It’s difficult to keep all the comic book heroes and villains down. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays Black Adam in a new DC Comics feature film will be released by Warner Bros. on October 21st, but even loyal comic book readers may have no idea who this character is. A new trailer for the movie was released on June 8th. Here’s a look at this fascinating character and his past.
Who is Black Adam?
In the original comics, Black Adam was a corrupt ancient Egyptian with a complicated backstory. He first appeared in 1945 as a supporting character in The Adventures of Captain Marvel (confusingly not the Marvel character but an older character that existed prior to Marvel’s inception) and then was reintroduced in the 1970s when the old Captain Marvel was licensed by became DC and renamed Shazam.
His original name was Teth-Adam and he was given superpowers by the wizard Shazam. However, when loaded with power, he turned evil and decided to conquer the world, starting with Egypt. Shazam couldn’t take back the powers he gave Black Adam, so instead he banished Black Adam, who didn’t make it back to Earth until 1945.
But comic book stories are flexible, and Black Adam’s story has been rewritten several times since its first run. You could spend months digging through old issues and catching up on all of its storylines. There’s no question that you don’t need to know anything about Black Adam’s comic book past to understand the film – DC won’t shut out a huge number of potential moviegoers.
What are his powers?
He has the powers of Shazam, whose name originally represented the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the endurance of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. (But later in his comic history, these powers are attributed to Egyptian gods.)
In any case, he’s a bit like Superman: he has everything. The movie trailer shows Black Adam not even blinking as he is hit in the face with a metal bar and then throwing the guy who hit him a tremendous distance. He is also impervious to gunfire and he can fly. He can also catch rockets.
Is he a hero or a villain?
Originally a villain. And he seems to tend that way in the film. But yes, moviegoers love The Rock, and perhaps Warner Bros. is tempted to give it a revelation that makes it good. Do you call him an antihero? Like how people supported Tony Soprano even though they knew he was doing bad things?
The trailer teases a tragic backstory involving his son and hints at a moral dilemma as Hawkman says, “In this world there are heroes and there are villains. Heroes don’t kill people.” Black Adam replies, “Well, I do.”
He is also told in the trailer that he “can be this world’s destroyer, or you can be its savior.” Though Black Adam doesn’t say which direction he’s leaning, he is then seen catching a missile that would have killed two normal people in a Scooby-Doo style van. So he’s at least YOUR savior?
One of the trailer’s YouTube commenters addressed the dilemma, writing, “Looks like a solid movie just hope they keep it as a villain, I get Dwayne’s star power and how he is the Hollywood action hero but Black Adam is a lot.” more interesting as a villain.”
Who are all these characters in the trailer?
In the trailer, Black Adam says he was a slave until he died – and then he is shown being gruesomely murdered: slashed open and thrown off a cliff. “Then I was born again as a god,” he says, adding that his son sacrificed his own life to save him, and as a result “I don’t kneel to anyone now.”
Pierce Brosnan is prominent in the movie trailer. He plays Kent Nelson/Doctor Fate, a member of the Justice Society of America and the son of an archaeologist. This elaborate hat he dons is the helm of fate, giving him superpowers.
Other JSA members appearing in the film are Carter Hall/Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), an archaeologist who can fly; Albert Rothstein/Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), who can change size and strength; and Maxine Hunkel/Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), who controls the wind and creates noise.
What is the name of the song in the Black Adam trailer?
The background music in the Black Adam trailer is the 2011 song Murder to Excellence by Kanye West and Jay Z. It samples a traditional Romanian tune, Purtata Fetelor de la Căpâlna.
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