The Curator of Schlock #405 by Jeff Shuster

Black Adam

Not Black Atom. 

I was making myself at home in the one bedroom apartment of the Revenging Manta, the ninja vigilante of downtown Orlando. I examined his shelves and noticed a collection of Red Rose Tea figurines. The most prominent ones were woodland creatures and the holiday collection. I bet I could sell the lot for $32.50 on eBay. I picked up a miniature Uncle Sam, but put it back down when I heard the sound of the Moonlight Sonata tinkling from the bedroom. — To be continued.

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This week’s movie is 2022’s Black Adam from director Jaume Collet-Serra. I know that director. He was responsible for two Liam Neeson movies I covered last year: Non-Stop and The Commuter. For what it’s worth, I liked those movies so I went into Black Adam with an open mind. I mean you have Dwayne Johnson in the starring role and he looks just like the DC comics character the movie is named for.

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Black Adam is a super villain. He’s like the arch-nemesis of Captain Marvel. Not the Marvel Universe Captain Marvel, but the DC Universe Captain Marvel. I think they have to call him Shazam now because DC lost the rights to the name or something. Oh, and don’t expect Shazam to show up in this movie even though he’s the superhero and Black Adam is the supervillain. Because maybe Black Adam isn’t really a supervillain after all, but a brooding anti-hero.

I give the movie points for the setting. Our story takes place in the fictional middle-eastern nation of Kahndaq. This country has always been the target of oppressors for thousands of years. The latest group exploiting this country is Intergang, an international gang of mercenaries. This evil organization is searching for the legendary Crown of Sabbac, a mystical item that will give its wearer the powers of hell or something like that. An archaeologist named Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) finds the location of the crown in an ancient tomb. She’s hoping to get the crown before Intergang so she can hide it in another location.

No sooner does she find the crown that Intergang shows up to take it for their own nefarious purposes. Adrianna reads an ancient spell and sets free Teth-Adam, the legendary champion of Kahndaq. Teth-Adam (Dwayne Johnson) slaughters the Intergang soldiers and I do not feel bad for them. They kind of deserved to die unlike those mercenaries Morbius hired, but let’s not bring up that again. The United States government takes note of the situation and dispatches the Justice Society to put a stop to Teth-Adam. 

Who are the Justice Society? They’re a team of superheroes who are not the Justice League. We have Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo). Hawkman and Doctor Fate have a long history of fighting evil and are very old friends. Atom Smasher can grow really large and has Fonzie for a grandfather. Cyclone can create cyclones? Doctor Fate is a wizard and Hackman has wings and can fly around and hit things with his mallet.

Black Adam belongs to the same DC cinematic universe that gave us that Batman killing Superman movie years back. And while I can appreciate seeing the Rock toss bad guys around like rag dolls, it just isn’t enough. I like the actors, but by the time we get to the climactic battle scene with the demon lord and his army of the undead, it feels like we’re just going through the motions. 

We get a Superman cameo at the end with Henry Cavill portraying the Man of Steel, but James Gunn recently announced that Cavill will not be returning to the role of Superman as Warner Media is planning a reboot of the DC cinematic universe. Funny how they let that cat out the bag when there are four more movies set in this current DC cinematic universe due out this year. Kind of destroys the hype for Aquamaniacs out there.

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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477episode 491episode 492, episode 493episode 495episode 496episode 545episode 546episode 547episode 548, and episode 549) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.