‘Black Adam’ Carried by Dwayne Johnson Through Shaky Superhero Movie Ride

Dwayne Johnson is a damn good salesman, which you likely knew. Black Adam is a testament to his star power. This movie almost certainly doesn’t get made, nor does the character headline his own film, without Johnson making it happen.

And without Johnson, this movie probably wouldn’t be that compelling — except to comic book diehards thrilled to see secondary DC Comics characters like Hawkman and Doctor Fate brought to life on the big screen. But they’re a big part of the story and look great. So does Johnson and his real-life superhero physique in a role that seems to have been made for him.

Set in the fictional Middle Eastern nation of Kahndaq, Black Adam immediately sets itself apart from other superhero stories taking place in New York, San Francisco, or fictional cities like Metropolis or Gotham City. (Maybe it’s not a coincidence that the best DC films are set in locations including Atlantis and the Amazon island of Themyscira.)

The movie also benefits from director Jaume Collet-Serra (The Commuter, The Shallows) having plenty of experience with action movies that keeps what story there is moving with little time given to exposition and character moments. Black Adam pretty much goes from one action sequence to another with momentary chances to give the audience a breath. But even “quiet” scenes have action like Johnson busting through walls rather than using doors.

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‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Trailer Teases Emotional Punch, Exciting New Character

Fans attending Comic-Con in San Diego this weekend may get more exciting and titillating news, but for the larger pop culture world seeking intriguing teases of superhero and comic book-based movies, there won’t be anything more compelling than this first look at the Black Panther sequel.

Based on its first trailer, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is doing nothing to avoid — or attempt to cleverly explain — King T’Challa being gone because of Chadwick Boseman’s death two years ago.

Director Ryan Coogler is steering right into it, which should be expected since Marvel decided not to re-cast T’Challa and the entire cast and crew dealt with losing Boseman throughout this entire project. And Wakanda Forever could pack quite an emotional punch if the complete film matches the resonance of the trailer.

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