Warner Bros. Discovery faces multiple challenges that threaten the success of their entertainment empire. Changes to the streaming service HBO Max, the Batgirl cancelation, and the redirection of the DC Extended Universe have all negatively impacted the studio’s reputation. Despite attempts to re-approach the model through different creative perspectives, the DC Extended Universe has yet to establish a consistent cinematic universe. The main issue seems to be the lack of consistent quality over time.
Black Adam, the latest addition to the DC Extended Universe, features a solid performance from Dwayne Johnson as the titular anti-hero. However, the chemistry between the cast members falls short, with the Justice Society of America lacking meaningful substance. The humourless, hollow screenplay fails to balance the dramatic intensity with the comedic beats that made Shazam! successful. The film’s overall aimlessness and narrative misdirection warn that CGI-ed mass destruction is not enough to rebuild a brand.
The superficiality of Black Adam contradicts any signs of progression for the DC Extended Universe, accusing them of misusing their characters. The film presents a bare-boned and uninspired “good vs. bad” narrative without much of a story to support it. There’s a disregard for audience expectations, needs, or desires, relying on expensive-looking excuses for an origin story. While the post-credits scene featuring a thrilling cameo may excite DC fans, it does not make up for the film’s overall shortcomings.
In conclusion, Black Adam’s solid performance from Dwayne Johnson is overshadowed by its aimlessness, lack of chemistry, humourless screenplay, and narrative misdirection. Warner Bros. Discovery and their DC Film team must focus on crafting comprehensive works of fiction that meet audience expectations, needs, and desires, rather than relying on high-volume talent to attach themselves to projects.