This Is Why Black Adam's Flight Looks Different From Other Superhero Movies

Look out, folks, there's a new antihero in town ... and no, it's not just Taylor Swift.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has spent over a decade trying to get his pet project "Black Adam" off the ground, making it all the more surreal that we've finally reached the point where we can say that the DC superhero antihero movie is currently playing in theaters worldwide. All along, we've been told ad nauseam that this will be the film to "change the hierarchy of power" in the DC Universe (check this out for a spoilery look at whether the end result actually managed to pull that off or not!), putting tons of pressure on "Black Adam" to set itself apart from the rest of this comic book movie "genre" and do something radically different.

The jury is still out on whether Johnson and director Jaume Collet-Serra actually accomplished this or not – /Film's review by our very own Witney Seibold lands squarely on the "not" end of that little spectrum — but in the micro, there's at least one technical aspect involved in the making of "Black Adam" that actually might prove this film to be a trendsetter of sorts.

As one might expect, "Black Adam" is packed with explosive action and elaborate set pieces, from Black Adam taking on teams of mercenaries and soldiers who never stood a chance, to the spectacle of the Justice Society of America teaming up to take him down. While audiences will undoubtedly gravitate towards this film for The Rock's star power, the promise of that mid-credits tease, or the novelty of seeing James Bond himself, Pierce Brosnan, trading quips in a stylized comic book-inspired world, one wholly unique filmmaking technique might go unnoticed: the groundbreaking method used to capture footage of Black Adam flying.

'We wanted to disrupt this superhero genre'

In a rowdy and thoroughly entertaining group interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dwayne Johnson and the rest of the core cast of "Black Adam" opened up about the experience of filming this blockbuster romp. When asked about the process of capturing superpowers in motion and whether members of the ensemble found themselves resorting to the tried-and-true process of wirework, a method used for countless blockbuster films and especially comic book movies, The Rock revealed a neat insight into how "Black Adam" took a different approach to capture its main protagonist in flight. 

As it turns out, director Jaume Collet-Serra collaborated with his leading man to shake things up a bit from previous superhero movies. As the Rock put it:

"There was one thing I really appreciated about Jaume, and I feel like this was really a reflection of how we all felt and how we wanted to disrupt this superhero genre — with all due respect to all the amazing superhero movies before us. One of the issues that we all had, specifically Jaume, was that with flying, they're all on cables and wires. So, there's this unique tilt that sometimes happens that really bugged him. He said, 'If I can create a way to make you fly where you're literally [horizontal] the whole time, and I put you in front of really highly-advanced technological LED lights where you could fly through the city ... would you be open to that?' I said, 'Of course I would.' So, I never got on any wires. I was on this really cool advanced machine that allowed me to lay flat."

Though it might not seem like a major deviation from the norm, it's clear that the cast and crew felt the difference. In fact, Johnson goes on to explain how this change informed his performance.

'He likes to levitate and float and make people look up at him'

It's one thing for filmmakers to push the limits of their chosen genre and introduce new technical methods to improve filming conditions for their stars. It's another thing entirely to make those advancements work in perfect concert with the actual script. When asked by co-star Pierce Brosnan about the exact kind of setup involved in shooting these flight scenes, Johnson replied that it was a "machine that was created for our movie." Impressively, the fact that the rig allowed The Rock to act unencumbered by wires actually played into how he brought the character to life. According to Johnson:

"One of the cool things about Black Adam is that he plays psychological chess with people, so he likes to levitate and float and make people look up at him. Which is a cool G move. He looks down at people. So, I was on this mechanical arm, and everyone here had the unfortunate experience of looking up at me."

Thanks to the scope and scale involved in most stories, superhero productions famously tend to rely on a lot of green screens and other practical realities of a film set — all of which could threaten to break immersion for the cast. With this seemingly minor tweak, the cast and crew of "Black Adam" joined forces to help foster the best possible environment to tell this unique story of such a unique character.

"Black Adam" is currently playing in theaters.