Actor Sarah Shahi says Black Adam will be funnier than most people imagine. Helmed by Jaume Collet-Serra, the hotly anticipated DCEU movie will mark the superhero debut of former WWE superstar and Hollywood’s most bankable actor, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Johnson has been attached to play the titular Man in Black since 2014, but plans for his anti-hero were iterated through several creative changes, and now his solo film is finally set to see the light of the day. Besides Johnson, Black Adam introduces the Justice Society of America (JSA), an organization of underrated superheroes who seek to fight for the good.
Black Adam will see the emergence of Johnson’s Kahndaqian warrior 5000 years after his family was killed and he was wrongfully imprisoned. A more changed man than he was five millenniums ago, Johnson’s Adam unleashes his wrath on the modern world and goes on an unhinged rampage. His brutality catches the attention of the JSA, whose members Hawkman, Atom Smasher, Cyclone, and – played by Doctor Fate Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Quintessa Swindell, and Pierce Brosnan – respectively, attempt to negotiate a peace agreement. Amid JSA’s attempts to help the titular warrior understand that he can use his powers for a greater cause, Black Adam also crosses paths with Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi), who is leading the resistance movement against the villainous Intergang in Kahndaq. In the most recent Black Adam trailer, Adrianna teaches Adam the difference between justice and revenge. Although the story seemed a bit weighty and stirring, the movie is seemingly entertaining and energetic.
In an interview with Collider, Shahi revealed that while Black Adam has its share of heavy-going and morality-challenging drama, the helmer, Collet-Serra, has balanced out the seriousness with some high-spirited, hilarious scenes. Thus, the movie will be funnier than many expect, with the hilarity and gravity proportioned so that nothing feels too overwhelming. Read what Shahi said below.
…he [Collet-Serra] brought to light things that weren’t on the page, things that I didn’t see probably, you know, and they’re funny or they’re this like, I’m just really excited for you guys to be able to experience it even just as a comedy. Like yes, it’s, it’s dark too but…it’s very adult in that sense that it really can offer the comedy and the drama at the same time equally.
It’s been a clear precedent in the DCEU that oft-too solemn movies don’t usually click with the audiences. The grim and dark tone of previous tentpoles, like Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the 2017 movie Justice League were greatly criticized by viewers, whereas the reception to the lighter and fun tones of recent films like Aquaman and Shazam! have received rave responses, with the dark humor of The Suicide Squad particularly earning it glowing reviews last year. Of course, in Black Adam, the stakes are quite different, and the backstory of the titular anti-hero is decidedly tragic, so the humor cannot be as playful and cheery as it has been in some past DCEU films. Instead, it seems that the comedy will be more mature, stemming mainly from the vain interactions between Black Adam, The Justice Society of America, and Intergang as each party vies to achieve its goals in the movie.
While Black Adam incorporates some elements of comedy, which have become a staple for blockbuster superhero films, the hilarious moments hopefully won’t undermine the dramatic and darker stories the movie seeks to chart. As trailers for the film have earlier shown, Black Adam tackles some hard-hitting themes that are relevant to the contemporary world. It also treats its arcs about revenge, justice, and redemption very seriously. But, at least in those clips, the story never comes off as depressing; instead, all the scenes are bustling with a vigor imbued by the characters’ solid delivery of sidesplitting one-liners and their sarcastic exchanges. The tone of Black Adam sets it apart from all other superhero movies, and this refreshing storytelling style will surely help the film win fans over when it opens in theaters next month.