Every Main Character In Black Adam Ranked Worst To Best

Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the movie "Black Adam."

"Black Adam" has finally arrived in theaters after a 15-year roller coaster of development hell, but was it worth the wait? Critics are mixed — you can see what /Film's own Witney Seibold thought about the film in his "Black Adam" review — while audiences seem far more receptive to the newest DC Extended Universe entry. Both agree that Dwayne Johnson is great as the titular hero, combining subtle dry humor with the stoicism of an antihero straight out of a Sergio Leone Western. Johnson has called this film a labor of love, and his passion and enthusiasm explode on the screen. He's having a ball; by default, most audience members will, too.

In addition to Black Adam, it's exciting to see classic heroes Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) make their big-screen debut. The movie's primary conflict is Black Adam's take-no-prisoners approach to the Intergang occupation of Kahndaq and the Justice Society showing up to reign him in. There are intriguing political themes, questions about what it means to be a hero, a demonic crown, a devil-horned big bad, and an action scene every 15 minutes. If this sounds a bit over-stuffed, it is, but it's also a metric ton of fun. With a movie jam-packed with so many heroes, humans, and villains, we wanted to take a swing at ranking every character in this action extravaganza from worst to best.

10. The big bad

One fault of "Black Adam" is a rushed villain arc where Intergang leader Ishmael Gregor transforms into the demonically super-powered Sabbac. We're led to believe Ishmael died when Black Adam was released, only for him to reappear with an army of Intergang soldiers searching for the Crown of Sabbac. He eventually reclaims the crown, and late-in-the-game reveals he is the last descendant of Anh-Kot (the original creator of the Crown of Sabbac). Black Adam kills Ishmael in a moment of uncontrolled rage, but that's precisely what Ishmael wanted. He is reborn as Sabbac, the demonic version of Black Adam with exponentially more power.

Sabbac has taken many forms in the comics, dating back decades, and has always been a main antagonist of Black Adam. The problem with his on-screen portrayal is that it feels tacked on, like Ares showing up at the end of "Wonder Woman." We don't get enough time to understand how powerful Sabbac is or what his endgame may be, except for the cliche destroy everything because I'm evil explanation. The end battle has some fun moments but gets too CGI-heavy and loses the impact and fun we already experienced with Black Adam versus the Justice Society. How he is dispatched is "Mortal Kombat" level glorious, but we would have loved more screen time to develop such a significant threat to the DCEU.

9. Amon Tomaz

Amon Tomaz (Bodhi Sabongui) idolizes superheroes, even though they've never set foot in his country to help. So when Kahndaq's legendary hero returns, Amon is over the moon. He enthusiastically catches up with Black Adam on what he's missed the last 5,000 years and encourages him to be the hero they all believe he is. Black Adam starts to soften, but only slightly. Then goes total rageful antihero when Amon is kidnapped by Intergang and used as a bargaining chip to get the Crown of Sabbac. Amon is eventually rescued and rallies the citizens of Kahndaq to fight a legion of undead soldiers in the film's climactic battle. 

Much of the film's heart and comedy comes from Amon's initial interactions with a fish-out-of-water Black Adam. His room, littered with every DCEU superhero, shows a reverence for what's come before and a need for something new. Amon shines in scenes where he outsmarts Intergang, but his arc starts to lose steam once he's kidnapped, even though this becomes a major driving force for the second act and leads to some spectacular chase sequences. Amon is then saddled with the cliched "rally the people" speech. The random appearance of "Army of Darkness" style skeletons for the citizens to fight doesn't do Amon any favors. It feels like an unnecessary distraction from the main event: Black Adam vs. Sabbac.

8. DCEU cameos

With the interconnectedness of modern superhero franchises, fans expect cameos that tie this current movie to what's come before and what lies ahead. "Black Adam" features a handful of DCEU cameos and other fun surprises. Henry Winkler pops up as Atom Smasher's Uncle Al. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) returns as the government force guiding the Justice Society's actions. Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland from "The Suicide Squad" and "Peacemaker") appears to lock up a de-powered Black Adam. Djimon Hounsou returns as the Wizard from "Shazam," and there's a super mid-credits cameo (that we're confident has already been spoiled for you). 

The DCEU has felt a bit disconnected compared to the MCU with its many retcons and alternate versions of existing canon, but "Black Adam" is set to be a new jumping-off point, and with the mid-credits reveal, the future looks bright. The less spoiler-heavy cameos add to the movie and the world as well. Henry Winkler appears in a brief FaceTime, but fans of Winkler's career resurgence in shows like "Barry" will hope this isn't the last we've seen of Uncle Al. Amanda Waller's scenes with Hawkman raise intriguing questions about how the Justice Society will react when they discover her bloodstained hands from black ops projects like Task Force X. Ultimately, this movie lays the groundwork to connect all the vastly different tones from past films into one cinematic universe.

7. Uncle Karim

Uncle Karim ("Ramy's" Mohammed Amer) is part of the underground resistance with his sister Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) and serves as a source of comic relief, often acting as the voice of the audience. He witnesses Black Adam's wrathful return firsthand, responding by nervously rolling up his window in one of the movie's best visual gags. He's shot by the traitorous Ishmael and reassured by Doctor Fate that this isn't how he will die. Karim inquires how he'll meet his end, and Doctor Fate replies to stay away from electricity. Karim shouts back, "How do I do that? I'm an electrician!" He eventually joins the fight against the undead army alongside his family in the final battle.

Whether he's commenting on the absurdity of what's happening on-screen — "Did he just catch a rocket?" — or jamming out to Hall & Oates, Karim is hilarious. Amer's performance is understated, never hitting the gas pedal on a punchline too hard and never dipping into the dreaded joke-parade abyss that these side characters often fall into. Karim is sprinkled throughout just enough, and there's a genuine concern when he's shot. His banter with Doctor Fate is one of the funniest scenes in the movie, and the callback when he charges the army of the undead, claiming he can't die because they aren't electricity, is gold. Here's hoping Uncle Karim sticks around for future adventures in Kahndaq.

6. Atom Smasher

Al Rothstein, aka Atom Smasher, is a member of the Justice Society and a metahuman who can change size; or, as he puts it to Cyclone, "I grow." He inherited his abilities and costume from the original Atom Smasher, his Uncle Al (Henry Winkler). His introduction is brief as he FaceTimes with his uncle, getting advice and nervous about living up to the legacy of this superhero mantle. He seems a bit green in the realm of superhero-ing, commenting he doesn't have a passport, getting turned around when running to the battle, and accidentally bumping into Hawkman a few times. His intentions are good, even if he's a bit bumbling. 

Atom Smasher makes his DCEU debut in "Black Adam," and even with what little he's given, the character is a lot of fun. Noah Centineo plays him like a Golden Retriever — lovable but dense. It makes sense why he's brought in to try to contain Black Adam due to his size and strength, but he's so unprepared with actual battle experience that he often hinders more than he helps. Maybe the team should have had some training together before tackling a 5,000-year-old, unstoppable God-like killing machine. Atom Smasher makes enough of an impression that we hope to see more of him in the DCEU. It's just a shame his debut is pretty paper-thin. 

5. Cyclone

Hawkman recruits Cyclone to join his team to fight Black Adam. She's another metahuman with a genius IQ and the ability to control the wind and move objects with her mind. In the comics, Cyclone is the granddaughter of the original Red Tornado and, at the age of six, is kidnapped by an evil scientist who injects her with nanobytes, inadvertently giving her superpowers. Cyclone, like Atom Smasher, is relegated to the bench for most big battles, but when she shows up, her abilities are a breath of fresh air (sorry, we couldn't resist) to the rest of the action. While the other heroes are smashing their way through buildings, Cyclone has an almost balletic quality to her movements as she whips the wind and projectiles to her will.

Another member of the Justice Society that gets far too little development, Cyclone is played with effortless cool and charisma by Quintessa Swindell. Hawkman briefly explains her backstory, but you'd be forgiven if it left your head spinning. Whenever Cyclone enters a battle, the visuals are dynamic and exciting. Still, it's unclear how her abilities could match Black Adam's, even if she seems far more experienced than Atom Smasher. We still don't know the extent of her superhero fighting or her prior relationship with the Justice Society. We'd welcome a prequel that gives the Justice Society the proper screen time they deserve to shine.

4. Adrianna Tomaz

Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) is one of the key figures in the resistance against Intergang and their occupation of Kahndaq. Adrianna's mission to retrieve the Crown of Sabbac is not to gain power for herself, but to ensure it stays out of the wrong hands. She's fiercely protective of her family and her country. Adrianna is the first person to see the capacity for good in Black Adam, and she and her son are the main driving force in his character arc to becoming a hero. Even when a literal demon is unleashed on the streets, Adrianna doesn't back down. 

You may be shocked to see a human character ranked so high in a superhero movie, but Adrianna truly is the heart and soul of this movie. She challenges Black Adam to be the hero she knows he's capable of becoming and questions the Justice Society's past inaction. She calls out Hawkman, reminding him they did nothing the past 20 years while Intergang illegally occupied Kahndaq. Yet, now that they have their own superhero, the Justice Society suddenly wants to get involved. This point opens up an interesting global question in the DCEU; what do other countries think of the metahumans who never bother to set foot in their country to help? Another win for Adrianna's character is the filmmakers never resort to making her the damsel in distress. She's a fighter through and through. 

3. Hawkman

Hawkman's comic book abilities showcased, but never fully explained in the movie, consist of flight, healing, superhuman strength and speed, being a master of combat, and more. We are told he's the leader of the Justice Society during a call with Amanda Waller (where she asks who he's recruited for the mission), then they fly straight into the action. His bouts with Black Adam are some of the strongest one-on-one matches in the film, and he serves as a primary source of dramatic tension as the moral foil to Black Adam's blood lust. His trademark spiked mace, shield, hawk mask, and gold wings are all spot-on in their comic book-accurate design. In the final conflict, Hawkman holds his own against Sabbac, even if the CGI overload gets a bit too much.

Hawkman's design and action sequences look incredible. Aldis Hodge does an admirable job bringing the hero to life on the big screen, but we get almost no backstory on the character or his powers. We can assume that he must be near-invincible since he walks away from the multiple beatings he takes from Black Adam, but it's unclear the extent of his powers or if his wings are mechanical, magical, man-made, or God-made. Since we don't know the full extent of his strengths and weaknesses, there are rarely any stakes in his battles because the audience is never worried he's in real danger. If someone is well-versed in the comics, they won't need much explanation, but Hawkman needs far more backstory for the uninitiated.

2. Doctor Fate

Doctor Fate's abilities (to name a few) include spell casting, superhuman strength, energy blasts, teleportation, creating illusions, and premonitions of various possible futures. You're not wrong if you think this sounds oddly similar to Marvel's Doctor Strange. However, Doctor Fate's origins date back to 1940 in Issue #55 of "More Fun Comics," while Doctor Strange first appeared in the appropriately titled "Strange Tales" #110 in 1963. Even though Marvel beat DC to the punch on big-screen appearances, Doctor Fate immediately makes his mark, holding his own against Black Adam and a visually bonkers one-on-one bout against Sabbac.

Fans and critics agree that Pierce Brosnan's portrayal of Doctor Fate is fantastic. Brosnan brings an effortless charm and world-weary vulnerability while simultaneously looking like he's having a ball. We don't get much backstory about his friendship with Hawkman, but Brosnan manages to fill in the script gaps with his performance. One of the many times Hawkman and Black Adam butt heads, Doctor Fate hilariously opts to sit this one out (literally taking a seat in Adrianna's apartment while the two hotheads work out their issues). His costume looks straight out of the comics, showcasing the most visually exciting and varied power set of all the heroes. The only complaint is that this may be the only appearance we get of this iteration of Doctor Fate ... but stranger things have happened in comic book movies, so here's hoping Pierce Brosnan will return.

1. Black Adam

It may be no surprise that we think Black Adam is this movie's best character. After all, it is his movie. Combining Dwayne Johnson's never-ending charisma with a more ruthless antihero brings a welcome bolt of energy to the DCEU. Black Adam throws down in nearly every action scene, dominating each one. When he's first awakened and grabs an Intergang soldier by the neck, electrocuting him until he's a crumpled skeleton before decimating the rest of the crew in a matter of minutes, we realize the filmmakers are going to lean heavily into the anti part of this hero.

It's clear classic Westerns inspired this portrayal of Black Adam. Karim is watching "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" on TV, and later there's a gunslinger callback during Black Adam's stand-off with Intergang. There's also his deadpan and hilarious catchphrase: "Tell them the Man in Black sent you." Additionally, you can find shades of "Terminator 2" in Black Adam's relationship with Amon. An emotionless killing machine is learning to be more human and offering some of the biggest laughs in the movie. Dwayne Johnson showcases his knack for action and comedy and a good deal of heart in a role he was born to play. Whether he's dishing out lightning bolts, one-liners, or ripping demons in half, Black Adam is the baddest hero of the bunch, and we mean that in a good way.