Black Adam – REVIEW & COCKTAIL

In a world where it’s all about drive, power and being hungry, there are perhaps none hungrier than Dwanye Johnson. The man is one of the biggest box office draws of the modern day and is a guaranteed money magnet for any project he’s attached to. It’s honestly a bit of a surprise it’s taken this long to see him enter the current era of superhero films for either DC or Marvel. It could very well be because he’s had his eye on the role of Black Adam for the better part of a decade, holding out until he could finally get what he wanted. Well he finally got his wish, with his take on Black Adam promising to change the power hierarchy in the DC Cinematic Universe forever. But you wanna know what my wish is? That superhero movies would just go away for a while.

In the current era of safe, focus tested, styless hero flicks, Black Adam is perhaps one of the worst offenders. Ugly looking, painfully cliche, and excessively boring, Black Adam does little to stand out among the heaps of films just like it. It’s not a game changer like we were told. It feels more like a game over for fun and originality in these movies.

Dwayne Johnson as Teth-Adam/Black Adam

Died a slave and reborn as a god, Teth-Adam reawakens 5,000 years later in the modern day to find his home Kahndaq overrun by futuristic mercenaries and oppressed civilians. While grappling with his tragic past, he’s approached by the Justice Society of America, a ragtag group of heroes intent on incarcerating the dangerous demigod. While the two parties duke it out, and ancient evil threatens to return and bring Hell on Earth.

Is Dwayne Johnson a star? Certainly. Is he a good actor? Ehhhh that’s up for debate. I won’t say he’s terrible, but a part of his charm comes from his charisma. It’s what made him a star to begin with back when he was laying the smackdown as The Rock. The right roles can certainly elevate him to enjoyable performances, this just isn’t one of them. This stoic, fish out of water is occasionally fun to watch blow shit up, but the character itself isn’t all that compelling, engaging or interesting in the slightest. His tragic backstory does little to make up for the fact that Black Adam is an impervious, unbeatable “hero” whose infallibility is never lost despite the the inner turmoil we’re told he possesses. The way you write a character like this is to bring danger to those he cares about, but the stakes never feel believable enough to give that conflict any weight. And the “I’m not a hero” schtick is a tired and weak way to eventually frame him as a good guy by the end and call it character progression. 

The movie is both helped and hindered by its supporting cast. Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman and Pierce Brosnan’s Dr. Fate delivers some solid moments of action, it’s just a shame how squandered they are when the film does slow down to let them talk, coming off as pretty bare and underwritten. Some of the other characters are either not fleshed out like Quintessa Swindell’s Cyclone, poorly written like Noah Centenio’s Atom Smasher, or just straight up poorly casted. I’m really not trying to be mean, but the kid in this film underdelivers in a lot of his scenes. Like in one where he’s supposed to be giving a rousing speech…he’s practically whispering it. You can’t really blame him though, as it seems everyone in this film suffers from lack of directing and being underwritten. 

The action is certainly a saving grace here, as it’s always cool to watch stuff blow up and bad guys get disintegrated. This is actually a pretty violent film that I think does successfully get away with PG-13 brutality. Even still these sequences get bogged down by an ugly color pallette, obnoxious slow motion, and aggravating editing. The editing when people are just speaking is when it’s at its worst. I was able to count like 14 cuts in a minute long conversation scene. The style just feels like diet-Snyder, but at least Snyder tries to convince you there’s more to the story than what you may see. Here, everything is laid out to you plainly and lazily through several exposition dumps that, honestly, could have been a more interesting movie. I get there’s a lot of backstory for a character like this, but maybe they could have communicated it through, I don’t know, film? And I can’t forget some of the worst needle drops I’ve heard in a while. Kanye West’s Power? In 2022? You don’t think we’ve heard that over enough cool scenes? Or how about the forced use of Baby Come Back? You’re no Guardians of the Galaxy, but you’re luckily no Suicide Squad either.

If this film had an intention other than raking in easy nerd money, then I’d say it does not succeed in the slightest. I gripe on Zack Snyder a lot, but at least his films had some kind of personality to them. This is just another dull, factory produced cash grab that I;m sure I can continue to expect from Dwayne, Warner Brothers, and Hollywood in general.

Rating

(out of possible 5 crowns)

Khandaq’s Champion

For this cocktail we are calling on the Council of Wizards to give us a unique but elegant cocktail fit for Teth-Adam. Seeing as how he’s played by Dwayne Johnson, I’ve opted to use tequila as the base while making it a bit classy with some dry vermouth, and adding a layer of citrus thanks to some orange and lemon. But what makes this drink truly unique is its appearance. I’ve opted to bring back a unique ingredient from my Thor: Love and Thunder cocktail, Electridust! If you don’t know what that is, it’s essentially a glittery dust made from a plant commonly referred to as buzzbuttons that gives a unique, tingling sensation to your mouth when ingested. Last time I added it to the rim but this time around its going straight into the cocktail, along with some black sugar. This is going to give the cocktail a dark, glimmering appearance with a touch of extra sweetness and a bit of that tingling sensation.

Ingredients

  • 1.5oz Silver Tequila
  • 1oz Dry vermouth
  • 3/4oz Orange liqueur
  • 1/2 barspoon Electridust
  • 1/2oz Lemon Juice(?)
  • 1 barspoon Black Sugar (?)
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • Garnish: Lemon Peel

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker and shake with ice.
  2. Double strain into chilled coup glass.
  3. Garnish with lemon peel.

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