'Black Adam' Review: The Rock's Noisy Supervillain Showdown Hits HBO Max - CNET

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is the bad guy in this big and loud DC blockbuster, streaming now.

'Black Adam' Review: The Rock's Noisy Supervillain Showdown Hits HBO Max     - CNET

Those crazy fools, they finally did it. They put The Rock in a superhero movie. Cross the biggest action superstar with the most overblown effects-driven genre and you get Black Adam, a face-melting big-screen spectacular streaming now on HBO Max.

This is peak 2022 blockbuster -- for better and for worse.

Either a hit or a flop (depending on who you believe) during its theatrical run in October and November, Black Adam is a ton of fun, if you like that sort of thing. Introducing a humorously homicidal antihero who puts an irreverent spin on the superhero formula, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays a rare villain(ish) role, let loose to create carnage with a knowing smirk to camera. 

From the title character's skull-crushing entrance and through a ludicrously violent riff on the super-speed sequences from the X-Men movies, director Jaume Collet-Serra delights in dealing out death and destruction (but y'know, in a fun way). Start to finish (including inevitable post-credits scene and fan-pleasing cameo), Black Adam is a guilty pleasure that isn't even the slightest bit guilty.

Story-wise, Johnson plays Teth-Adam, ancient champion of a perennially oppressed (fictional) Middle Eastern nation called Kahndaq. An introductory voice-over fills us in on his past, his powers and, of course, the magical superweapon everyone will be chasing. (This time, it's the Crown of Something Or Other.) 

Awakening in the present day, Adam is bemused by new-fangled progressive ideas like not melting people into skeletons for looking at him funny. A team of superheroes called The Justice Society is dispatched to take him down, plus an army of mercenaries with infinite ammo and a council of demons looking to unleash hell. It won't surprise you that things get very loud very fast and basically stay that way for two hours.

Johnson is the titular antihero, but this much-delayed flick sees a whole squadron of DC Comics heroes make the leap from comic book pages to big screen. Noah Cintineo, Quintessa Swindell, Aldis Hodge and former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan are along for the ride as the Justice Society of America, a bunch of DC comics superheroes you may know and love -- but probably not. They're hardly Superman or Spider-man league, let's put it that way.