We totally called this, by the way.
Following extensive meetings between DC Entertainment and superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, it’s been announced that, instead of simply playing the villain in Shazam!, Johnson will instead lead his own solo movie about Black Adam, Shazam/Captain Marvel’s nemesis.
Anyone who’s been paying attention to Johnson’s progress on the film will hardly find this surprising. The Rock has been incredibly eager to talk about his plans for the character of Black Adam, even going so far as to hint at a possible battle between the character and Superman. By contrast, there’s been absolutely no mention from Johnson as to how Shazam (formerly known as Captain Marvel) will fit into his own movie.
It was only a matter of time, we reasoned, before Johnson gave up the silly pretense of wanting to make a Shazam movie, and just embraced his true goal of playing the lead character in his own movie as the antihero Black Adam.
Longtime fans of DC comics, of course, will question whether Black Adam really is as much of a hero as Johnson seems to claim. For much of his history, Black Adam has been a fairly traditional villain, only receiving a slightly more sympathetic origin and motivation during the New 52 comic reboot a few years ago.
It seems that this is the version of the character that Johnson has fallen in love with, as he’s openly talked about his excitement to play a slave-turned-superhuman, calling Black Adam “the most intriguing superhero”.
All of this leads to the simple question of just how much of a bad guy Black Adam will be in the DCEU. It’s been reported that Johnson’s character will no longer show up as the main villain of the Shazam! movie when it finally arrives (although don’t count on it any time soon, as DC’s hopes are likely pinned on Black Adam instead for the moment).
What’s more, the incredibly famous Dwayne Johnson has spent his fair share of time playing a villain in the wrestling ring, but in recent years he’s more often than not taken on the role of wise, friendly hero in the majority of his movies.
This being the case, DC fans should anticipate a softer, gentler Black Adam than they might be familiar with – especially considering Johnson’s plan to bring “hope, optimism & FUN” to the DCEU with his upcoming movie.
Increasingly, it seems that the moral balance of the DCEU is somewhat skewed. The villains like Deadshot and Harley Quinn are far more likeable and sympathetic than mopey Superman or murderific Batman, and with Black Adam making a similar transformation into a hero rather than a villain, things get even further from the tone of the comic book source material.
But hey, in a world where the champion of Truth, Justice, and the American Way is willing to punch people through walls, and Batman has no problem firing guns or locking people in rooms with grenades, perhaps a nobler, more heroic Black Adam is what the DCEU is missing.
He might not be the hero we deserve, but he’s definitely what we need right now.