‘Black Adam’ or — The Transubstantiation of the Violent Baby God?
I’m not a fan of superhero movies in the slightest however, unlike Martin Scorsese, I don’t view them as not being legitimate cinema. Obviously they’re legitimate cinema but it just so happens 99% of them are legitimately shit.
‘Black Adam’ (2022) is the latest entry into this infantile, fascistic, regressive, power-fantasy, when-will-these-films-go-away onslaught of movies and it might just be the purist distillation of everything the superhero flick represents yet — i.e. childish violence. This foundational and inescapable element of the genre means that even the more “adult”, darker, anti-hero leaning entries — e.g. ‘The Batman’ (2022), ‘Suicide Squad’ (2021), etc — are, ironically, still just as babyish as anything aimed at actual babies.
‘Black Adam’ embraces its berserk inner-toddler to such an extent that the result is like watching a roaring fifty-foot three-year-old jacked-up on PCP destroying their nursery. Black Adam kills people and we’re invited to cheer him along as he murders his way across the screen and that’s not simply a description of the colourful mayhem on display but also the film’s entire plot and reason for existing — Black Adam is grumpy from having been woken up from his nap-time and kicks off for two hours.
The Justice Society try to calm him down by punching him but that doesn’t work so Black Adam kills more people for our delight whilst the movie demonstrates to the audience that, by its handling of the action scenes, the superhero genre hasn’t moved on or developed one iota in the last fifteen years. The infant gods have eaten too much sugar and they must now destroy cinema itself.
And these infant gods do, indeed, destroy cinema and do so unrelentingly over the course of 125 minutes. As with all superhero movies there must be absolutely no character development, no growth, depth or meaning to any of this other than constant baby violence and ‘Black Adam’, through a sort of cinematic metousiosis, is the perfect manifestation of that spirit (imagine a fucked-up communion wafer that suddenly starts punching people in the face during the Eucharist and you’ve got an accurate idea of what this movie is like).
As countless more people are casually killed before our eyes, in the process forcing us ponder the Eschaton, we slowly realise that ‘Black Adam’ has no coherent form and is simply a closed system of crazed regurgitation and self-consumption like some insane sewage network cannibalistically guzzling on its own effluence (again, this might be the “perfect” superhero movie). However, it does all actually build to something and something specific and that is… the promise of more baby violence!
At the end violent baby Black Adam meets another violent baby and these two violent babies promise each other than in the next film they’ll continuously start punching each other over the course of two hours until the total entropy of cinema is complete.
So that’s ‘Black Adam’ and there is literally nothing more to say about it because there is literally nothing more to it. It’s another superhero movie and, like global warming, the available evidence suggests it’s all only going to get much, much worse.