Out in Indian cinemas from 20 October, Black Adam, drawing his inspiration from the comic of the same name, tries to carry on a sort of previous and internal legacy to the DCEU (DC Extended Universe), introducing a protagonist with elusive nuances, in a contest into which move a series of themes ready to touch, or at least to try, some exposed nerves of our own reality.
Not the classic story of the origins, therefore, but rather an agglomeration of elements in which the spectacularization of the skills of its protagonist is the master, with a look that opens up to many possibilities and reasonings, without however ever going too far beyond the possibilities of one's own. starting context. Black Adam introduces several things over the course of its duration, following the reasoning that remains fairly consistent with itself from start to finish, despite all the lightness of the case.
It is precisely the violence of this character that is difficult to label, even if it defines its moral value, outlining a path that tries to break away from the common and more classic stylistic features of the hero and superhero, transforming the whole experience into a "something" other "that intrigues.
|Black Adam/WB Pictures|
Surely Black Adam will have the arduous task of trying to revive the fortunes of the DCEU, especially following the events that have previously shaped its destiny, with the various problems with the directors, the poor reception by the public of some films (which have tried to introduce the cornerstones of DC by speaking, for example, of the origins of Superman), and a set of characters that could easily be further exploited. The success of The Batman, however, has paved the way for the new possibilities currently offered by the new management of Warner Bros., with a path that seems uncertain but still willing to continue on its way.
The story of Black Adam
The plot of Black Adam opens in 2600 BC when the nation of Kahndaq is ruled by a mad unscrupulous king, who enslaved its entire population, forcing them to dedicate their very existence to the search for a legendary mineral: the Ethernium. The king's goal is to exploit it to forge the legendary crown of Sabbac, an object that is said to be able to give absolute power to its bearer, allowing him to unleash the demonic powers on planet earth.
In this context made up of tunnels and excavations forced by the unprecedented violence of the guards, a child decides to rebel, to go against a despot who only tends to exploit his people without ever giving anything in return, if not death. Freedom is the only thing he aspires to, for himself and for everyone else, so, after a rash gesture that goes against all the rules, he tries to inspire everyone else, getting their attention, only to be arrested.
As an example, it was then decided to execute him in front of everyone so as to turn him into a warning for those who were dry to follow his idea, but shortly before the execution, he was chosen as Champion of Kahndaq by some legendary sorcerers who transform him into Teth-Adam (Dwayne Johnson). Driven by an out-of-the-ordinary rage, the new champion will push himself toward the tyrant's palace so as to stop him once and for all, and following a clash they will both lose their lives, transforming Adam into a real immortal symbol in which to continue to believe too. in previous centuries.
|Black Adam/WB Pictures|
In the present, exactly 5,000 years later, Kahdaq's situation is not too different from his past. It is now occupied by a mercenary army, the Intergang, which by force has taken power over this nation, with the sole objective of draining all its resources, and keeping a population in check that, as in the past, does not have the strength. nor the courage to react and fight for one's identity and freedom.
Among the plans of this army, there is also that of recovering the legendary crown of Sabbac, following the ancient writings and documents and giving all the stories about it for certain. In contrast to all this, Black Adam's writing offers us a kind of resistance, guided by the courage and strength of Adrianna (played by Sarah Shahi), a descendant of the group that rebelled against the king centuries earlier, and a scholar, as well as an expert, of the aforementioned legends.
When the latter will be followed in his search for the crown, finding himself with his back to the wall and his weapons pointed at him, he will appeal to the only possible solution, that of groped to recall the champion of the nation, using the right words in one of the secret rooms where his ancient tomb is located. What will emerge will be very different from any woman's expectation, paving the way for a story made of shadows and lights in a continuous dance with a thousand moral nuances.
Teth-Adam is not the champion that everyone expected, but rather a real divinity with non-existent qualms towards the life of others. His powers seem limitless, and his pity for his neighbor is entirely nonexistent. His presence, even if totally unregulated and without restrictions of any kind, gives the people of Kahdaq a new hope, recognizing in him the savior they have been waiting for for years.
|Black Adam/WB Pictures|
On the other side of the world, however, Amanda Waller, the cold leader of Task Force X, foreseeing a disaster of infinite proportions, decides to send the Justice Society of America, to stop Adam, trying to somehow arrest him. Thus the legendary unscrupulous champion with boundless powers will find himself on the likes of Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), and Cyclone (Quintessa Swyndell), starting a clash behind which general violence will bring to the surface some realities that have been buried for years.
The subtext of Black Adam
One of the most interesting traits of Black Adam lies in his obvious subtext. The film, in fact, has no qualms in criticizing some aspects of recent history, American and otherwise, setting up an entire narrative that bases its potential on the reading and superficial perception of the concept of "good" and "evil". The plot continuously plays with these elements, outlining a journey with rather interesting conceptual potential, as a whole.
It is not too difficult to read in the occupation of Kahdaq the dynamics and injustices that also shaped the real war in Iraq pushed by America in 2003, or the previous one in Vietnam, or the colonization of India by England which lasted for about. a century, rediscovering the same identical dynamics of violence, aimed at the spasmodic search for local raw materials, to the detriment of the life of their inhabitants.
This kind of unscrupulous violence feeds on points of view. This means that the injustices done in Iraq, Iran, India, and in all the other places on which the West, throughout history, has lowered its ax, have very often passed on the sly, or in any case ignored, as justified in some way by the media and the means of communication of the time.
Everything changes, of course, if you listen to the stories of the local populations who at the time found themselves invaded by foreign and unscrupulous armies. Black Adam moves precisely in this dimension, outlining a narrative that plays on points of view, staging a situation that tries to link up with the aforementioned historical events.
The nation of Kahdaq is occupied by an army that has literally subdued its population with no interest in their cultural identity, but no one thinks of intervening to help them in any way. However, when a divine and destructive entity manifests itself, the Justice Society of America intervenes on the other side of the world without taking the local situation into consideration.
Drawing a line that simply separates good from evil becomes the main malus of a narrative that continually blurs any absolutism whatsoever, returning a set of stories and contexts that undermine this kind of attitude of superiority, in this case, Western. The protagonists of the film move in all this, in a path that not only stages the story of a repugnant champion of every stereotype of any kind but that questions the general stylistic features of a plot ready to reflect on itself.
Black Adam is, however, a film that feeds on its own aesthetic possibilities. The spectacularization of his protagonist carries on the entire narrative, marking a rhythm marked by his enormous abilities and by a certain type of black humor that does not clash at all. His enormous abilities are continually captured by an extremely careful direction and shaped by a formal composition that in some situations recalls the modus operandi of Zack Snyder, even if for a very short time. There is some fall in style, especially with CGI, on the whole, even if it does not affect the spectator's immersion too much.
Jaume Collet-Serra constructs a film that does not express itself too much from an authorial point of view, having fun from start to finish in directing an extremely pop experience as a whole, which continuously plays with explosions, lightning, crazy shootings, and superpowers. The action scenes work as a whole, returning the sensations that a protagonist of the genre can touch with his almost unlimited abilities, framed by attention
Black Adam Introduces and hope
Also in this film, we see the inclusion of new characters in the DC film scene. The Justice Society of America is an example of this, learning to know them at a specific time in their career, being presented with writing functional to their introduction, even if hopefully in future insights. The performances and writing of this group, however, remain convincing, framed by the interpretations of the actors, in particular Pierce Brosnan, ready to define their soul and character without too many explanations.
Black Adam, therefore, tries to make the most of his monetary abilities, bringing out a story that is difficult to label from a moral point of view, ready to subvert the stereotypes of the case in a market currently saturated with superheroes with a good and kind soul. A real "toy" with an irreverent soul and particular humor, from which something unexpected could begin to move.