Black Adam: Testing Dwayne Johnson’s Star Power–Impact of Negative Reviews?

Reviews: Dwayne Johnson’s DC Film Is ‘Repetitive’ and ‘Anti-Entertaining’

Black Adam
Courtesy of DC
Black Adam, the new film in DC Universe landing low on the hierarchy of critical reputation for Warner’s last decade of superhero entries.

With reviews hitting for the Dwayne Johnson vehicle this afternoon, “Black Adam” currently stands at a 32% approval rating from top critics on the review-aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.

Among the website’s broader group of approved critics, it is at 54%. Should the top critics number stand, it would mark the lowest such figure for a DC film since 2017’s “Justice League,” which netted a 23% approval rating from top critics and was so reviled among fans that a reworked version was eventually ordered by Warner, arriving in the form of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” in 2021.

The Guardian said that Johnson’s “massive bulk, planet-sized head and sly gift for deadpan humour all make him a great superhero.”

Hollywood Reporter discussed the star’s long attachment to “Black Adam, writing that “his passion project serves the character well, setting him up for adventures one hopes will be less predictable than this one.”

Rolling Stone wrote that “not even the pleasure of watching Johnson enter into a blockbuster template he seemed destined to dominate can make up for how generic, flavorless and incoherent this is.”

The Wrap called the film “anti-entertaining” and deemed it “one of the most visually confounding of the major-studio superhero sagas, between CG that’s assaultively unappealing and rapid-fire editing that sucks the exhilaration right out of every fight scene.”

Indiewire panned the film, opening his review with the question of “What happens when Hollywood’s most risk-averse movie star collides with Hollywood’s most risk-averse movie genre?” His answer? “Exactly what you’d expect. Only worse.”

ScreenCrush deemed the film “pretty middling” writing that it “plays like a committee-made product designed to zhoosh up the stagnant DC Extended Universe with a massive star and a batch of new heroes to spin off into future movies. After two hours of dour table setting, you’re left with a clear direction for DC’s cinematic future — and a lot less interest in actually watching it.”

Johnson has stated that he envisions himself as “advisor” for DC Films. Under the new leadership of CEO David Zaslav under Warner Bros. Discovery, the upcoming slate of DC films has become more carefully planned. Zaslav stated that the company is seeking out a leader akin to Marvel Studios’ head Kevin Feige to shepherd the next decade of the studio’s comic book content.