Black Adam Parent Guide
The boredom is even more intense than the violence. That's saying a lot because this is a very, very violent film.
Parent Movie Review
Since antiquity, the small nation of Kahndaq has seen more than its share of hard times. Currently, it’s being occupied by an international cartel of mercenaries, known as Intergang, who have cracked down on the civil liberties of the civilians while extracting every resource they can find.
Archaeologist Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) knows that Intergang is not just exploiting her people but exposing them to potentially serious risks: Intergang has begun digging near an ancient mountain believed by historians to house the Crown of Sabbac, an ancient artifact containing the power of six evil demons. Should Intergang find the Crown, any hope of liberating Kahndaq from mercenary rule will vanish.
Determined to prevent the mercenaries from finding the Crown, Adrianna uncovers something else in the tomb – an inscription which, when read aloud, releases an incredibly powerful figure. Robed in black, casting lightning from his hands, and slaughtering all those who stand before him is Teth-Adam. Teth-Adam lived in Kahndaq around 2600BCE (roughly when the Crown was forged) and was given incredible powers by mysterious wizards to prevent anyone from unleashing the power of Sabbac.
Teth-Adam seems to be the best hope for Kahndaq, but his violent activities have drawn the attention of other superheroes. The Society of Justice, headed by Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), fear Teth-Adam’s potential for destruction, and seek to stop him. With the Crown back in the world, though, Teth-Adam might be the only person strong enough to prevent its powers from being unleashed.
The biggest problem with Black Adam is the script, which takes a page out of Eternals hideous playbook. It opens with narration tonelessly informing you that this story starts “Before Rome, before Babylon, before the Pyramids…” The story drags on from there, only improving when its titular antihero busts out of a crypt and starts brutally murdering everyone he claps eyes on. While this isn’t ideal for family audiences, it improves the filmgoing experience as the clunky dialogue stops while Dwayne Johnson disintegrates people.
Let me pause here and marvel at how badly Johnson has been miscast in the lead role. “The Rock” has made a career by being absurdly charismatic, and the filmmakers somehow decided that the best possible use of this actor was to cast him as a guy who emotes less than the Terminator. An actual rock with a strong jawline drawn on it with a Sharpie would have been a better (and undoubtedly cheaper) casting option. All Johnson does in this role is kill people, scowl at the camera, and bust through more walls than the Kool-Aid man. And no, disappointingly, he does not say “Oh yeeaah” when he does it. Trust me, I’m as bummed out about it as you are.
The remarkable levels of violence in this film are not only excessive, they are also tonally strange. Teth-Adam gets his powers from the same group of weird wizards as the protagonist of Shazam! – you know, the light-hearted, more kid-friendly DC superhero movie. It’s not a credible association. There are also a half-dozen uses of scatological curses, but frankly, I’d be more concerned about the frequent scenes of people being electrocuted until they skeletonize and collapse in a puff of burning dust. Actually, I lied. I’d be more worried about dying of boredom during the two-hour period between deciding I wanted to leave the theater and the credits rolling. And since the runtime is only 124 minutes, that means the movie lost me some time in the first five. That’s not a record, but boy is that a rough start.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Viola Davis, Sarah Shahi. Running time: 124 minutes. Theatrical release October 21, 2022. Updated January 12, 2024
Watch the trailer for Black Adam
Rating & Content Info
Why is Black Adam rated PG-13? Black Adam is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of strong violence, intense action and some language.
Violence: There are multiple violent scenes, often fantastical and sometimes involving guns, knives, and spiked weapons. People are disintegrated with lightning. People are fatally flung into solid objects. A superhero rips a villain in half and lava spurts out. A superhero melts a man. A superhero puts a grenade in a soldier’s mouth. People fight demons and monsters. There is an attempted decapitation, which is prevented. There is also an attempted shooting of a child, which is also prevented. A man is stabbed and thrown from a cliff and another man is shot in the gut, with bloody detail afterwards. A child is shot in the chest with an arrow. A severed arm is visible on screen as is a charred body. Superheroes are impaled on metal pipes. A superhero drops people from mid-air in an attempt to extract information: they are caught by another superhero.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: The script contains six profanities, including scatological curses, terms of deity, crude anatomical terms, and mild profanities.
Alcohol/Drug Use: None.
Page last updated January 12, 2024
Black Adam Parents' Guide
Why does Hawkman want to stop Adam from killing a violent occupying force in a sovereign country that’s been brutally exploited and oppressed? What kind of “justice” does he offer instead? How is he received by the people of Kahndaq? Why do they embrace Teth-Adam instead?
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If you actually enjoyed this, you’ll probably like the interminably boring Eternals. If, on the other hand, you’re more interested in seeing a dark and gritty DC movie that’s actually entertaining, try The Batman. This movie ties in with other DC films like Shazam!, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League.