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Why Black Adam’s Reviews Are So Divisive

The first reviews of Black Adam are finally in and the critics are divided on positive and negative reactions. This is why they are so mixed.

The Promised Rock Black Adam would change the hierarchy of power in the DC universe, but so far the reviews have been decidedly mixed. As one of the DCEU’s longest-standing projects, arriving at a time when the studio is in a (new) state of transition, Dwayne Johnson’s entry into the superhero film seems to be dividing critics.

It was rumored that Johnson was in talks to play the Shazam villain in 2007, but it took 15 years for him to finally make his way to the big screen. Warner Bros. has been sold and has gone through numerous leadership changes in that time, and the DCEU was equally unstable. The Rock says Black Adam is the first step in a bigger plan from him and his production partners at Seven Bucks Productions, but the first round of Black Adam reviews isn’t nearly as bold as the film’s marketing campaign.


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Critics love The Rock’s antihero Black Adam and the introduction of the JSA

Critics praise The Rock’s performance as Black Adam. While the actor is typically known for his bleeding charisma, reviews say Black Adam is a slightly more subdued rendition of the former wrestler, featuring a dramatic antihero version of DC villain Black Adam. In addition to The Rock’s portrayal of the title character, critics also praise the introduction of the Justice Society of America, which features characters such as Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), Isis (Sarah Shahi), and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell). Lots of positive reviews on DC Lore’s site, such as the JSA, which offers more exciting opportunities for future episodes.


“Luckily, Johnson does the character justice and recalls the charisma for a performance that’s tough, sassy, ​​confident and determined, with just the right amount of depth and dry humor.”

Hollywood reporter

“This passion project serves the character well, preparing him for adventures that you hope are less predictable than this one.”


“Black Adam may not be the hero the DCEU needs, but it’s a welcome shift for this larger world and an invigorating look at the future potential in this universe.”

Empire Magazine

“Dwayne Johnson and director Jaume Collet-Serra try to offer a grand unified theory of DC, mixing family movie tropes with a protagonist who kills people outright. The result is sometimes a mess, but it’s generally entertaining.”

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“Johnson is the star of the show, but the Justice Society of America almost steals the movie from under him because the movie gives them a satisfying introduction that leaves us wanting more from them by the end.”

Negative reviews of Black Adam cite conventional superhero tropes and an undercooked plot

Despite the praise for Johnson, the JSA, and other entertaining aspects of the film, not all critics were so positive about the film as a whole. Some of the more negative reviews have criticized the film for feeling overdone or undervalued, citing the origin’s formula structure and typical film styles as key factors in an otherwise lackluster package. The film has been so long in the making, and Johnson has made bold claims about how it ushers in a new era of the DCEU, that some critics have found the final package rather disappointing.

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“Black Adam feels more like a sketch than a finished film.”


“[Johnson’s] performance is one of the film’s few highlights except for a shocking mid-credits reveal.”

USA today

“This is Johnson’s Baby, a film that spotlights a complicated anti-hero he’s been defending for years. It wins some fights and packs a lot of punch, but it just doesn’t get past familiar tropes and flaws.”


“Given the number of years this project was in development and how it was promoted to shift the balance of power in the DC universe, it’s disappointing that the end result is so unremarkable.”


“There’s not a single character here that doesn’t feel like a cheap photocopy of one of Gotham or the MCU, not a beat that doesn’t feel like it hasn’t been publicly tested within an inch of its life.”

General, Black Adam‘s first batch of reviews has certainly divided critics. While the more positive reviews consider Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s turn as Black Adam, the introduction of the JSA, and the film’s epic action all parts of a thrilling crowd-pleaser, critics say the film as a whole doesn’t equal the sum of its parts. Given the traditionally divisive reaction to most DCEU movies, this reaction might not be all that out of place for the franchise, but Black Adam‘s complete success will depend on the reaction of the public and the box office.

Next: Black Adam Ignores A Huge Man Of Steel Criticism

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