Shazam’s original champion. Aman shared some of his power with Teth-Adam when he was injured while escaping from slavery, but Adam wanted that power to kill their former slavemasters rather than cleanse their souls, which is what Aman wanted to do. So the next time Aman called down the magic lightning, Aam seemingly killed his nephew and let the lightning strike him, turning him into Black Adam. Would the Black Adam movie go this far?
The more I thought about it, I realized there was no chance in hell Dwayne Johnson would ever agree to play a child murderer, but I nonetheless hoped that there was more to the death of Teth-Adam’s son than meets the eye. Alas, it was not to be, and the unfortunate thing is that this could easily have been avoided. Instead of Teth-Adam narrating his tragic past in the Black Adam trailer, we could have instead gotten soundbites from other characters in the movie about the legend of Black Adam, namely talking about how he’s a beloved symbol for the Kahndaqi people, but there are untold details about his legend the public doesn’t know about. That could have easily led into showing how Black Adam is more ruthless than your traditional superhero.
There are a few Black Adam twists that were fortunately kept under wraps before the movie came out, but it’s a damn shame that the death of Teth-Adam’s son was not one of them. Even in the case of Black Adam’s end-credits scene being leaked ahead of time, that was due to outside interference rather than a conscious advertising decision, though DC did strangely decide to officially confirm Superman’s involvement just hours before the movie opened wide. Regardless, Black Adam is now playing in theaters, and as time passes there will be enough people who check it out without having seen any of the trailers, TV spots, etc. I hope seeing what happens to Hurut surprises them.
While Black Adam has earned more negative reviews than positive ones, it got off to a strong starts on its opening Thursday night and soared to number one at the box office this past weekend. So count on seeing more of Dwayne Johnson’s take on the character in the coming years, which CinemaBlend will report about alongside our coverage of all the upcoming DC movies.
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Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.