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7/18/2022 • 4 min read
Dwayne Johnson has played virtual superheroes in more movies than we can name off the top of our heads. Now he gets the chance to be a comic book character for real, in BLACK ADAM. The DC Comics movie casts Johnson as a character who has been a villain and antihero. He is potentially the most powerful person in the DC Universe of heroes, with the possible exception of Superman. Sounds about right for The Rock.
Black Adam started off as a Shazam villain, but this isn’t really a spinoff from the lighthearted and colorful SHAZAM movie. (There is a sequel to that one coming soon, however. Chances are the characters will meet at some point.) BLACK ADAM is a darker, more action-packed movie. It will also feature the big screen debuts of several additional DC comics characters including Hawkman and Dr. Fate.
BLACK ADAM will open exclusively in movie theatres on October 21.
This trailer lets us see that Black Adam has had a very long, difficult and, painful life — and that he’s probably angry with the world for a good reason. It also tells us that the guy is massively powerful and that he’s just getting started finding his true place in the world.
There's also this second BLACK ADAM trailer, which debuted at Comic-Con in July. It's a more concise trailer with a tight focus on the character's powers and overriding sense of rage.
Born into slavery thousands of years ago in the African nation of Kahndaq, Teth-Adam became the first champion of the wizard Shazam. (As vaguely recounted in a scene in SHAZAM.) With his newfound power, he liberated his people. He could not save those closest to him, however. His family was murdered, turning Teth-Adam into a dark soul. He let the Seven Deadly Sins loose on those who killed his family. The Sins killed millions and destroyed civilizations.
The wizard Shazam dubbed Teth-Adam Black Adam and confined him to a rocky prison, where he lay for five thousand years. Now, he's free!
Dwayne Johnson began to transform himself from a wrestling superstar to a blockbuster actor in the early 2000s. BLACK ADAM was one of the earliest projects he became attached to, as the movie first started to develop around 2005. Initially, he was contacted about playing Shazam but became more interested in the Black Adam character.
This development all began before Marvel Studios released IRON MAN, and before the idea of an interconnected "movie universe" became the dominant concept for comic book movies. The Marvel influence affected how DC and Warner Bros. planned the DC movie slate, and created new questions about how Shazam and Black Adam would fit in.
SHAZAM was eventually made as a more family-friendly movie, and released in 2019. Throughout that span of fifteen years or more, Dwayne Johnson remained attached to play BLACK ADAM. In 2019, Jaume Collet-Serra (NON-STOP, THE SHALLOWS) was set to direct a script by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani.
Black Adam is not the only hero in BLACK ADAM - in fact, for much fo the movie, he might not be a hero at all. This movie introduces the team which, in DC Comics, eventually mutated into the Justice League before being reborn as its own entity: The Justice Society of America (JSA).
The JSA is a more unusual team than the Justice League, which is reflected in its membership. Led by Hawkman, the team is made up of heroes with unusual powers. Aldis Hodge plays Carter Hall, better known as Hawkman. He's an archaeologist who is the reincarnation of an Egyptian prince and can fly thanks to a set of metal wings. Pierce Brosnan is Kent Nelson, aka Doctor Fate, who has a magical helmet that empowers him.
Noah Centineo plays Al Rothstein, aka Atom Smasher, who can control his molecular structure and, in doing so, alter his size and strength. And Quintessa Swindell is Maxine Hunkel, who, as her alter-ego Cyclone, can generate wind and sound.
The JSA is a very old-school comic book team, dating back to the Golden Age of comics, in the 1940s. We don't know if or how the team will end up interacting with the Justice League in movies down the line, or how they'll even deal with Shazam. For now, they have to survive their encounter with Black Adam.
All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.
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