Fri. Aug 12th, 2022

I was lucky enough to be invited with a select group of press for an in-person, exclusive sneak peek of the first official trailer for Black Adam. The event took place on Warner Bros. Studios Lot in advance of its public debut this morning. The trailer reveal was then followed by a very intimate Q/A with star/producer Dwayne Johnson, director Jaume Collet-Serra and producers Beau Flynn and Hiram Garcia. It’s very clear from the enthusiasm of Dwayne Johson and his team that this is a comic book adaptation made with passion and honor to the mythology of the character and the source material.

The trailer was introduced to us in a small theater on the Lot by Tiffany Smith. Her infectious personality was perfect to lead this very special presentation as you could tell that she’s a true comic book fan and she was just happy to have us all there in person and ready to take this experience in. Tiffany informed us that we would be viewing the trailer not once but twice so we could truly take in what we were seeing and maybe give us more than one opportunity to discover any potential Easter Eggs. Soon the lights were dimmed and the trailer was revealed.

This is is the kind of trailer that is bound to get fans pumped for Black Adam. From the eye-popping visuals to the bombastic music that consistently builds as the trailer moves along, there is a sense that this is a comic book adaptation that is tackling something a bit different, particularly for its star, Dwayne Johnson. Black Adam being more of an anti-hero has become more and more apparent as the film’s release draws closer and this aspect of the character is on display in this first look. You may see some of Dwayne Johnson’s signature intensity but it’s presented with a bit more edge. Judging from what we’ve seen so far, there won’t be many quips. This is a character grounded in a greater sense of purpose. He’s described as “unconventional, uncompromising, fueled by the depths of his pain to avenge his family.” We don’t get the full sense of this from the trailer but we see the seeds of it and what makes Black Adam potentially one of the more interesting comic book properties to be put to film.

In terms of visuals, I was in awe by how visually stunning the film already looks. We have seen some set photos and images that convey this but the trailer makes it clear that they’re taking the visuals to new heights. Images of Black Adam flying along jet planes look seamless and the movie already looks like it’s going to have a much different visual palette from what we’ve seen from the DC Universe.

In addition to seeing Johnson as Black Adam, we also catch glimpses of the Justice Society of America (JSA) including Aldis Hodge, whose Hawkman looks like a visual wonder during some instances of the trailer, and Pierce Brosnan as Kent Nelson/Doctor Fate, whose signature tone in the trailer makes it clear he was the perfect choice to take on this role. We also get Doctor Fate in costume donning his magical Helmet of Fate, which is bound to be one of the many money shots for fans.

After the trailer was viewed for us twice we were ushered to a small room for the Q/A with Dwayne Johnson, director Jaume Collet-Serra and producers Beau Flynn and Hiram Garcia. The Q/A was very intimate as their position on stage was very close to the small group of press that happened to be invited. Tiffany Smith moderated the Q/A and the chat, which ran a little over 45 minutes, was very informative.

First and foremost you can tell that this is a passion project for all involved. With the exception of director Jaume Collet-Serra, who became involved after directing Dwayne Johnson in Jungle Cruise, all of the parties have been involved with this project for the better part of a decade. When asked what made them bring this character and the JSA to the big screen, Johnson said it was an opportunity to bring a character to the masses that was truly unique:

“But when you look at the comics and the mythology, Black Adam was such a cool character with a really cool, interesting, unique backstory and also blessed with these incredible superpowers that a lot of people I felt like didn’t know. And when we were talking about it, you know, as I have been saying now, as you guys know for a few years now, like the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is gonna change. Like I was saying that years ago. And when we would talk to Warner Brothers one of our pitches was just that, like, you have a character here. I think that people would really gravitate towards. Let’s present it to the world. And also it’s not hyperbole. Like he is blessed with these powers that are so unique and awesome. He has the ability to change the hierarchy of power in the DC universe. And then coupled with that, it was the opportunity to take the JSA, who predated Justice League. And again, these awesome, interesting characters too, as well. Like we have the resources, we have the material, we have the IP. We collectively can get ahold of it and really take good ownership of it and present it to the world.”

The question of Black Adam being an anti-hero was also addressed and Johnson was asked since he’s known for playing more a good-guy action hero, if the role presented any particular challenges and if marketing a movie where he’s not the typical good guy would also be difficult. Johnson said, “I don’t know if it was so much a challenge as much as it was again, I’ll use the word opportunity to play a character and to embody a character that was somewhat of a large departure from what I have played in the past as many of you know.” The actor went on to express that the complex nature of his backstory is what really makes the character truly unique to play.

“I thought that there was something compelling to me about his backstory. He was held down as a slave and his family was enslaved and then to be able to bring that to the big screen, but then also finding the right director who had the right vision, who can really strike that tone. And balance is so important. Especially in the superhero genre, which has been so incredibly successful, as we all know over the years and decades in our business, how do we come in? How do we make it unique? How do we disrupt the genre a little bit? How do we turn it on its head? And how do we create a character who is at times a super villain at times, a superhero that walks that fine line of being an anti-hero, but then also how do we make sure that he is anchored in something that you don’t often hear too often as it relates to Black Adam, which is a love for his family.”

When the panel was asked how they will strike a balance between the introduction of the character to the unfamiliar and fans who are already acquainted with Black Adam, a little bit was revealed about how the original concept came to be. Johnson said that about five or six years ago, the plan was to introduce Shazam! and Black Adam in the same film. As some know, Black Adam becomes the archenemy of Shazam! and shares his powers with the ancient wizard of the same name. The film would’ve told both of their origin stories but when Johnson got the script, he felt immediately that these stories should be separated and given their own films to do the characters justice. At the end of the day, for Johnson, it was the only way to tell the stories respectfully.

Producers Beau Flynn and Hiram Garcia also expressed how it was easy to build up the cast on this project because Dwayne Johnson was front and center leading a comic book property. It made the task of reaching out to certain actors simpler because of the weight Johnson’s name carries. They said that Noah Centineo, who plays Atom Smasher, read alongside many talented actors but he proved to be the best for the part and they also said that his chemistry with Quintessa Swindell, who plays Maxine Hunkel/Cyclone, is also palpable. When it came to Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman, the actor was already in great physical shape but they said he came in even more jacked than they realized because that is just what happens when people come to play alongside Dwayne Johnson. Everyone is just fired up to put in their best and do the work.

Director Jaume Collett-Serra also spoke about the film’s visuals, which already appear to be pretty groundbreaking from the trailer, and he went into detail about some of the camera techniques that were used to capture the film’s unique look. He also mentioned that Dwayne Johson himself became a bit of a CG asset because of how multiple cameras were allowed to move around him in a 360-degree fashion. Johnson echoed Collett-Serra’s talk about the film’s visuals. Having worked on many films with special effects, he feels Black Adam has been his greatest experience in terms of that:

“Well, it was really extraordinary, you know, for me, I’ve been around the block and, you know, over the years, you know, worked on some pretty cool movies that had great technology. This by far was really the greatest experience. Technology-wise, innovation-wise, VFX-wise. I would go on set and some of these scenes where I’m flying, I would be put on the apparatus and I would start flying. And then not only did it allow [Cinematographer] Larry Sheer to be able to see the scene as I’m flying through the city or wherever I’m flying, I saw it too. 360 degrees where I would lean, the city would lean, I would fly around buildings, but I’m watching myself do this and controlling it. It was unbelievable.”

As the Q/A was drawing to a close, Johnson was asked the question that most performers are asked when they sign on for a superhero tentpole. Is he in this for the long haul? According to Johnson, he’s in this for even more storytelling possibilities and for expanding the DC Universe as a whole:

“I’m 100% committed to not only Black Adam, but then expanding the Black Adam universe, the DC universe. And you know, I am an, an optimist from the word go. So to me and to all of us up here, all universes exist in our heads and you know, I will, we all will work very hard to make sure again that we’re honoring the mythology, but also giving the fans what they want and I hear them, we all do right. And we pick up everything they’re putting down and it doesn’t get by me. It doesn’t get by these guys. So this is the beginning, hopefully, fingers crossed of a very long storytelling road that Black Adam is the anchoring jet fuel now that will then push and press this universe out.”

Judging from all that passion on stage and the glimpse of the film’s first trailer, it looks like fans are going to be in for a real treat with Black Adam. In a genre that has seen many types of superheroes grace the big screen, this one feels decidedly different and that is certainly a breath of fresh air.

Black Adam hits screens on October 21, 2022. What are YOUR thoughts on the first trailer?

By admin