Black Adam trailer brings DC’s antihero and the JSA to the frontline for an epic clash of titans

https://youtube.com/watch?v=j2-4EEg5Mwo

The journey to Black Adam has been one over a decade in the making. Development started in the early 2000s, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson even showing interest in the role as far back as 2007. Over the years of development, the character went from the main antagonist to the hero Shazam, all the way to an anti-hero to capitalize on The Rock’s stardom. But the world has a funny way of working, and the film has been delayed countless times, both due to Covid and the lack of available VFX shops.

Yet with everything working against it, here we finally are: A little over a month and a half away from the release of Black Adam, and the buzz has certainly been strong. Johnson finally joining the superhero genre was always going to bring some intrigue but add that he’s going against type and playing an anti-hero? That sound you just heard was a ton of movie fans (myself included) signing right on up. Because while I’ve enjoyed his work over the years, I’ve been desperate to see him try different roles, and Black Adam appears to be about as different as you can get. Because boy is this character mean.

The screen at the Black Adam Trailer #2 event.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Warner Bros. lot to watch the brand spanking new trailer (which you can find embedded above). The first trailer was released in June and gave us a glimpse at the world that The Rock has been forging with his Jungle Cruise director, Jaume Collet-Serra. But this second trailer finally expands upon that and provides a deeper look at the Justice Society, specifically Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman. And boy, does it look good.

Like the first trailer, we are given a brief look at how the Black Adam character came to be. But this one finally gives us a better idea of the story of Black Adam: The Justice Society is tasked with taking on the newly released titular bad dude, who has a weird idea for justice (hint: he likes to kill people). So there are some great action set pieces with Black Adam and Hawkman duking it out. Despite Hawkman looking quite impressive, Black Adam seems to make easy work of everything. The real question is: can anyone match up to this behemoth?

I’m sure that answer will come from the main villain, Sabbac, finally revealed here. And he’s got a wonderfully demonic look to him. Clearly, they were using Satan as inspiration for this design, and it works well. While he’s only featured a little bit in the trailer, his look definitely draws your eye. The scale of the film is absurdly grand, with absolutely breathtaking visuals. It’s clear they really wanted this one to stand out against the other Superhero films being released. And boy does it. While it does suffer a bit from the Michael Bay love of orange and blue tints, the rest of the film looks very unique. There are a few things that reminded me of the aesthetics in Shazam, but otherwise, this feels like a fresh take on a comic book film that has been sorely needed.

The real highlight of the trailer is seeing just what a force of nature Johnson’s Black Adam really is. The speed at which he moves and the power with which he punches are absolutely adrenaline-pumping. I genuinely can’t wait to see him completely dismantle bad guys. We also get a look at Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, which, given the flux of DC films right now, it’s nice to have some kind of bridge to the rest of the cinematic universe. We know that Waller is safe for now.

(L-R) Aldis Hodge, Quintessa Swindell, and Sarah Shahi laugh at an answer from Mo Ammer at the Black Adam trailer #2 event.

Joining us for a Q&A after the trailer were Aldis Hodge (Hawkman), Sarah Shahi, Quintessa Swindell (Cyclone), and Mohammed Amer. Aldis and Mo were absolutely the stars of the show and had us laughing throughout. Everyone needs to prepare themselves for how good Hodge’s Hawkman comes across here. Because we’ve been treated to several different iterations of the character on television, but this will be his first movie experience. Aldis actually touched on this a bit:

It’s weird because there is a lot of history to figure out. Where to start with this character for me and for what we did, talking to Juame about what the direction on the narrative was. It really came down to what we know and love as fans, but then also how it works and to where we find them. With Black Adam in this space. I can’t give away the cookies and the detail everybody got with Carter, so I ain’t gonna say nothing. I’m a just say where we start. It’s a great place for people who know and love [the character]. You know what this is, but also who are looking to discover when it comes to the Justice Society, when it comes to what we are and how we’re moving in, how we live in this world with Black Adam. So it’s like if you’re a fan, you’re going to get what you want, you’re going to get what you need. If you’re not a fan, if you don’t know anything about this, you’re going to get everything you need to know to learn about what this is, right? And you’re going to become a fan. So for me, they started this character and this team in the exact right spot for making this whole thing just take off.

With the inclusion of the Justice Society, it was inevitable that some other super groups like Avengers and Justice League would be brought up. Hodge had a great response to this, even getting playfully annoyed at the Justice League comparison: “Let’s get that straight. Justice Society. Well, [they’re] the very first superhero team in existence of ever.” He does have a point. This is why I’m sure there are plenty of comic fans like myself who are just excited to see this team explored on the big screen. Another intriguing aspect is that this isn’t the formation of the JSA. Hawkman and Brosnan’s Dr. Fate have been part of the team for years, with people like Atom Smasher and Cyclone just joining the crew.

Sarah Shahi and Mo Ammer’s characters are brother and sister, with Shahi’s Adrianna leading a resistance movement. She talked about how Adrianna is very excited about the emergence of Black Adam, due to her knowledge on the mythical being, stating: “You know, she kind of becomes the Black Adam Wrangler in a sense. #BlackAdamRangler.” Ammer’s Kareem is a brand new character and seems to mostly be used for comic relief, but Mo also described him as having a bit of heart:

I just absolutely love this character. I think he’s just the sweetest, has the purest of intentions, doesn’t want to get involved with anything. He doesn’t want to be a part of anything. I love when I read the line of “he just wants to watch Westerns and wants no part of anything.” And then of course, my sister, she just wants to meddle in all the shit and get us involved in trying to save, you know, bring justice back to the country. And of course, I follow because I do as I’m told. But he’s pure, he’s sweet.

While neither of them were present for the Q&A, the cast had nothing but amazing things to say about both Pierce Brosnan and Dwayne Johnson. This comes as no surprise given their stellar reputations in Hollywood, but it’s always nice to have it confirmed. Then there was Noah Centino, who the cast also gushed about, with Shahi saying, “Noah is like a puppy. His energy is so playful and so up.” Although Ammer added that Centino always stole his snacks, which hilariously mirrors his character, Atom Smasher, who has a love for food. They claim he’s going to be a standout in the film, but he’s not featured much in the trailer so only time will tell.

Quintessa Swindell’s Cyclone isn’t featured much either and has yet to really get a spotlight. Whether this is indicative of her small role or just something they’re hoping to save more for the film itself is anyone’s guess, but I’m really intrigued to see what she does with the role. She had an interesting perspective on her team’s sense of justice:

She’s the newcomer on the team, along with Atom Smasher, it’s this experience of knowing about Hawkman and seeing the things that he’s done and seeing superheroes as being, you know-I don’t know how to say it exactly, but there’s there’s right and there’s wrong. And then, you know, there’s no gray area. And I think when she’s introduced to Black Adam over the course of the film, there’s kind of this bubbling question that happens of: “Are we on the right side and is good and bad so black and white? Or is there kind of this gray area that you can function within?” That isn’t necessarily indicative of how we see justice. You know, are there other means that we can receive justice that works for this community and this group that’s faced like such like hardship?

And finally, we got a little bit of insight from Aldis into how they’ve planned for the future of Hawkman (as well as the Black Adam world as a whole) through character-work, versus simply adding easter eggs:

So we spent most of that time creating a style for Hawkman to take from here. And then, you know, if we’re blessed to do more, be able to build on top of that and elevate it, become and make something that you haven’t seen in film yet. Because I grew up on action movies. I mean, my dudes are like, you know, [Sho] Kosugi, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, those are my dudes, you know what I’m saying? And I love what they do. So it’s like stepping into this. You want to put down an imprint that impressed or inspired you.  What that was and the approach to not making the powers dominant force. Because without the powers, Carter Hall is still Hawkman. What are the powers? They are an extension of the beast that he is. So we’re flipping it to where he is, the weapon in the room. And then when you have the powers, you’re going to see a completely different arsenal of, you know, he’s a one-man army. And that’s the thing that I love is that we get to really change the scope of how we see that portrayed.

(L-R) Quintessa Swindell, Aldis Hodge, Mo Ammer, and Sarah Shahi pose for a photo at the Black Adam Trailer #2 event.

And that’s when they wrapped up the Q&A portion and allowed us to take a photo of the cast. With how much fun the repartee was between these four during this, I can’t wait to see how they interact on the big screen. They clearly had an absolute blast filming this and their respect for Dwayne Johnson (lovingly referred to by everyone as DJ with a huge smile on their face) is really admirable. Here’s hoping each of these cast members gets their moment to shine.

As the man behind our DC Revisited series, I can’t say enough how excited I am for Black Adam. It feels like we’re There have been some struggles with DC over the last decade, which seems to be on the right path with talents such as James Gunn and Matt Reeves joining the fray. Whether The Rock’s Black Adam is able to reach those milestones is anyone’s guess, but I know I’ll be in the theater to find out. What are your thoughts on this trailer? Are you going to be seeing Black Adam in cinemas? Sound off below!

Black Adam is ONLY IN THEATERS on OCTOBER 21st.

About the Author

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Tyler Nichols is a horror fanatic who resides in Michigan and is always on the hunt for the next great film. When not scouring the internet for movie news, he is usually off watching something dark, writing nonsensical musings, or playing in some fantastical video game world. While horror takes up most of his time, he still makes time for films of all types, with a certain affinity for the strange and unusual. He’s also an expert on all things Comic Book Cinema. In addition to reviews and interviews here on JoBlo.com, Tyler also helps with JoBlo Horror Originals where he’s constantly trying to convince viewers to give lesser-known horror films a chance.