It was only a matter of time, but Dwayne Johnson will finally enter superhero status with Warner Bros. releasing the first official trailer for Black Adam. The Rock‘s latest “passion project” has captivated fans with its ominous vibe, offering a darker superhero character arc for the perennial good guy on screen, ahead of the film’s official release on October 19.
The preview leaves little to the imagination when it comes to the powers of Teth-Adam – better known as Black Adam – while additionally introducing the Justice Society of America crew: Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Cyclone Quintessa Swindell).
We also gain a glimpse into the protagonist’s origin story, highlighting Adam’s past as a slave and the tragic loss of his son that drives him to return to Earth after 5000 years of imprisonment. Johnson has been teasing a disruption to the power hierarchy in the DC universe, and after witnessing his ability to fly, catch rockets and punch jet planes, we now know why.
Brosnan’s Doctor Fate seems to play the primary moral counterforce in Adam’s life. You have two choices,” he expresses in the trailer. “You can be the destroyer of this world, or its saviour.” Additionally, Hodge’s Hawkman looks to clash with the anti-hero over his ideological code, explaining, “Heroes don’t kill people,” with Adam responding, “I do”.
It’s precisely that line that has got fans up in arms, with some viewers taking the social media to claim it “doesn’t make sense”. Johnson clapped back, however, explaining that “Once you watch Black Adam you’ll understand the context of the line. It makes sense. The mythology of Teth/Black Adam. Ruthless with zero regard.”
Johnson’s response appears to mirror previous sentiments he shared about the beleaguered superhero, which revolves around a unique code of ethics. Speaking with Total Film, he revealed that the tortured and conflicted nature of the character was a major attraction for him and a key reason why he was drawn to the role.
“There was always something unique, different about Black Adam,” he told Total Film. “He was a villain, an anti-hero, depending on your interpretation of what a villain is. I loved this idea that his pain and rage comes from loss, and was fuelled by oppression.”
They have all killed people, that line doesn’t make any sense
— Thomas Drew (@ThomasDrew1998) April 27, 2022
Black Adam and The Justice Society of America has been a favourite in the comic scene since the 1940s, featuring a revolving roster of members. Historically, they were DC’s first superteam but have yet to make it to the big screen until now, but the film hasn’t come without controversy. In March, the production came under fire from Marvel filmmaker, Mohamed Diab, for its lack of Egyptian representation.
In an interview with The Direct, the Egyptian director, who just came off an impressive run leading the Oscar Isaac blockbuster series Moon Knight, suggested that Black Adam could have done more to represent Egypt. His major gripe was simply that after beginning the story in Egypt, the filmmakers then move the setting to “a fictional middle eastern country”, with Diab apparently found “not to good taste”. Nevertheless, the reveal of the first Black Adam trailer does have fans in a spin, for a whole host of reasons. A superhero who kills? Seems a little out of left-field, but that might be exactly what DC is looking for.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Jungle Cruise), the film also includes the likes of Sarah Shahi, Bodhi Sabongui and Marwan Kenzari. Black Adam hits cinemas internationally on October 19 and in the US on October 21. You can watch the first official trailer above and the first look teaser from DC FanDome blow.