Tag Archives: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Film Review: Black Adam (2022)

STORY

After sleeping for five thousand years, Teth Adam returns as the savior of his nation Kahndaq from the crime syndicate called ‘Intergang‘.

When his wrath on the cruelty results in casualties, Amanda Waller alarms Hawkman to look after the matter before the consequences turn worse. Hawkman assembles the Justice Society (JSA) and therefore begins a clash of antiheroism between the rights and wrongs occurring in Kahndaq.

Black Adam is finally released after years of speculation and theorizing the certainties of how to connect the dots with this film to the entire DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Being one of the most awaited films from Warner Bros. and DC Comics, Dwayne Johnson left no space to hype his most promising project to date.


COMICS

Not off-topic but the Black Adam film tries to stay in touch with comic roots but not accurately. But it is necessary to speak about a few points that I observed in the film.

Isn’t Black Adam a JSA member?

Yes, it is true that Black Adam was not a part of JSA. He became a JSA member pretty late. If I am not wrong, he wasn’t a part of JSA in the golden, silver, and bronze ages. He became JSA in 2001, even after heroes like Black Canary, Stargirl, and Hawkgirl.

Justice Society of America

Justice Society of America is the first-ever team of superheroes that was introduced in the history of comic books. Editor Sheldon Mayer and writer Gardner Fox came up with this idea and introduced it in the third issue of the All-Star Comics back in 1940, during the great war.

The founding members of that JSA were easily the super-strongest force of superheroes ever assembled for decades. They were Hawkman and Doctor Fate (as dramatized in the film) along with Hourman, The Spectre, Alan Scott‘s Green Lantern, Jay Garrick‘s The Flash, The Atom, and The Sandman.

Al Fonzie

It is amusing to see that Atom Smasher was the nephew of the original Atom Smasher played by our beloved Fonzie, Henry Winkler in a cameo. Henry’s character Al Pratt is The Atom and as mentioned before, one of JSA’s founding members. Worth observing is that Doctor Fate and The Atom are old and hence represent the golden generation of JSA.

The Hunkels

While Cyclone requests an entry permit at the gate, a few of you may happen to notice the screen outside the gate showing up her data. Yes, she indeed is the relative, the granddaughter of Abigail Hunkel a.k.a, Red Tornado. This also means that Red Tornado was also part of the golden team of JSA.

The screen also indicates that Cyclone is a very intelligent student. In comics, she is a student of Harvard University and has a slightly different but still mindblowing score of 4.0 GPA and 1300 SAT.

Character Alteration

The freedom fighter in the film Adrianna Tomaz is a disappointing character alteration. In comics, she actually is Black Adam’s wife Isis and she has a major role in Black Adam’s life as she dies and Black Adam in fury begins to kill the entire human race in the World War III storyline.

Intergang

Kahndaq in the present day is oppressed and occupied by the international mercenaries called ‘Intergang‘. Now, what is Intergang?

Intergang in comics is a crime syndicate that was run by the Mannheims (Boss and his son Ugly) and the Edges (Vincent and his son Morgan). The organization was armed with advanced technology supplied by the New Gods of the planet Apokolips. Yes, Darkseid was the benefactor who was using the organization to disinter the anti-life equation.

Possibility

Now understand the scenario; by the end of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Darkseid’s quest for the anti-life equation continues. Superman flies away. Perhaps Amanda Waller approached him after Suicide Squad‘s project Starro, Peacemaker‘s project Butterfly, and meeting Shazam to reach Kahndaq after the Justice Society failed Amanda. Black Adam’s crusade against the Intergang will run until the news reaches one of Darkseid’s elite.

Here, I am really hoping that Darkseid is not the benefactor of the Intergang just like in comics. Because if DCEU shows his planet supplying arms and technologies to them then how come Darkseid is unable to trace down where the planet earth is? That will be the biggest plothole ever.


PLUSES

The CGI and action sequences are impressive. I loved the fighting between Black Adam and Hawkman/Doctor Fate. Aldis Hodge as Hawkman and Pierce Brosnan as Fate were the best performers in the film. They were heavily suited to the roles and did justice.

The costumes in the film were close to perfection. Even if comic books had a little different idea, it was equally exciting observing the heroes in these costumes.

The mid-credit scene of Superman’s arrival to face Black Adam definitely is exhilarating and the audience expects more from here. Honestly, if I was in Amanda’s position, I would rather send Shazam to Black Adam, not Superman.


MINUSES

Black Adam held a lot of importance for an ever-collapsing DCEU to boost financial expectations, and critical acclaim, and make the film acceptable to the audience. But once again, neither critics accepted nor the audience in majority held the film in supreme compliment like they usually do for Marvel releases.

At a budget of over $200 million, the film has done a global business of only $389.2 million until 13th December which is a sheer disappointment, I assume not even break-in. Wakanda Forever, which was released three weeks after Black Adam has grossed $769 million at a budget of $250 million.

So what went wrong with Black Adam? Was the film overhyped? Is Black Adam that bad? YES.

Only 125 Minutes?

Black Adam lacks a standard screen time under which Black Adam and the Justice Society deserved a lot of minutes to develop the screenplay and the characters.

Black Adam was more of a typical science-fiction action-thriller than a superhero film. In the screen capacity of only two hours, the film had a lot to do to settle the audience with the politics of Kahndaq, the origins of Teth Adam, JSA’s own introduction, and the antagonist of the film. Thus, the writing of the film repeatedly faltered and strongly reminded me of Josstice League.

I think Warner Bros. still haven’t learned from their mistakes or maybe Black Adam is the final film of Walter Hamada‘s troubling era as president and we shall witness improvement under the new presidency of David Zaslav since Warner Bros. and Discovery have merged.

With the given plot, Black Adam was no less than a three-hour film. Due to the extremely short length of the film, the makers failed to dramatize a lot about Teth Adam’s backstory and ran most of that part in the narration.

The worst underdevelopment of the story is the Justice Society. Hawkman introduced and narrated their backstories and assembled them within three minutes. Within three minutes! The screenplay has a plane to catch and also to catch the train to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) like that. The same formula Warner Bros. stick with in the past when Justice League and Suicide Squad were introduced and assembled within a few minutes.

Forced Humor

And then the worst of the kind of the writing element in such a dark and tragic chapter of Teth Adam and the entire plot, needless and unnecessary humor stretched to more than a limit.

The application of jokes on such a serious plot clearly looked intentional by the makers. The jokes were fitting nowhere and not making any sense at all. Let me share with you some ‘fUnNy’ moments for your ha-has. When Adrianna successfully establishes communication between Black Adam and the Justice Society, Atom Smasher is eating a bucket of chicken.

Black Adam breaking the walls to enter the other room instead of using the door looks senseless. Were there no doors five thousand years back? If that happened in the comics is the other thing, just like Batman disappearing in a blink. The character of Karim was annoying and close to being unreal.


Plotholes

Speaking of unrealistic, the writing of this film is very incoherent and full of dumb plotholes. Teth Adam exposes himself to the city and besides a few scores of witnesses in shock, people are generally busy in their usual routine.

A bigger dumb plothole is that Intergang guys are still checking cars at the checkpoint. No one in the intergang is alarmed about Black Adam’s return, it is the boy Amon who indicates them to witness him. No social media or news media breaks the news about something supernatural that has shown up in the city. Why didn’t Fate take the crown of Sabbac from Amon’s bag?

JSA not knowing Teth Adam in the first place and believe it to be a myth looks displaced. Many JSA members have been on different planets for thousands and maybe millions of years. How come they do not understand how to put up a fight against Teth Adam?

Why didn’t Hawkman assemble a team of veterans who were more experienced than the rookies, Cyclone and Atom Smasher? Cyclone and Atom Smasher were like some rookie dance extras who were promoted by their managers due to a lack of manpower. This was the best chance to introduce Gardner Fox’s most iconic JSA team to fight against Black Adam. Only Hawkman and Doctor Fate appeared.

Below-par Direction

Black Adam heavily suffers from a below-par direction. There is not a single shot that builds in the audience with some excellent cinematic impact.

There is one shot where Black Adam’s son dies. Instead of investing one solid screen minute in Dwayne as the father of the dead son, the director flew him away with rage.

Amon’s uninspiring speech in such a low voice pitch to unite Kahndaq people to fight, skating to mom and leading the band of Kahndaq people furiously marching the street was so cheesy, so cringy, and so mainstream Bollywood. Another irritation is the unstoppable background score and which is too unimpressive. It kept playing on our ears and torturing us.


CLOSING REMARKS

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam reminds me of Dwayne Johnson but not Black Adam. His acting is very restricted and doesn’t bother to test his limits. There is so much tragedy in his story but Dwayne’s performance is nowhere flexible.

The story had potential but badly lacked direction. Black Adam is like a Bollywood film with a gigantic budget. It is a visual spectacle and popcorn-grabbing entertainer. But for the superhero genre, Black Adam is just another disappointment in the DC Extended Universe.

RATINGS: 4/10


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Film Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

The immaculate success of Snyder Cut is built on two factors. One is Zack Snyder‘s determination to stay true to its roots of understanding that what he planned for his DC Extended Universe (DCEU) beginning from Man Of Steel (MOS) and continuing to Batman v Superman (BvS) was right no matter how severe were the criticisms that he received. The other is the passion of DC fans who believed in Zack Snyder’s vision for Justice League (JL) film, a soul that was besmirched by the-then CEO of Warner Bros. (WB) Entertainment, Kevin Tsujihara, who decided to screw the tone set for DCEU films and make it light and apply forced humor to drag the DCEU in an unconditional sprint race with the already well-established and globally-accepted Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) by appointing Joss Wheddon to complete the film and cut the length of 4 hours of the screentime of the film to only 2 hours. Results were pathetic, outrageous, and spine-breaking consequences resulting in Warner Bros authorities deciding to wide-open the slates of DC films and go solo for different projects. Snyder’s DCEU had lost the soul but DC fans protested/demanded to release Snyder’s version for years.

Global fans demanding to release a film they are wanting to watch had never practically happened before. The fans were right that Zack Snyder was right; global fans who demanded to release Snyder’s vision believed in his vision. The original idea about Justice League is now finally released and I wholeheartedly accept that Zack did it, he f**king did it. Whatever rumors or leaks media revealed about Zack’s original works all these years were all true. Whatever we came to know about his works all these years was all true.

After four years of wait, a wait that built more anxiousness after Snyder announced that the project will finally be released, I thoroughly watched this 4-hour mega film with the rollercoaster of emotions and excitement. And by watching this epic, I realized how Snyder Cut distinguishes a comic book film between DC and Marvel. Marvel films cannot be DC, and DC cannot be Marvel, in a positive way. Both are different universes with great superheroes, great supervillains, and extraordinary stories told in the past 75 years. Trying to be like each other loses the identity and soul during the process. This Snyder Cut is the most DC thing to have happened in years.

This Snyder Cut makes a statement and crashes the-then bosses of WB and the decision to appoint Joss Wheddon to dust. This film exposes how ugly was the previous JL film. If the audience was disappointed to watch that two-hour film, this film will make hate it more. Every single mistake that film made, every single plothole that came into existence to confuse the audience has been totally cleared with such a deconstructive construction of screenwriting in a cohesive way.

Does The Screentime Of The Film Justifies?

It took two hours for Batman to gather a team and around three hours for Steppenwolf to get all the mother boxes. And then the screentime of the theatrical cut was 2 hours.

Should the film be four-hours long? I liked and favored MCU’s idea of the foundation by going solo for the first superheroes and unifying them into The Avengers film in the first phase and this is how a successful foundation helped the universe construct a strong nexus to many future projects that were bound to be accepted with commercial success. Zack had his own way of storytelling and I respect that. Because four years ago, in the theatrical cut, building a team without understanding the superheroes was unimaginable but Snyder Cut is very distinguished storytelling. This lengthy film guarantees and justifies that introducing superheroes for a mission with enough detailed minutes was the right decision in its own way. Nothing was rushed; Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg, they all get enough space to decide whether joining Batman and Wonder Woman to fight the war was the holy submission or a fool’s paradise.

Interesting Developments

Of course, I am not going to write every new thing the film added as the reel itself is two hours longer than the theatrical cut. So I will restrict to a few important events that happened in this film that builds the future.

Steppenwolf finds out the formula his lord, Darkseid, was searching for thousands of years, the anti-life equation. After failing to form the unity from the mother boxes, if Darkseid actually gets the weapon, he will be the supreme overlord of the universe. The original face or the character design of Steppenwolf from BvS has been restored. And generally, Steppenwolf has one of the best character developments in the film.

Then there is the gamechanger when The Flash saves the day by running back in time by using the Speed Force and giving the chance to Cyborg to separate the mother boxes. He says to himself that he has to break the rule. He talks about the rule twice in the film, previously when he helps in resurrecting Superman. That means The Flash already is a veteran speedster who had his moments of heroics in Central City fighting against some major crimes where he was forced to use this speed force. And this is why, The Flash’s solo film holds a lot of importance, especially if the film is based on the Flashpoint story.

In another scene, Martian Manhunter shapeshifts to Martha Kent and meets and motivates Lois Lane to start a fresh life. This comes surprising that the alien, the last survivor from Mars knows who Clark Kent is. He even visits Bruce Wayne and alerts him for the coming war that further confirms that he knows everything and has been following the developments for some time.

This film officially introduces Dr. Ryan Choi who is working in S.T.A.R. Labs. In comics, Ryan Choi is Atom. Yes, the body shrinker and another superhero, that will hopefully join the league. With the appearance of Choi, there may be a possibility that the first Atom, Ray Palmer, exists. Because in comics, Ryan Choi was Ray Palmer’s protégé.

Barry informing Bruce that he is fluent in Gorilla Sign Language is an understood indication that Gorilla Grodd does exist. Maybe, he shows up in The Flash film.

One of the most important moments in the film was Diana coming to know the biggest mystery – Darkseid. When Queen Hippolyta alerts Diana by shooting a firing arrow that drops straight into a Greek temple, she tries to discover the hidden secrets of the place. She finds a secret door, enters and many cave drawings about the ancient wars and the mother boxes are revealed to her. And this is where she finds out about Darkseid. All this scene never showed up in the theatrical cut and the audience thought perhaps Diana knew all this a long time ago while informing about the incoming war to Bruce. But the importance is that this scene gives a lot of weight to the development of Diana’s character.

One major of many improvements was the revival of Cyborg’s importance to this film. The old version gave Cyborg so few minutes that his significance in the team looked almost secondary but Snyder Cut propels the understanding that this fight with Steppenwolf and his army cannot be won without Cyborg at all. I am astonished by the fact that the heroes carried ‘almost’ the same weight as Batman and Wonder Woman. Barry and Arthur had their own heroics to save the day.

A needless element that was respectfully removed in the restoration of our faith in the JL project was discarding most of the forced humor. There was no joke about Bruce asking Arthur if he talks to fish, no Arthur confession to Diana on the lasso, no Batman fall from the height after Superman flies taking Lois with him, no comparisons of Flash rescuing a family in the car to Superman lifting and flying the entire building, no silly nonsense at all. The light humor was set only on Barry which was acceptable due to his fun-nature and being the youngest in the team.

Special praise to Zack Snyder for directing the ancient war that was fought 5000 years ago between Darkseid and his legion against a unified alliance of Atlanteans, Amazons, Olympian Gods, and the defenders of the earth that had so many historic legends like Britishers from the Middle-Age, the Mongols, Muslim warriors from ‘perhaps’ the times of Ghaznavid or Mughal empires. I think Zack got this idea of war from George Perez‘s comic book miniseries, War Of The Gods.

The epilogue part is the one that has new fresh scenes since Zack Snyder broke the news. In a very dystopian setup, Batman forms a team to take on evil-Superman and gives more details about this crazy adventure that surely looks like are the developments for the JL sequel (if announced).

Plus/Minus

The biggest accomplishment of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is that just like the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman fixed the plotholes of its theatrical cut, it has also fixed the puzzles and made the audience understand what looked like terrible mysteries, or the questions that went unanswered. The foundation of this universe and the creation of this team is now eventually acceptable. And just like BvS, we all audience once again will wish if this Snyder Cut was released four years ago, would have done wonders on the box-office and this DCEU would have been right on track.

There are ‘minor’ negative points but not blunders at all. For example, Wonder Woman’s new theme is needlessly overused. Then, in the ancient war, only one Green Lantern, Yalan Gur, shows up. Only one? How come the Guardians in Oa sends only one representative to fight this war?

And technically, just an opinion of a film critic no matter how much I loved this film on a personal note, this film achieves less. The motive behind making and releasing this film is to make the audience watch what was supposed to release in the theatres in the first place. The motive is to fix the plotholes and make the story understandable and convincing as it should have been a long time ago.

But from the very same perception of making this film, Zack Snyder’s film successfully develops the characters, most importantly Cyborg. The film directly connects with all the major films pretty well. With more screentime, the audience is mesmerized with more action and more sub-plots. Fabian Wagner’s cinematography and the new score by Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL) attracts the screenwriting. Visual effects are stunning. Thank God, the red sky in the final battle changed. 

Will Justice League Gets Its Sequel?

Does the film hold the future for further continuity or if this is the end of Snyderverse? This is a big question but not a mystery to me. Warner Bros. has no plans to let Zack Snyder carry the torch but the success of this film can manipulate or shall I say reverse the decision. The film ends with an extremely enormous cliffhanger and the plot concludes raising a lot of questions that have been risen in the epilogue.

WB has to release future DCEU films like sequels of Shazam, Aquaman, and Suicide Squad. The Flash is a very important film to happen as I wrote above. So I think, the time is right for the authorities to reconsider the future of JL films. It is time to learn from the gravest mistakes WB has made in the past and execute better plans. There is no way the continuity from Snyder Cut will go uncertain. If a less-important project of this universe like Suicide Squad can get a sequel, if a needless film like Birds Of Prey can happen then I see no reason how Zack Snyder cannot get the chance to work on the sequel. After all, JL is the most important of all events.

How Will The JL Story Continue?

I think the Knightmare scene and The Flash warning Bruce from the future and then the scenes from Epilogue are all deconstructive parts of JL’s sequel. After Steppenwolf dies, Darkseid tells Desaad to ready the armada and use the old ways because anti-life is found. So what I am believing is that Darkseid will arrive with his legion to the surface where the anti-life equation exists and will kill Lois Lane, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. By killing Lois, Darkseid will manipulate Superman and appoint him his deputy in Steppenwolf’s place by anti-life. Darkseid will guide Superman to the wrong path and fill his ears with lies that his Lois died because of Bruce Wayne.

Yes, Darkseid will know Batman’s identity because Steppenwolf will have informed his lord about the leak as Steppenwolf must have definitely been informed by none other than Lex Luthor when he met him in Superman’s spaceship. If Lex can inform Deathstroke, then why not Steppenwolf?

Batman will form a team comprised of Cyborg, The Flash, Mera, Joker, and Deathstroke to save the world. How come Deathstroke joins Batman? Maybe we come to know in the sequel but it is not as crazy as observing Joker in Batman’s team. While fighting, the parademons will capture Batman and send him to Superman. With the arrival of Superman in one of the caves where Batman is imprisoned, his mercenaries will bow to him. Within a few steps, Superman will kill his teammates by heat vision who are most likely to be Deathstroke, Mera, Joker, Cyborg but not Barry. Superman will take off Batman’s cowl and tell that Lois was his world and he took her from him and will eventually kill him. The cowl will be in his hand while he is in the air with omega-sign behind him. Barry will again use the speed force and run back in time to alert Bruce in the past and alarm him that Lois is the key and find them. While running back in time, he may enter the multiverse and may meet other Batmen, most importantly Michael Keaton‘s Batman. In this way, The Flash becomes an important film if it really builds the story in continuity on Flashpoint storyline. Yeah, this all sounds pretty crazy but this is just my theory of how I see this all developing. Who knows, only time will tell. For this moment, all I can say is “Thank You, Zack Snyder”.

Ratings: 8.8/10

Note: Most of the sources of the images in this blog are inserted in the images. A few images with no source indicate my screenshots.