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Jaume Collet-Serra
Dwayne Johnson, Pierce Brosnan, Aldis Hodge
Writing Credits:
Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani

Nearly 5000 years after he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the Egyptian gods - and imprisoned just as quickly - Black Adam is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.

Box Office:
$260 million.
Opening Weekend:
$67,004,323 on 4402 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 125 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 1/3/2023

• “The History of Black Adam” Featurette
• “Who Is the Justice Society?” Featurette
• “From Soul to Screen” Featurette
• “A Flawed Hero” Featurette
• “New Tech in an Old World” Featurette
• “Taking Flight” Featurette
• “Designing a Nation” Featurette
• “The ROCK of Eternity” Featurette
• “Costumes Make the Hero” Featurette
• “A New Type of Action” Featurette


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Black Adam [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 22, 2022)

As a spinoff of the 1940s Captain Marvel – ie, the character now known as Shazam due to copyright issues – Black Adam debuted in 1945. The character immediately went dormant for decades before a revival in the 1970s.

Though Adam never got a regular monthly comic of his own, apparently he built enough popularity to jump to the big screen. For the role’s live-action debut, we head to 2022’s Black Adam.

In the Middle Eastern land of Kahndaq circa 2600 BC, the inhabitants suffer under the brutal reign of King Ahk-Ton (Marwan Kenzari). Eventually a Council of Wizards bestows a slave boy with magic that makes him Teth-Adam (Dwayne Johnson), a superpowered being who ends Ahk-Ton’s reign – and promptly gets sent into hibernation for millennia.

In present day, a mercenary group called “the Intergang” rules Kahndaq in a similarly oppressive manner, and a mix of parties also seek the Crown of Sabbac, an object that may come with special abilities. Along the way, archaeologist Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) speaks an incantation that brings Teth-Adam to the 21st century.

As Teth-Adam acclimates and becomes regarded as a champion for the beaten-down folks of Kahndaq, outside authorities view him as a threat. A team of superheroes known as the Justice Society comes to capture him, one of many fights Teth-Adam must endure as he decides whether to act as hero or anti-hero.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra made his big screen debut via 2005’s House of Wax, a remake of a 1953 Vincent Price hit. It got weak reviews and failed to turn a profit.

Collet-Serra enjoyed better results in 2009 with Orphan, a minor horror hit. This allowed him to move to the lucrative field of Liam Neeson action movies via 2011’s Unknown and then 2014’s Non-Stop.

From there Collet-Serra continued to produce relatively low-budget action flicks until his move to expensive flicks with 2021’s Jungle Cruise, which underperformed at the box office. Perhaps the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic damaged Cruise’s take, but this financial disappointment didn’t seem like a good calling card for the director.

Nonetheless, Warner Bros. handed Collet-Serra the reins to the even more pricey Adam, which looks like a mistake. Though the movie took in nearly $400 million worldwide, given its estimated budget of $260 million – and the expectations involved – this didn’t make the flick a success.

Why do I go into Collet-Serra’s history with so much detail? To point out that no one should anticipate greatness from him, as his filmography points to “journeyman director” all the way.

Really, I can’t figure out why the producers figured someone with a past as lackluster as Collet-Serra’s would get the assignment for a crazy expensive flick like Adam. Perhaps Johnson enjoyed his time with Collet-Serra on Cruise and pushed for him to get this job.

Whatever the case, the end result seems as spotty as one would expect from a Collet-Serra movie. While it comes with decent entertainment value, I can’t call this an objectively good film.

Though I can’t blame Collet-Serra for all the flaws on display here, as the screenwriters deserve some – and possibly a lot – of the blame. The movie bites off much more than it can chew, as it includes too many plot points and too many characters for one 125-minute.

Not only does Adam need to give us an origin story for its title character, but also it must introduce the four Justice Society roles along with various parties based in Kahndaq. With so little space available, none of them receive a lot of exposition, so the movie leaves them underdeveloped.

The Justice Society becomes both a strength and a weakness. On the negative side, they pop up out of nowhere – well, at least in terms of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Other recent projects like TV’s Stargirl involved an iteration of the Justice Society, but this version differs from those.

Logically, those behind the DCEU would’ve given the Justice Society their own proper introduction prior to Black Adam. Why didn’t they get their own movie prior to this?

I don’t know, but their inclusion feels somewhat forced and awkward. As noted, we just don’t have much room to invest in these characters, so their involvement can feel forced.

That said, the Justice Society gives Black Adam the vast majority of its actual entertainment value. Without them, the movie would feel vaguely like a remake of 1999’s Mummy, albeit with a resurrected superpowered character as the semi-hero, not the villain.

Eventually the Crown of Sabbac allows a mortal to adopt his own abilities, but because these don’t arise until late in the film, we need others to battle Teth-Adam close to his level until then. The Justice Society fills that need.

They give the movie the vast majority of its spark. While never quite great, these scenes add spark and life to the proceedings.

Too much of the rest of Black Adam sputters, however, as its messy, convoluted story becomes a major weakness. If the film stayed solely with the battles between Teth-Adam and the Justice Society, it likely would work better, but it becomes bogged down in too many other realms.

These can make it a slog at times – again, outside of the action between Teth-Adam and the Justice Society. All the machinations related to the Crown feel like the filler they are, and the attempts to make the humans like Dr. Tomaz, her superhero-crazed son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui) or her comic relief brother Karim (Mohammed Amer) compelling never go anywhere.

Occasionally the movie attempts some social commentary, mainly when Dr. Tomaz lectures the Justice Society. She points out – accurately – that Western states only ever seem to care about the treatment of Middle Eastern domains when these affect their bottom line.

That ends up as the first and last stab at any form of insight here. The rest of the movie remains largely superficial.

And that’s fine for the most part, as no one really expects a deep experience from a superhero flick like this. The absence of rich characters and a coherent story turns into the bigger issue.

I still find Black Adam to offer a reasonably entertaining enterprise, overstuffed as it seems. However, the final product doesn’t hit the mark on a consistent basis.

Footnote: as usual, we get a tag scene partway through the end credits. It teases a possible sequel that seems unlikely to come.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus C

Black Adam appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The visuals consistently pleased.

Sharpness always felt distinctive and tight, without any issues connected to a lack of definition.

The image lacked jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also remained absent.

Unsurprisingly, the film’s palette favored a notable orange and teal vibe – obnoxiously so at times, to be honest, though it tossed in some strong reds, too. The disc replicated the colors as intended.

Blacks seemed dark and dense, and shadows seemed smooth and clear. This became a satisfying reproduction of the image.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos audio added great dimensionality to the effort. With many action scenes, the mix used the various channels to create a lively, vivid soundscape.

This meant various vehicles zipped around the room in a smooth, convincing manner, while other aspects of battles and mayhem brought out well-placed material that blended together in a nicely integrated way. The soundfield meshed together to deliver a well-rounded impression.

Audio quality also impressed, with speech that seemed natural and concise. Music appeared vivid and full, with dynamic tones.

Effects fared best of all, as those elements seemed accurate and tight, with crisp highs and deep lows. As I expect from a movie of this sort, the soundtrack excelled.

As we head to extras, we get 10 featurettes, and The History of Black Adam spans 10 minutes, 18 seconds. Hosted by actor Sarah Shahi, it brings comments from DC Comics head archivist/librarian Benjamin Leclear, DC writers Christopher Priest and Jerry Ordway, director Jaume Collet-Serra, and actor Dwayne Johnson.

Like the title implies, this program offers a discussion of Black Adam’s development across the comics. It becomes a decent overview, albeit one with a promotional vibe.

Who Is the Justice Society? fills 14 minutes, 16 seconds. Hosted by actor Aldis Hodge, it involves Leclear, Johnson, Ordway, Collet-Serra, Shahi, production designer Tom Meyer, producer Hiram Garcia, executive producer Scott Sheldon, and actors Noah Centineo, Pierce Brosnan, and Quintessa Swindell.

This one covers the history of the Justice Society from 1940 to date as well as character notes. Like the prior piece, this one boasts moderate informational value along with a fair amount of fluff.

Next comes From Soul to Screen, a six-minute, nine-second reel with notes from Garcia, Johnson, Centineo, Collet-Serra, Hodge, Meyer, Brosnan, Shahi, construction coordinator Jonas Kirk, producer Beau Flynn, and actor Marwan Kenzari

“Soul” examines Black Adam’s move to films and why he didn’t appear in Shazam as well as cast/performances and sets. Expect another decent but superficial program.

A Flawed Hero goes for five minutes, nine seconds and delivers thoughts from Garcia, Hodge, Johnson, Flynn, Collet-Serra, Swindell, brosnan, Shahi, Sheldon, and actor Bodhi Sabongui.

Here we investigate more story/character areas. It remains without much depth and exists largely to sell the movie.

After this we head to New Tech in an Old World. It lasts four minutes, 49 seconds and features Sheldon, Garcia, Meyer, Flynn, Kirk, Brosnan, Collet-Serra, Centineo, special effects supervisor JD Schwalm, and actor Jennifer Wallace.

This one covers props, sets and effects. A few good notes result, though the tone and length mean it fails to deliver depth.

Taking Flight occupies three minutes, 32 seconds and provides remarks from Johnson, Flynn, Schwalm, Sheldon, and Garcia.

The reel covers effects, with an emphasis on the techniques used to allow Adam to fly. Anticipate another decent but superficial take.

Up next, Designing a Nation spans six minutes, 27 seconds and brings comments from Johnson, Collet-Serra, Flynn, Garcia, Sabonqui, Shahi, Meyer, location manager Ian Easterbrook, set decorator Larry Dias, prop master Steven B. Melton, and actor Mohammed Amer.

We get thoughts about the movie’s depiction of the fictional Kahndaq nation. It becomes one of the disc’s more informative reels.

The ROCK of Eternity goes for five minutes, 42 seconds and offers information from Johnson, Shahi, Meyer, Collet-Serra, Garcia, Flynn, Schwalm, Hodge, Sabongui, Melton, Sheldon, Centineo, Kirk, Amer, graphic designer Malcolm Wallace and makeup designer Deborah Mia Denaver.

Here we look at the wizards who gave Adam his powers. It offers a handful of useful notes.

With Costumes Make the Hero, we get an eight-minute, 25-second piece that includes Hodge, Amer, Flynn, Collet-Serra, Johnson, Brosnan, Swindell, Centineo, and costume designers Kurt Swanson and Bart Mueller.

Unsurprisingly, this one looks at garb worn by the movie’s characters. It comes with reasonable informational value.

Finally, A New Type of Action lasts six minutes, 38 seconds and involves Johnson, Swindell, Hodge, Collet-Serra, Garcia, fight coordinator Chris Brewster and stunt coordinator Thomas Robinson Harper.

This last featurette discusses training, stunts and action, with an emphasis on the use of the heroes’ various powers. It works moderately well.

With Black Adam, we get the first big-screen adventure for this character – and probably the last, as its lackluster box office returns make it unlikely a sequel will appear. While I took moderate enjoyment from the film, I cannot find enough positive about it to make me sad if a second chapter never appears. The Blu-ray comes with terrific picture and audio as well as a mix of bonus materials. This becomes an inconsistent superhero movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.4285 Stars Number of Votes: 7
3 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main