The newest entry in the DC Extended Universe, “Black Adam,” starring Dwayne Johnson, has been hyped as a “new phase” and a “change in the hierarchy” for the embattled comic book franchise. Ultimately, director Jaume Collet-Serra's film is far more entertaining than it has any right to be. The box office agrees, with the movie raking in $71.5 million during its first four days in theaters.
It helps that “Black Adam” has a distinct and dynamic visual style and tone that distinguishes itself against the “Marvel House Style” we’ve become accustomed to over many, many phases of superhero flicks, which have devolved into a depressing digital sludge offset by an onslaught of cutesy, quippy dialogue. In “Black Adam,” the setting is a bustling Middle Eastern city, the cinematography and digital effects crisp and saturated, the action brutal and bruising enough to test that PG-13 rating, and the quips judiciously are metered out.