Black Adam

Certificate: 12A

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Shahi, Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Quintessa Swindell, Noah Centineo

Release date: 2022

3 out of 5



While fans of the genre will be desperate to see Dwayne Johnson flexing his muscles in a skin-tight suit, there’s definitely a sense of superhero fatigue in this DC Comics adventure, which has direct connections to both Shazam! and The Suicide Squad, as well as echoes of rival Marvel movies. The film’s darker tone adds a fresh new angle, although almost every character and situation feels familiar. Most surprisingly, the title character isn’t a hero, and he doesn’t want to be one. He prefers to solve problems with violence.

His name is Teth Adam, and he has been locked away by Egyptian gods for 5,000 years before intrepid archaeologist Adrianna (Shahi) inadvertently sets him free. Adam (Johnson) is perplexed that his kingdom Kahdaq is now a hive of mercenaries, and he never hesitates to kill someone before asking questions. Justice Society boss Amanda (Viola Davis) decides to contain him, so sends in a team: flying Hawkman (Hodge), magical Dr Fate (Brosnan), weather swirling Cyclone (Swindell) and nuclear-powered Atom Smasher (Centineo). But there’s also another threat facing them.

With its eclectic cast, there’s someone for everyone to root for, most notably Shahi’s teen son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui), a remarkably brave kid with a level head. And director Jaume Collet-Serra, who previously worked with Johnson on Jungle Cruise, keeps the action non-stop, with continual chases and fights that are inventively staged along with some eye-catching effects work. Through all of this, the death and destruction are considerable (worth noting for parents of younger children – it is violent).

Johnson brings a nice edge to Adam, deploying just enough of that trademark deadpan humour to make him likeable even if he has no concern for human life. It’s a clever step for Johnson into slightly more nuanced roles, and he is able to develop some strong chemistry on-screen, most notably with Sabongui’s scene-stealing teen and Hodge’s stubborn good guy. The character interaction means that there are some terrific moments scattered all the way through the film. So it’s a lot of fun, even if it never feels original.


Is Black Adam suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...


This is a much darker superhero movie than most, as Adam casually kills a huge number of people, stretching the boundaries of a 12A certificate. It’s violent but never graphic, and others challenge him on his murderous methods. But he shrugs off this criticism, which might not be a great message for children.

Parents should be advised that the movie probably isn’t suitable for younger or sensitive children.

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