A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie poses (but doesn't follow up on) interesting questions about good and evil, such as who decides what's good and what's evil, and is itOK to cross the line between the two if good comes out of it? Also: What if there's no such thing as absolutes?
Positive Role Models
The superheroes are all brave and try to do what they think is right, even though they sometimes make mistakes. And they all seem open to learning, even if things are sometimes ambiguous. Adrianna is central to the plot, both as a voice for moral inquiry about military occupation and political resistance and for family unity.
The setting of Kahndaq is a fictional place, but it's populated by a diverse group of actors/characters, including star Dwayne Johnson, co-stars Aldis Hodge and Sarah Shahi, and many more. Women characters have power and agency, especially Adrianna, who is a strong, brave leader. The main group of superheroes does include two White men. But the movie's story puts decisions in the hands of local people, rather than White interlopers. A heavyset character is portrayed as lovably comic/ridiculous.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
High body count, and lots of guns and shooting. Characters get shot, and there are bloody wounds. Frequent fighting, punching, kicking, bashing against surfaces, hitting with blunt objects. Character grabbed by throat, electrocuted, turned into skeleton. Character sliced by blade. Child shot with arrow. Severed hand. Character stabbed and thrown over cliff, with blood trailing after him. A character thrown from a mountaintop lands with an icky thud. Cars and other vehicles crash. Zombies. Some symbology/imagery traditionally associated with satanism.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sporadic use of "s--t," "ass," "bastard," "piss," "damn," "hell."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Several posters and toys for various DC characters are seen in a boy's bedroom. FedEx sign shown.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Black Adam is a DC Extended Universe superhero movie, and a spin-off from Shazam!. Dwayne Johnson stars as the title character, who was originally a supervillain in DC comics. The movie has a diverse cast and asks interesting questions about heroes and villains, but it ultimately becomes a dull smash-and-bash-fest without much time for character development or anything else. Expect large-scale action violence, with explosions/destruction, guns and shooting, and lots of fighting. Many characters (including women and children) are killed, sometimes in gruesome -- though bloodless -- ways: electrocution, stabbing, etc. Language includes occasional use of "s--t," "ass," "bastard," "piss," "damn," and "hell." There's a bit of flirting, and several posters and toys depicting other DC characters are shown in a boy's room. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Occasionally exploring themes of what it means to be heroic or villainous, with shades of gray in between, this superhero movie collapses into a boring bash-fest with barely any time to breathe. Like many other villain-as-protagonist movies, ranging from Venom and Morbius to Maleficent and Cruella, Black Adam takes the opportunity to explore such questions as "Who decides who the 'good guy' is?" And "Is it OK to hurt people if some good comes out of it?" Unfortunately, once the movie asks those questions, it forgets all about them as the characters whiz around the screen, hammering away at one another, as well as any solid object that happens to be in the way. In this movie, bodies and debris soar far more frequently than viewers' spirits.
It's safe to say that the majority of Black Adam's running time consists of fights, chases or battles, and sections of blocky exposition. Much is made of what's supposed to be a tender friendship between Hawkman and Dr. Fate, but we never feel this; it's only told to us through dialogue and goopy music in rare moments between punches. The same goes for a sweet friendship/romance between Cyclone and Atom Smasher; it's just too scarce and fragmented to amount to much. Even the human characters are cookie cutters, from the generic movie "kid" to the lovably comic uncle, rotund and ridiculous (though the actors playing both parts give them their all!). As far as Black Adam goes, those who enjoy The Rock's comedic chops and charismatic smirk may be surprised to encounter an antihero who's stoic in the face of loss and trauma. Unfortunately, though, viewers never really learn who he is or what he wants to be, and that question is ultimately less intriguing than it is uninteresting.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.