Black Adam First Reviews: Action-Packed and Powered by a Charismatic Dwayne Johnson

Almost 15 years since Dwayne Johnson first announced interest in playing the character, he finally makes his debut as Black Adam in the DCEU this week. But is the movie, eponymously titled Black Adam, worth the wait, the promise, and the anticipation? The first reviews of the superhero spectacle are mixed, but those that get what the movie is and who it’s for praise the positives enough to disregard any shortcomings.

Here’s what critics are saying about Black Adam:

Does it live up to expectations?

Johnson has been attached to the Black Adam role for nearly two decades… His love for the DC Universe shines through the film and his passion pays off well throughout. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

Those who have been waiting for this adaptation long since Johnson first expressed interest back in 2007 will not walk away disappointed. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

How well does it fit into the DCEU?

A strong entry into the DCEU. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

Though we’ve prayed DC would move on, there are more than echoes of the Snyderverse here. – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

How is The Rock as Black Adam?

The Rock delivers one of his best performances. He put his heart and soul into this role. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

An absolutely terrific performance by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, [the movie allows] him to flex his trademark muscular showmanship and combine that with character-driven appeal. – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Johnson keeps up his enchanting screen presence as he lands old-fashioned one-liners and brutal action all with complete passion. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

What about the Justice Society?

Aldis Hodge and Pierce Brosnan’s portrayals of Hawkman and Doctor Fate are both equally brilliant. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

Brosnan is a natural in the role of Fate and it’s a wonder how no one tapped on his talents sooner for a superhero role. Hodge is just as great in the film. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

On the whole, members of the JSA are dealt short shrift, leaving [them] severely underdeveloped. – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher in Black Adam (2022)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

How is the action?

This movie is packed with action. When we say that, we mean it is pretty much non-stop action for the entire movie. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Every fight sequence packs a punch, and the film gets extra creative when utilizing Doctor Fate’s powers. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

Does the film have a worthy villain?

The villain doesn’t do much of anything except provide us with a pretty cool battle, so we will take it — reluctantly. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

It’s just a shame that the main villain isn’t stronger here because it does overshadow some of the bombastic action on display. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam in Black Adam (2022)

(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)

Does the movie get too political?

The picture’s overarching themes – dealing with colonialism and our desperate need for heroes to speak out against tyranny during bleak times – are affecting and effectively crafted. – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Moviegoers may have trouble finding escapist pleasure here, given the knotty global issues the movie raises but doesn’t fully process. – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

Will we leave feeling hopeful for the DCEU?

Black Adam will help DC fans restore their faith in the DCEU. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

What it sets up for the future of the DCEU is exciting and not to be overlooked. – Ben Rolph, Discussing Film

Black Adam opens everywhere on October 21, 2022.

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