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The best thing that can be said for Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Generic’ Adam – is that it at least moves the DC Extended Universe forwards.

Sadly Henry Cavill cameoing in a mid-credits scene as Superman – which most comic-book fans know about unless they’ve been hiding under a proverbial ‘rock’ (no pun intended) – for the first time since 2017’s Justice League, is nearly the best thing about this. Which says how generally underwhelming this is.

Being Johnson’s pet-project to star as his boyhood (anti) hero Black Adam – in a film which he also produces – it’s surprising that this ends up being quite uninspiringly straightforward fare.

Not Morbius-bad by any stretch, but definitely not containing any Marvel-esque refinement, despite being passable popcorn-crunching entertainment. It’s not as much fun as 2019’s Shazam! – which it’s a spin-off from – for starters.

Even the introduction of new superhero ensemble Justice Society of America (JSA) – Aldis Hodge’s Falcon-esque Hawkman, Quintessa Swindell’s Storm-alike Cyclone, Noah Centineo’s ‘Giant’ Ant-Man-mimicking Atom Smasher, and Pierce Brosnan’s sorcerous Dr Strange-lite Doctor Fate – is all rather bland. Especially with some wooden scripting and lack of time to ‘flesh them out’ making it hard to bond with these new personalities.

Johnson does try hard to make his title character – blessed with powers from Egyptian Gods – resonate with the cinema-going crowd, by trying to introduce a morally-divisive hero/villain in the fictional Arabian state of Kahndaq.

He is awakened by archaeologist resistance fighter Adrianna (Sarah Shahi) – who makes up a large portion of the film’s sub-plot alongside her son Amon (Bodhi Sabongui) – after being imprisoned for five thousand years, unleashing brutishly violent deaths on those who oppose him. Which leads to Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller – seen in the likes of Suicide Squad – enlisting the JSA to help curb this new potentially-global menace.

But alas, Adam shows signs of contrition when Amon is kidnapped by Marwan Kensari’s Ishmael and gang – trying to snag the crown of the demon Sabbac that his mother acquired – as a more human side slowly transpires.

Unfortunately Ishmael ends up victorious in his pursuit – transforming into the generically seen-it-dozens-of-time-before villain in Sabbac – and Black Adam and the JSA form an uneasy alliance to try and prevent the Legions of Hell from terrorising Kahndaq and beyond. Predictable ending inevitably ensues.

And what transpires is a passably adequate – if tonally-uneven – superhero action yarn that would have been decent fifteen or so years ago, but lacks the ingenuity to even lace the boots of Marvel’s finest.

But there’s just about enough here – especially with the gleeful reveal of Cavill’s Superman continuance at the end – to show Johnson’s Adam (and to a lesser extent the JSA) might still make a more impactful contribution further down the line.

And with that it just about achieves its goal – even though it was undoubtedly aiming to be much more than DC ‘filler’.

ESP Rating: 2.5/5

Gavin Miller

Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Shahi, Noah Centineo, Quintessa Swindell, Marwan Kenzari, Bodhi Sabongui, Mo Amer, Djimon Hounsou, Henry Winkler, Viola Davis & Henry Cavill

Running Time: 2 Hrs 4 Mins

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Go to for all the latest film information & showtimes at Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema De Lux

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