Dayne Johnson’s Film Black Adam is Repetitive and Unentertaining

While “Black Adam” may be poised to shake up the DC Cinematic Universe’s power structure, it’s landing low on the critical reputation for Warner Bros.’s last decade of superhero entries.

Rotten Tomatoes, which aggregates reviews from critics, presently has “Black Adam” at a 32% approval rating from major critics. In terms of the website’s overall community of verified reviewers, it now sits at 54%.

The 23% approval rating from reviewers is the lowest for a DC film since 2017’s “Justice League,” which was so hated by fans that Warner Bros. commissioned a modified version, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” which will be released in 2021.

Chief film critic at Variety Peter Debruge gave the picture a positive review overall but noted that “the film’s sole objective is to give Black Adam a suitably big introduction on the idea that he’ll be faced against a more deserved enemy shortly.”

The majority of critics haven’t been enthusiastic about the film’s backstory, while many have praised Johnson’s performance. In “Black Adam,” the actor takes on the role of a superhero for the first time, a role that seems to have been written for him given his buff physique and box office domination.

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Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian wrote that Johnson is “a wonderful superhero” because of his “huge bulk, planet-sized head, and subtle flair for deadpan humor.”

John Defore, writing in The Hollywood Reporter, addressed the actor’s longtime dedication to “Black Adam,” noting that “his passion project serves the character well, setting him up for adventures one hopes would be less predictable than this one.”

IGN critic Joshua Yehl awarded Johnson high praise for recreating the comic book version of Black Adam. He said the film’s “half-baked argument on what it means to be a hero is buried in all the commotion” because of is “stuffed with undeveloped characters and an overwhelming number of repeated action scenes.”

Dayne Johnson's Film Black Adam
Dayne Johnson’s Film Black Adam

“Not even the thrill of witnessing Johnson enter into a blockbuster template he appeared destined to dominate can make up for how bland, flavorless, and incomprehensible this is,” Rolling Stone senior editor and film critic David Fear said.

Critic Alonso Duralde of The Wrap panned the picture, calling it “anti-entertaining” and “one of the most visually perplexing of the major-studio superhero sagas, between CG that’s assaultively ugly and rapid-fire editing that sucks the excitement right out of every battle sequence.”

Picture critic David Ehrlich of Indiewire gave the film a poor rating, asking in his review’s introduction, “What happens when Hollywood’s most risk-averse movie star collides with Hollywood’s most risk-averse movie genre?” And what was his response to that? Just as you’d expect it to be. The situation has gotten even worse.

ScreenCrush critic Matt Singer called the picture “quite average,” saying that it “plays like a committee-made product designed to zhoosh up the sluggish DC Extended Universe with a major star and a load of new heroes to spin off into future movies.” After two hours of glum scene-setting, you know where DC is headed with its film franchises, but you probably won’t want to see any of the movies that are coming out.

Johnson has hinted during promotions for “Black Adam” that the antihero’s next fights will be more significant. Online discussion has also been sparked by leaked films of the film’s post-credits scene, which suggest potential future opponents for Black Adam.

Johnson has revealed that, in addition to his starring role, he hopes to serve as an “advisor” for DC Films. Warner Bros. Discovery’s new CEO David Zaslav has made thorough planning for the studio’s future DC picture slate a priority. Zaslav has said that the studio is looking for someone to replace Kevin Feige as Marvel Studios’ head to oversee the comic book content for the next decade.

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