The journey to Black Adam has been one over a decade in the making. Development started in the early 2000s, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson even showing interest in the role as far back as 2007. Over the years, the character went from the main antagonist to the hero Shazam, all the way to an anti-hero to take advantage of The Rock’s star status. But the world has a funny way of working and the film has been delayed countless times, both due to Covid and the lack of available VFX shops.
But with everything working against it, here we are at last: A little over a month and a half away from the release of Black Adam and the buzz has certainly been strong. Johnson finally joining the superhero genre was always going to bring some intrigue, but adding that he’s going against type and playing an anti-hero? The sound you just heard was a ton of movie fans (myself included) tuning in directly. Because while I’ve enjoyed his work over the years, I’ve been desperate to see him try different roles, and Black Adam seems to be as different as you can get. Because boy is this character evil.
I was lucky enough to be invited to Warner Bros. much to see the brand new trailer (which you can find embedded above). The first trailer was released in June and gave us a glimpse of the world that The Rock has forged with him Jungle cruise director, Jaume Collet-Serra. But this second trailer finally expands on that and offers a deeper look at the Justice Society, specifically Aldis Hodges Hawkman. And boy, does it look good.
Like the first trailer, we get a brief look at how the Black Adam character came to be. But this one finally gives us a better idea of the story of Black Adam: The Justice Society is tasked with taking on the newly released titular bad dude, who has a weird idea of justice (hint: he likes killing people). So there are some great action set pieces with Black Adam and Hawkman unfolding. Despite Hawkman looking quite impressive, Black Adam seems to make everything look easy. The real question is: can anyone match this behemoth?
I’m sure the answer will come from the main villain, Sabbac, finally revealed here. And he has a wonderful demonic appearance. It’s clear they used Satan as inspiration for this design and it works well. Even though he’s only featured a little bit in the trailer, his looks are sure to catch your eye. The scale of the film is absurdly grand with absolutely stunning visuals. It’s clear that they really wanted this one to stand out from the other superhero movies that were released. And boy does it. Although it suffers a little Michael Bay’s love of orange and blue shades, the rest of the film looks very unique. There are a few things that reminded me of the aesthetics of Shazambut otherwise this feels like a fresh take on a comic book movie that’s been sorely needed.
The real highlight of the trailer is seeing what a force of nature Johnson’s Black Adam really is. The speed at which he moves and the force with which he punches is absolutely adrenaline pumping. I really can’t wait to see him completely dismantle villains. We also get a look at Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, who given the flow of DC movies right now is nice to have some sort of bridge to the rest of the cinematic universe. We know Waller is safe right now.
Joining us for a Q&A after the trailer were Aldis Hodge (Hawkman), Sarah Shahi, Quintessa Swindell (Cyclone) and Mohammed Amer. Aldis and Mo were absolutely the stars of the show and had us laughing throughout. Everyone needs to brace themselves for how good Hodge’s Hawkman comes out here. Because we’ve been treated to several different iterations of the character on TV, but this will be his first film experience. Aldis actually touched on this a bit:
It’s weird because there’s a lot of history to figure out. Where to start with this character for me and for what we did, talking with Juame about what the direction of the narrative was. It really came down to what we know and love as fans, but then also how it works and where we find them. With Black Adam in this room. I can’t give away the cookies and details everyone got with Carter, so I won’t say anything. I’m just saying where we start. It is a great place for people who know and love [the character]. You know what it is, but also who is looking to discover when it comes to the Justice Society, when it comes to what we are and how we move into, how we live in this world with Black Adam. So it’s like if you’re a fan, you’ll get what you want, you’ll get what you need. If you’re not a fan, if you don’t know anything about this, you’ll get everything you need to know to learn about what it is, right? And you will become a fan. So for me, they started this character and this team in exactly the right place to get it all going.
With the inclusion of the Justice Society, it was inevitable that some other supergroups like the Avengers and the Justice League would be brought up. Hodge had a great response to this, even getting playfully annoyed by the Justice League comparison: “Let’s get this straight. The Justice Society. Well, [they’re] the very first superhero team ever.” He has a point. That’s why I’m sure there are plenty of comic book fans like myself who are just excited to see this team explored on the big screen. Another interesting aspect is that this is not the formation of the JSA. Hawkman and Brosnan’s Dr. Fate has been part of the team for years, with the likes of Atom Smasher and Cyclone just joining the crew.
Sarah Shahi and Mo Ammer’s characters are brother and sister, and Shahi’s Adrianna leads a resistance movement. She talked about how Adrianna is very excited about the appearance of Black Adam, due to her knowledge of the mythical creature, stating, “You know, she’s kind of going to be the Black Adam Wrangler. #BlackAdamRangler.” Ammer’s Kareem is a brand new character and seems to be mostly used for comic relief, but Mo also described him as having a bit of heart:
I just absolutely love this character. I think he’s just the sweetest, has the purest intentions, doesn’t want to get involved. He doesn’t want to be a part of anything. I love when I read the line of “he just wants to watch Westerns and doesn’t want to be part of anything.” And then of course, my sister, she just wants to get involved in all that crap and get us involved in trying to save, you know, bring justice back to the country. And of course I follow along because I do as I am told. But he is clean, he is sweet.
While neither was present for the Q&A, the cast had nothing but great things to say about both Pierce Brosnan and Dwayne Johnson. This comes as no surprise given their stellar reputation in Hollywood, but it’s always nice to have it confirmed. Then there was Noah Centino, who the cast also rolled around with Shahi saying, “Noah is like a puppy. His energy is so playful and so up.” Although Ammer added that Centino always stole his snacks, which hilariously reflects his character, Atom Smasher, who loves food. They claim that he will be a prominent figure in the film, but he is not featured much in the trailer, so only time will tell.
Quintessa Swindell’s Cyclone is also not talked about much and has yet to really get a spotlight. Whether this is indicative of her small role or just something they hope to save more for the film itself is anyone’s guess, but I’m really intrigued to see what she does with the role. She had an interesting perspective on her team’s sense of fairness:
She’s the new one on the team, along with Atom Smasher, it’s this experience of knowing about Hawkman and seeing the things he’s done and seeing superheroes as, you know – I don’t know how to say it exactly, but there is right and there is wrong. And then there is no gray area. And I think when she’s introduced to Black Adam over the course of the movie, there’s a sort of bubbling question that arises: “Are we on the right side and are good and bad so black and white? Or is there such a gray area that you can function within?” It is not necessarily an expression of how we see justice. You know, are there other ways that we can receive justice that works for this community and this group that has faced such hardship?
And finally, we got a little insight from Aldis into how they’ve been planning for the future of Hawkman (as well as the Black Adam world as a whole) through character work, versus just adding Easter eggs:
So we spent most of the time creating a style that Hawkman could take from here. And then, you know, if we’re blessed to do more, be able to build on that and elevate it, stay and do something that you haven’t seen on film yet. Because I grew up with action movies. I mean, my guys are like, you know, [Sho] Kosugi, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, those are my guys, you know what I’m saying? And I love what they do. So it’s like stepping into this. You want to leave an impression that impressed or inspired you. What it was and the approach to not making the powers a dominant force. Because without the powers, Carter Hall is still Hawkman. What are the forces? They are an extension of the beast that he is. So we return it to where it is, the weapon in the room. And then when you have the powers, you’ll see a whole different arsenal of, you know, he’s a one-man army. And that’s what I love is that we really get to change the scope of how we see it portrayed.
And that’s when they ended the Q&A portion and allowed us to take a photo of the cast. With how much fun the party was between these four during this, I can’t wait to see how they interact on the big screen. They clearly had an absolute blast filming this and their respect for Dwayne Johnson (affectionately referred to by everyone as DJ with a big smile on his face) is truly admirable. Here’s hoping each of these cast members gets their moment to shine.
Like the man behind us DC Revisited series, I can’t say enough how excited I am for Black Adam. It feels like we are. There have been some struggles with DC over the past decade, which seems to be on the right track with talents like James Gunn and Matt Reeves joining the fray. About The Rock’s Black Adam is able to reach those milestones is anyone’s guess, but I know I’ll be in the theater to find out. What are your thoughts on this trailer? Do you want to see Black Adam in the cinemas? The sound of below!
Black Adam is IN THEATERS ONLY on OCTOBER 21.