DCEU: Why Black Adam should be more than a generic origin story

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 10: Dwayne Johnson attends a Hand and Footprint ceremony honoring Kevin Hart at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on December 10, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 10: Dwayne Johnson attends a Hand and Footprint ceremony honoring Kevin Hart at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on December 10, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/Getty Images) /

Black Adam happens when a man goes from slave to god-like in triumphant story that could be more than just an average origin story.

Anyone following the development of DCEU film Black Adam knows how passionate Dwayne Johnson has been about the project. The legendary WWE superstar has worked behind the scenes since 2014 to ensure his film sees the light of day. That said, there were moments when it looked as if Black Adam wouldn’t get his solo movie.

At one-point, Black Adam was the rumored villain for Shazam’s solo film. Of course, Shazam! ultimately went with a different villain, and WB opted to push forward with a Black Adam solo outing. For Warner Bros, putting their eggs in Black Adam’s magical basket is a leap of faith. Dwayne Johnson made himself into a household name, but Black Adam isn’t… at least not yet.

Perhaps some think it’s enough that Black Adam will be played by the Most Electrifying Man in all of entertainment in an action movie — we know better.

The importance of representation

When naming some of the more iconic villains in all of comics, hardcore fans know the name Black Adam. If you ask novice comic fans about the original champion of the Wizard, few will guess Black Adam. Hardcore fans know the true origins of a man who became the arc nemesis of Shazam. Now it’s up to Johnson and director Jaume Collet-Serra to make Black Adam a household name.

The truth is that Black Adam could be to Walter Hamda’s DCEU what Black Panther was for the MCU, and what Wonder Woman was to the DCEU’s old guard. Simply put, Collet-Serra’s film could become a cultural phenomenon. For that to happen, there’s at least one issue Black Adam must avoid. It’s an issue Exodus: Gods And Kings, Gods of Egypt, and many other films failed to avoid, what Black Panther got right: Cultural representation.

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Adam is an African-born slave turned warrior who served under the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II in the city of Kahndaq. The fictional city is located between Egypt and Jordan. The most pivotal character to Black Adam is the Wizard. Djimon Hounsou played the role in Shazam!; he should reprise. Another important character to Adam’s origins is Blaze, the half-daughter of the Shazam.

In the pages of DC Comics, Blaze gave Adam the gifts of the Egyptian gods. Prince Khufu aka Hawkman, was an Egyptian native and based on the rumors, we know the character will make an appearance along with the other Justice Society of America members. Thus, it’s important to cast actors of color for both Khufu and Blaze.

Even in today’s society where cultural awareness is prevalent, there aren’t enough superheroes of color. Any time a film has an opportunity to address the lack of representation, it should. So far, Collet-Serra is on the right track with Noah Centineo playing Atom Smasher. Still, it’s important to continue the trend with most of the cast. However, the film must also boast a great story – something that Black Adam certainly has.

Doing Black Adam’s story justice

The blockbuster hopeful must take the character’s comic book history seriously. We know the JSA will play a role, but we need more. Collet-Serra could draw inspiration from 2019’s Joker. We need to watch the birth of a villain with empathy while coming away conflicted, but also understanding why.

Furthermore, Adam’s story should depict a man with a purpose, a vision to free the oppressed by any means necessary especially considering where he came from. This is something The Rock has discussed in the past.

"“I love that he starts off as a slave, that he felt like he was wronged. I’ve just loved that backstory. I think that Black Adam has always been, to me, the most intriguing superhero.”"

We need the intertwining story of struggle, family, friendship, betrayal, and the fight for power. In the end, Black Adam could just be about explosions, magic, and catchphrases. But why should it be a superficial hero flick when it can capture all of that by also being so much more?

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What would you like to see from Black Adam? Let us know in the comments below!