Shazam! faces the same challenges that any comic book movie would face when it comes to its villains and antiheroes. A worthy adversary for the good guys can elevate a superhero story just like a weaker villain could make it fall flat. Hollywood megastar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is set to play Shazam’s arch nemesis Black Adam, a complex character with the potential to be one of the most compelling antiheroes in DC’s own cinematic universe.
Johnson did not take on the role of Black Adam as just another money-making vehicle. He coveted the role and specifically chose it despite having an opportunity to play the title character. He explained his reasoning for preferring to portray Black Adam in a new Q&A with fans, and made a bold statement about the character in the process.
Johnson answered a series of questions from fans in the comments section of his YouTube channel in a new Q&A, one of which asked what made him want the role of Black Adam. He expressed excitement about the character’s complicated origins, which to him make Black Adam one of the most rewarding roles an actor could play in a comic book movie.
“I love the role of Black Adam. I love that he starts off as a slave, that he felt like he was wronged. I just love that backstory, and I think that Black Adam has always been, for me, the most intriguing superhero.”
Clearly, Johnson was drawn to Black Adam’s status as more of an antihero than a villain, even going so far to describe him as a “superhero.” It’s likely that Black Adam’s narrative in the Shazam! movie closely follows that of the character in 2011’s The New 52, a reboot of the DC Comics universe. In that series, Black Adam is a slave who is gifted his powers then uses them to save his fellow citizens in the fictional nation of Kahndaq from evil forces.
It’s that complex life story that made Black Adam so, well, intriguing to Johnson in the first place. Using his powers to fight oppression makes him a more layered character than your standard, purely evil bad guy. Johnson has emerged in recent years as one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood; if he sees Black Adam as a heroic character, then he has a chance to portray one of the most likable antiheroes in recent memory.
Johnson has certainly grown into a magnetic presence on the big screen and his portrayal of Black Adam has loads of potential. But his performance will only be half the battle in Shazam! – Black Adam still needs to be written in compelling and coherent fashion for the character to work. While Johnson will definitely look the part, the most charismatic actors in the world could not save a bad script. But Johnson’s apparent enthusiasm for Black Adam and dedication to the role should have Shazam! fans excited.
Source: The Rock