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SYFY WIRE DC Extended Universe

First reactions to 'Black Adam' offer renewed hope for DC's future and The Rock's place in it

Black Adam might just be the fresh shot of energy the DCEU needed.

By Matthew Jackson
DWAYNE JOHNSON as Black Adam in New Line Cinema’s action adventure “BLACK ADAM".

After years of development, and years of star Dwayne Johnson hyping his first major comic book role, Black Adam finally premiered to its first big audience Wednesday night, marking the first time critics got a glimpse of the next major player in the DC Extended Universe.

We've been hearing about this film for a very long time, and Johnson has made no secret of his ambitions to really shake up the DC superhero scene. So, did Black Adam pull it off? Is this really the shift in power dynamics we've been promised for so long? According to early reactions out of the premiere screening, we're in for quite a ride thanks to Johnson's star power and some grand-scale storytelling for the film.

Here's what some of the top critics and journalists who saw the film had to say:

"@TheRock is fantastic as Black Adam. He spent 10 years getting ready for this role and he literally kills anyone and everyone in his way and I loved that he didn't pull back on who Black Adam is. Left the theater wanting to see the sequel immediately," Steven Weintraub of Collider said.

"DC’s #BlackAdam ROCKS! 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!," Erik Davis of Fandango said.

"@TheRock is terrific in #BlackAdam, which includes a hearty amount of real world touchstones (most affecting is it reinforces the need for heroes in bleak times). Director Juame Collet-Serra lays out building blocks for a larger, grand universe. Action is lively & BIG in scale," Film critic Courtney Howard said.

"#BlackAdam is built on some epic, non-stop action. It made me want a sequel with a smoother story immediately. When it moves, it’s a straight shot of adrenaline. The characters are dope, especially Teth-Adam and Doctor Fate. It’s a bad-ass film," Brandon Davis of ComicBook said.

"I have seen #BlackAdam! This was one of my most anticipated films of the year, and it did not disappoint. The action sequences were incredible, especially the ones with the JSA. The Rock crushes it as Black Adam. The film’s end left me with high hopes for the future of the DCEU," Dorian Parks of Geeks of Color said.

"#BlackAdam is a worthy new piece of the DC puzzle, but not the savior it promised. A surprising compressed timeline keeps the action exciting & pace propulsive, but also turns its many (many) themes, plots, & characters into fancy window dressing. It's messy in a watchable way," Germain Lussier of io9 said. 

So, a somewhat mixed reaction, but overall it sounds like Black Adam really did kick open some doors in terms of the way it used its title character while also integrating new faces like Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan) into the DCEU. As for whatever other surprises are waiting in the wings, we'll have to wait until next week to find out. 

Black Adam is in theaters everywhere Oct. 21.

Looking for more superhero action? Stream Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider and more on Peacock right now.