Black Adam

Black Adam ½

jesus christ, where do i even begin

the boneheaded 'political commentary' in this is what pisses me off the most. i'm fine (not fine) with superhero gunk filling the cinemas, i'm fine with most of it being complete dogshit, i'm fine, i've accepted it, i'm resigned to the fact that this is what people will look back on as an artistic dark age for filmmaking, whatever, my heart will go on, but please, PLEASE, if you're going to make this dumb crap, then allow it to be dumb crap, do NOT have characters use words like 'neo-imperialist' in a half-hearted effort to make this have a 'meaningful' statement about The Times We Live In, don't fucking bother because it's completely ridiculous for a $200 million dollar film in 2022 to try and offer anything that approximates punching up at the western-imperialist war economy. films that are made by directors and writers who have actual integrity and authorship over their projects can do that, even if what they have to say is stupid, because they have a degree of control over what a political message can be and how it's said. this, THIS? is anyone deluded enough to think that jaume collet-serra had the ability to make a coherent comment about american intervention in the middle east when he's got an obligatory amount of setpieces to shoot and a script worked over by three writers who had dwayne johnson looming over them to make sure that nothing in this film impacts his corporate image? no, don't bother with trying to have good politics, just make these dumb films, because every time they try to address something that isn't cosmic fantasy junk, they fall flat on their faces. no one needs a film about the rock shooting electricity out of his hands to address centrist anxieties about how america has fucked up the middle east time and again. these movies can pretend to be entertainment and fail on those terms, but please spare us them pretending to have something important to say, because they don't.

outside of that, it's the usual problems that all these have. JCS is able to flex in a couple of pointless ways, and the leone references were cute, but i could tell that they were trying to force him into the zack snyder style in this, with all the ridiculous slowmo and self-consciously 'epic' action sequences, but then he's ALSO gotta do all the wink-wink reddit-tier marvel humor with seventeen different characters competing for screentime, so it's no wonder that this is a mess without any cohesion. there's also never been a more obvious example of the rock's egotistical stipulation that he's never allowed to lose a fight, which drains this of any stakes when these CGI characters begin throwing cars at each other. even more than the makeshift way that the MCU is constructed, this truly feels like a bunch of random scenes thrown into a blender and set to liquefy your brain cells, barely anyone is in the same room long enough to have a non-plot related conversation, it's maddening, i can't believe they made it this way and released it onto an unsuspecting audience. they even do the giant energy beam shooting into the sky! is there no shame for these filmmakers?? obviously not. i wouldn't call black adam a film at all; it's like a feature-length trailer, or an extended videogame cut-scene. dwayne johnson is one of our most boring movie stars ever since he stopped working in ensembles, but he doesn't have to make our most boring movies as well: he chooses to. that's the act of a true villain.

(seeing the rock's bulbous condom-shaped head CGI'd onto the body of a less muscular man is very, very strange.)

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