‘Black Adam’ Updates: The First Reactions, A Superman Sequel & More You Need To Know

The release of 'Black Adam' is just a week away, and the first reactions to the film are rolling in. Here's everything you need to know about The Rock's DC film.

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is ready to make Black Adam box office gold. The villain/anti-hero’s standalone movie is one of the most highly-anticipated movies of 2022. The final trailer teased one epic DCEU movie. Even before the movie’s release, there’s been talk of a sequel that will feature Black Adam and Superman facing off.

Black Adam is going to be a real treat for DCEU fans. He’s got all the powers of Superman, he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. He’s fully embracing the anti-hero role, as we see in the action-packed trailers that have been released. From the release date to the Superman rumors to the rest of the cast, HollywoodLife has the details you need to know right here.

Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson with the cast of ‘Black Adam’ at the NYC premiere. (Andrew H. Walker/Shutterstock)

Black Adam First Reactions

Black Adam held its New York City premiere on October 12. Critics were able to share their reactions to the film for the first time on social media. One critic even called Black Adam the “best superhero film” of the year.

Black Adam is everything that I hoped it would be and more. A Snyder-esque antihero spectacle that delivers big action and impressive set pieces. Dwayne Johnson transforms into Black Adam, a role that he was born to play. Centineo & Swindell are so damn fun to watch,” critic Scott Menzel tweeted.

He also added, Black Adam is the best superhero film of 2022 so far because it delivers exactly what it promises and fans are looking for. The story works as a great introduction to title character & the JSA. I can see fans going back for seconds or thirds. In other words, #BlackAdam rocks!”

Another critic, Erik Davis, tweeted that Black Adam had “tons of action, characters you’re instantly invested in & terrific pacing. Dwayne Johnson finds a great balance in being menacing & badass, but also empathetic. Especially loved Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman & Pierce Brosnan’s Doctor Fate. More JSA movies please!”

Critic Austin Burke called Black Adam a “massive DC outing.” While he said The Rock delivered “on his promise of shifting the DCEU in a different direction. The story itself is up and down, as certain scenes don’t pack the intended punch… Although there are moments that fans will LOVE.”

Who Is Black Adam?

Black Adam is the “evil” version of Shazam, Zachary Levi’s character from 2019’s Shazam. However, both Black Adam and Shazam originate from comics published in the 1940s.

“One of the world’s foremost wielders of magic, Black Adam has been both hero and villain over a life that’s spanned thousands of years,” reads the character’s official bio on the DC Comics website. Black Adam was the first champion picked by the wizard Shazam – not to be confused with the caped superhero Shazam – to be a “magically empowered hero.”

Black Adam
The Rock in ‘Black Adam’ (Photo: Warner Bros.)

“Teth-Adam, or ‘Mighty Adam,’ began as a hero of humanity, but then allowed his power to corrupt his ideals and desires,” reads Black Adam’s bio. “Now labeled Black Adam, he was exiled by Shazam but returned in the modern-day. A frequent enemy to Earth’s heroes, Black Adam believes he is the right person to lead humanity, and any action he takes is necessary for the greater good.” Thus, Black Adam is more of an “anti-hero,” though, with a name like Black Adam, it should not be that surprising that he skews more “bad” than “good.”

In the 1994 comic book series, The Power of Shazam!, per CinemaBlend, Teth-Adam was depicted as the son of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II. After Adam’s corruption, Shazam the wizard, stripped his champion of his magical powers, causing him to age rapidly and become a corpse. Flash forward a thousand years and – SPOILER ALERT – Theo Adam aides a pair of researchers who discover Black Adam’s tomb and the scarab where Shazam the wizard kept his disgraced champion’s powers. Theo kills the researchers, transforms into the new Black Adam, and realized that Teth-Adam was his ancestor. Oh, and those researchers? They were the parents of Billy Batson, the child who the wizard picks for Shazam.

The Rock
The Rock in ‘Black Adam; (Photo: Warner Bros.)

As for why there are two Shazams, the caped superhero used to go by the title Captain Marvel, which becomes even more confusing when you realize there is a Marvel Comics (and Marvel has its own character called Captain Marvel.) Comics are weird.

By uttering the word “Shazam,”  a magical word that invokes the names of ancient Egyptian gods Shu, Horus, Amon, Zehuti, Aten, and Mehen, thus S-H-A-Z-A-M, Teth-Adam gains a bevy of powers. He has super strength, the power of flight, invulnerability, super speed, superhuman hearing, enhanced intelligence, and a healing factor. He also has the occasional bit of lightning-based teleportation.

There have been some rewrites and retcons to his character over the years. Black Adam has been changed from an Egyptian to a Kahndaqian. Theo Adam gets erased, and Black Adam is a slave who stole the powers that were meant for another. The gods that made up Black Adam’s “Shazam” got switched from Egyptian to Greek. Despite all this, the character has had, for the most part, the same powers.

Black Adam has made appearances in many DC properties. He was mentioned in the “Isis” episode of Smallville. The character showed up in many animated DC properties, like Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice, and Justice League Action. He appeared in the animated film Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, and in both the Injustice and Injustice 2 video games.

What Is The Plot Of The Movie?

The official trailer for Black Adam dropped in June 2022 and teased what’s to come in the film. “I was a slave until I died. Then I was reborn a god. My son sacrificed his life to save me. Now, I kneel before no one,” Black Adam says in the trailer. He goes on to declare that he does kill people, as footage shows Black Adam in the middle of some wild action with the other characters.

The film’s official logline reads, “Nearly 5,000 years after receiving the almighty powers of the Egyptian gods and being imprisoned just as quickly, Black Adam is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.”

The movie’s teaser trailer features glimpses of the Justice Society of America, who make appearances in the flick, as well as a few scenes of Black Adam fighting villains. In a voiceover at the start of the trailer, The Rock narrates Black Adam’s feelings about his superpowers. “My powers are not a gift but a curse,” he said.

The second official trailer for Black Adam was released on September 8. The iconic anti-hero shows off his incredible powers and is called “a loose cannon” by others. The Justice Society forms to take down Black Adam, which leads to an all-out battle. “I kneel before no one” Black Adam tells the JSA, as he refuses to surrender.

Will There Be A Sequel?

The Rock is game for a sequel and fully intends to have Black Adam fight Superman in another movie. The actor told CinemaBlend that he “absolutely” wants Black Adam to face off with Superman.

'Black Adam'
The ‘Black Adam’ poster. (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

“That is the whole point of this man. Thank you for asking that. And I have been saying for some time, there’s a new era in the DC Universe that’s about to begin. And what I meant by that was introducing a brand new character. It’s not a sequel, not an existing IP. It was…you know, Black Adam! Two years ago the world had no idea who he was. We did, but not, you know, the rest of the mass out there. Introducing the JSA, introducing that new era of the DC universe.”

He continued, “But also what I really meant by, ‘This is a new era in the DC Universe,’ is listening to the fans. Listening to the fans. And doing our best to give the fans what they want. And maybe, sometime down the road — and I went through this in pro wrestling — is you can’t always give them what you want. But you’ll always know that we’re listening. And in this case, with what you and I are talking about, I have been listening and I’ve been wanting to address fans for years. Because I’ve been waiting for someone to step up and address the fans and say, ‘Hey, we hear you.’ So finally, after many months turned into many years, we ended up with what we ended up at. And the whole goal and intention now is to this new era, new time. Now let’s build out.”

But will Henry Cavill return as Superman? Warner Bros. and DC have not confirmed his return, but The Rock seemed to allude that this epic comeback was true at a recent Black Adam screening.

“I can tell you that the whole goal and initiative of Black Adam was to build out the DC Universe by introducing not only Black Adam, but the entire JSA… and also, as I have been saying all along, there’s an ethos that we at Seven Bucks [Productions] have… and that is, we always put the fans first,” he told ET. “So, for years, audiences have been so passionate and vocal about– we’ve established Black Adam as the most powerful and unstoppable force on our planet. But the fans have been so passionate about… ‘Where is the most unstoppable force in the universe? Where is he?’ Well… we’ve all been fighting for this moment, so I will say this: Welcome home.”

When Is Black Adam Coming Out & Where?

Black Adam is scheduled to be released in the United States on October 21, 2022. It was initially set for a December 2021 release date but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film will be released in theaters and then will eventually be available to stream on HBO Max.

Who Is In Black Adam‘s Cast?

The Rock
The Rock in ‘Black Adam’ (Warner Bros.)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will play Black Adam, marking his first foray into superhero movies. “Like most kids growing up, I dreamed about being a superhero. Having cool superpowers, fighting for what’s right, and always protecting the people,” Dwayne wrote in 2019. “It all changed for me, when I was ten years old and was first introduced to the greatest superhero of all time – SUPERMAN. As a kid, Superman was the hero I always wanted to be. But, a few years into my fantasy, I realized that Superman was the hero, I could never be. I was too rebellious. Too rambunctious. Too resistant to convention and authority. Despite my troubles, I was still a good kid with a good heart – I just liked to do things my way. Now, years later as a man, with the same DNA I had as a kid – my superhero dreams have come true. I’m honored to join the iconic DCUniverse and it’s a true pleasure to become, BLACK ADAM.”

“BLACK ADAM is blessed by magic with the powers equal to SUPERMAN, but the difference is he doesn’t toe the mark or walk the line. He’s a rebellious, one-of-a-kind superhero, who’ll always do what’s right for the people – but he does it his way,” The Rock added. “Truth and justice – the BLACK ADAM way. This role is unlike any other I’ve ever played in my career, and I’m grateful to the bone we’ll all go on this journey together.”

Dwayne has been in talks to play the role of Black Adam for a decade, and it was originally planned to have Black Adam and Shazam face off in one movie. After backing out of the original project, Dwayne urged Warner Bros. to give Black Adam his own movie.

“When the first draft of the movie came to us, it was a combination of Black Adam and Shazam: Two origin stories in one movie,” The Rock told Vanity Fair. “Now that was the goal — so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But when I read that, I just knew in my gut, ‘We can’t make this movie like this. We would be doing Black Adam an incredible disservice.’ It would’ve been fine for Shazam having two origin stories converge in one movie, but not good for Black Adam.”

On August 14, the actor tweeted that he “fought hard for both characters” so they could “have their own standalone film for the fans to enjoy.” He also wanted to “protect Black Adam’s ruthless & extremely violent tone.”

Joining Black Adam in this movie will be members of the Justice Society of America, the first-ever team of superheroes in comic books (the JSA predates the Justice League of America by about twenty years.) The JSA frequently teamed with Shazam. So, it makes sense that they would factor into Black Adam.

Additional cast members include Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate, an archaeologist who commands magic through his mystical helmet; Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, the leader of the JSA who flies with magic metal hawk wings; Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, who can control wind and generate sound; and Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, a man who can change his size and strength by manipulating his molecular structure. Sarah Shahi is playing Adrianna Tomaz, who will be important for the Black Adam story in her own way. Viola Davis is reprising her DCEU role as Amanda Waller, who helps form the JSA to defeat Black Adam.

Jaume Collet-Serra is the director of Black Adam. He’s previously directed horror films such as Orphan and The Shallows. Black Adam is being produced by New Line Cinema, DC Films, Seven Bucks Productions, and FlynnPictureCo. Warner Bros. Pictures is distributing the film.

What Is Expected To Happen In Black Adam?

Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson at the ‘Black Adam’ NYC premiere. (Andrew H. Walker/Shutterstock)

Black Adam is a spin-off of 2019’s Shazam! A sequel to the movie, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, has been announced with a December 2022 release date. Zachary Levi is not currently listed in the cast of Black Adam, meaning that this film might set up a potential clash between Shazam and Black Adam in Fury of the Gods.

The movie will also continue to build upon the DC Extended Universe of films. The Suicide Squad, which came out in 2021, and 2023’s The Flash and Aquaman 2 are part of the DCEU. Prior films include Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey, and Zach Snyder’s Justice League. Black Adam will introduce The Rock into the DCEU and perhaps set him up as either the next great hero – or the next great villain. Either way, it’ll be an electrifying ride when Black Adam hits theaters