A prolonged wait of one and a half decades comes to an end as “Black Adam” is finally released worldwide, 15 years after Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was cast as the titular anti-hero. As DC Extended Universe, aka DCEU, moves forward in a rehashed, more coherent territory under the leadership of recently formed Warner Bros-Discovery, “Black Adam” plays a pivotal part in creating a bridge between older and newer continuity. We will briefly discuss the plot progression and how the ending sets the roadmap for the larger, more stable continuity of the DCEU.
What Happens In The ‘Black Adam’ Film?
“Black Adam” as a character is closely associated with DC superhero Shazam, as both of them were imbued with powers of Gods by the council of wizards. The movie opens in 2600 BC, in the ancient country of Kahndaq, which predated all known civilizations. Once a resourceful nation, the country fell prey to the tyranny of King Ahk-Ton, who enslaved the people of the country. He forced the populace to search for a rare metal with mystical properties called Eternium. The king wished to utilize the metal to forge the crown of Sabbac, a relic that could provide its wielder great power. From among the oppressed countrymen, a young boy rose as a symbol of revolt. Sensing danger, the king captured and almost publicly executed the boy when magical lightning struck and transported him to the council of wizards. The Wizards chose the boy as the champion of magic and channeled the power of the Gods into him to turn him into Teth-Adam (Exactly how Billy Batson was chosen as the next champion of magic in “Shazam”). The champion went on to end the king’s reign, and his legend made him a heroic figure in Kahndaq.
The movie brings the audience back to the present day when Kahndaq is still being controlled by yet another oppressive force, this time the international crime mercenary organization Intergang. We meet Professor/Archaeologist Adrianna Tomaz, who is assisted by her colleague Ishmael and brother Karim in her quest to find the crown of Sabbac to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. After locating and retrieving the crown, they are ambushed by the Intergang. In an attempt to avoid a certain deadly situation, Adrianna reads an incantation engraved in the tomb’s ground, which summons the Teth Adam. As Teth Adam breaks free, he brutally slaughters an entire troop of Intergang before succumbing to an Eternium-laced rocket wound. Adrianna and Karim bring Adam to their home to aid him.
Elsewhere, Task Force X director Amanda Waller (whom we had last seen in “Peacemaker”) informs Carter Hall, aka Hawkman, about the recent developments regarding Adam. Carter calls in fellow ‘Justice Society’ team member and friend Kent Nelson, aka Doctor Fate, and recruits young heroes Cyclone and Atom Smasher to subdue Black Adam.
Adrianna’s son Amon looks up to Teth Adam and considers him to be the mythical hero of Kahndaq, who has returned to liberate the country from invading oppressors. A reluctant Black Adam, who is still processing the time gap in a self-reflective state, denies Amon’s pleas and moves out. Amon manages to get into a scuffle with mercenaries, which prompts Adam to engage with Intergang once again. The Justice Society enters Kahndaq almost at the same time and confronts Adam. They engage in a battle and almost manage to subdue him for a brief period when it becomes clear to the citizens of Kahndaq that their own champion is a more favorable ally as compared to the Justice Society, who, in Adrianna’s words, was not present to protect against invading forces like Intergang. Fate senses Adrianna has the crown, and he, along with Carter, urges her to hand it over to them, a plea which she declines, and it turns out she has already sent Amon back home with it.
JSA goes to negotiate with Adam in Adrianna’s presence. They had already revealed the truth about Adam to her, that all those years ago, a burst of power stemming from his uncontrollable rage destroyed Kahndaq almost completely and that the people of Kahndaq were mistaken to idolize Adam as a hero. Meanwhile, Amon returns home to find Ishmael has gone rogue for ulterior motives. He shoots Karim and gives Amon a chase. Adrianna is informed about the situation by Amon, who is kidnapped by Intergang’s advanced rider squad. JSA and Adam’s attempt to find Amon fails. Adam’s method of using lethal force and intimidation enrages Hawkman, who engages in a brawl with him and accidentally reveals the crown that was hidden by Amon. They make their way to Intergang’s biggest refuge, where Amon is held captive and contemplates trading the crown with him. En route, Fate states a premonition of Carter’s death.
After JSA, Adrianna and Adam reach the place, Ishmael reveals himself to be the tyrant king’s heir. Despite getting his hands on the crown that Adrianna gave to him, he shoots Amon. In his effort to save Amon, Adam loses control and destroys the entire venue, killing Ishmael. The JSA manages to save both Amon and his mother, but the latter seems to have become injured. A guilt-ridden Adam confesses the whole truth that his son, Hurut, was the chosen champion. In an effort to protect his father, Hurut gave away his powers to his father and was slain by the king’s assassins. A vengeful Adam destroyed Kahndaq out of rage and was subsequently banished by the wizards. Adam feels he never deserved the powers as he never could become the symbol of hope his son was and surrenders to JSA. They take him to the underwater hideout of Task Force X, where he is put under suspended animation. Fate continues to experience visions of Carter’s death.
Demons of the ancient world reincarnate the dead Ishmael as the demonic Sabbac. JSA reaches to fight the demon, but Doctor Fate keeps them outside to alter the course of the future. After an emotional farewell, Fate engages with Sabbac on his own and dies but manages to free Adam using astral projection. Teth Adam and Hawkman work together to kill the demon. Finally, JSA reconciles with Adam, and the latter destroys the king’s throne to emphasize his role as a protector, not as a ruler.
‘Black Adam’: Ending Explained – Man of Steel Makes A Cameo
In the mid-credits scene of “Black Adam,” the continuity of the DCEU is properly re-established. Amanda Waller communicates with Adam to threaten him not to cross his country’s borders, or he’ll not live to see the day. In his arrogance, Adam tells her that there is no person on the planet who can stop him or match his powers. Quickly Amanda replies that there are other beings on Earth that have come from different planets who are more powerful than Adam himself, probably hinting at Superman. And soon, Superman descends to Kahndaq to negotiate terms with him. The movie ends with a smug smirk on Adam’s face.
Ever since Rock started promoting “Black Adam,” he has said time and again that they have been listening to what fans want and what they think can work in the movie. Henry Cavill’s version of Superman is one of the most beloved characters in the DCEU, and due to scheduling conflicts or other reasons, the version was put on the sideline for too long. With the new management’s priority on Trinity (Supes, WW, Batsy) based projects, hopefully, Henry will continue this version of Superman. Rock, along with his manager, had spent years making the Superman tease a reality. Fans have been waiting for too long, almost since 2017, and after seeing Henry in the mid-credit scene, donning a classic color palette suit and a supes-approved dialogue to greet Adam, they will be elated.
Amanda Waller, on the other hand, has been calling the shots for quite a while now. Earlier, she commanded Task Force X, which was under her directorship. In this movie and in the Peacemaker series, we see she can ask for a favor from the Justice League also, and as it turns out, they don’t budge. She also debriefed the Adam situation to JSA, which suggests a prior connection too. After Black Adam’s unchecked violence wreaks havoc and they are unable to contain him, Amanda Waller tries to negotiate through the process of intimidation. The movie does a good job of making pre-Snyder and post-Snyder elements assimilate.
Whether Rock has managed to change the hierarchy of power or not, a hierarchy shift in the DC office is in effect. Walter Hamada has left, and a sequel to 2013’s “Man of Steel” is being considered. Also, producer Hiram Garcia has informed us that they are already looking forward to a sequel. So far, DCEU was suffering from a disjointed, almost nonexistent continuity. After the release of “Black Adam,” connectivity has somehow been established.