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Black Adam’s Noah Centineo Reveals How His Atom Smasher Will Be Different Than The Comics

Giant-sized Atom Smasher running in Black Adam movie
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Black Adam, the next entry in the lineup of DC movies, isn’t just delivering the long-awaited debut of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the title character; it’s also bringing the Justice Society of America to the big screen for the first time following previous live-action appearances in Smallville, Legends of Tomorrow and Stargirl. The DC Extended Universe’s JSA consists of Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman, Pierce Brosnan’s Doctor Fate, Quintessa Swindell’s Cyclone and Noah Centineo’s Atom Smasher. Regarding the latter hero, Centineo has explained how his version of Atom Smasher will be different than his comic book counterpart.

Although Atom Smasher was previously played by pro-wrestler Edge in the Season 2 premiere of The CW’s The Flash, that version of the character was a villain from Earth-2 carrying out the orders of Zoom. Black Adam is giving us a properly heroic Atom Smasher, although as Noah Centineo told ScreenRant, this take on Albert Rothstein isn’t as experienced when the original DC Comics version joined the JSA. The To All the Boys alum explained:

In the comic books, he's a fully formed superhero, right? He's an adult. In this movie, though, he's kind of a young man. He's a young metahuman that gets to, for the first time, take that first step into what it means to be a superhero. He comes from a pedigree of superheroes, and his grandfather was actually a super villain, but not by choice. He was kind of forced into it, and he did rectify it in the end.

When Albert Rothstein was introduced in 1983 as the superpowered godson of Al Pratt, the Golden Age Atom, and grandson of the supervillain known as Cyclotron, he went by Nuklon and was a member of Infinity Inc. But when the Justice Society was relaunched in the late ‘90s as a blend of its original members and newer heroes, Albert took on the Atom Smasher identity (which had previously been used in the alternate continuity story Kingdom Come) and was one of the more experienced members in that latter category. In contrast, the Albert Rothstein we’ll see in Black Adam has only just gotten started with his superhero journey and learning how to harness his ability to increase his size, strength and density. Noah Centineo also had the following to say about Black Adam exploring Albert’s family connections:

With all of that familial history, he feels a driving force to prove himself; to find his way and his path and to do good and establish himself as a good person and a superhero. You get to really see that transitional phase, which I don't think you get to see often. And it's the same with Maxine Hunkel, who is played by Quintessa.

Cyclone is another Justice Society member from the comics who has Golden Age ties, as Maxine Hunkel’s grandmother was the original Red Tornado. Under the mentorship of Hawkman and Doctor Fate, combined with their experience going up against Black Adam, these two will take big steps forward in their superhero careers. In Atom Smasher’s case, it’s especially important for him to be a force for good since he doesn’t want to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, even though in the DCEU, it sounds like Cyclotron is a more tragic figure.

We’ll get to see Noah Centineo’s Atom Smasher unleash his power when Black Adam opens in theaters on October 21. Our 2022 release schedule is available for those interested in what other high-profile movies are left to come out this year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.