Black Adam Trailer Breakdown: The Rock Has Super Powers, But He's No Hero

Sometimes movies take years to get made. It's just the nature of the beast. Even under the most optimistic of circumstances, a movie will take a couple of years from conception to release. But in some cases, a movie will take a really long time to see the light of day, and such is the case with "Black Adam" which, after well over a decade of development, finally has a trailer. It's a real movie that is really coming to theaters later this year and, for people like me that have been covering this stuff for a long time, it's a little hard to believe.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was first attached to the role way back in 2007, pre-dating even the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At that time, the idea was to have him be the villain in "Shazam!" But as Johnson's star power grew, the idea to give the antihero a solo movie became more appealing. Now, 15 years removed from the original casting, here we are. That being the case, it's probably worth taking a much closer look at the trailer, since we've all waited so very long for the damn thing. Let's break it down, shall we?

A crash landing

The opening shot of the trailer sees an unidentified craft coming in for a landing over some snow-covered mountains. There aren't a lot of clues as to where this is, exactly, but it certainly seems like our title character is on that ship at the very least. 

Time to heal

Next, we see Black Adam laid out on a pretty beefy medical table of sorts. There are some well-armored people surrounding him. Their goal is to get him into a tank that looks not totally unlike a Bacta tank from "Star Wars." But, and not to beat the "Star Wars" references to death here, it's very clearly more in line with carbon freezing as this is a cryo-chamber designed to keep him under. 

Presumably, he's dangerous and needs to be transported elsewhere. But who are these well-equipped individuals and what do they want with Mr. Adam? A very good question that is not explicitly answered by this trailer.

Hello, Dr. Fate!

Here, we meet a key player in the movie in the form of Piece Brosnan as Dr. Fate. He is a mystical being not altogether unlike Doctor Strange (broad strokes anyway), and he is going to be a member of the Justice Society, who we are going to meet the rest of shortly. There is an element of recruitment going on here, with Fate saying, "What have your powers ever given to you? Nothing but heartache." 

Black Adam's tragic past

Here, we dive a bit into the character's backstory in the film, which sees him as a slave (presumably in Egypt, as that's where the character's roots lie in the pages of DC Comics). The Rock delivers the line here, "I was a slave until I died." And, just like that, we see a big, burly mean guy kill him. 

We've kind of got some "300" vibes going on here, with Adam being thrown into a pit after being subject to a pretty brutal stabbing. Of note, Warner Bros. is not shying away from the blood here. A lot of superhero movies do a lot to disguise violence. That is apparently not going to be the case in this film.

A lover from the past?

Entering into pure speculation territory here, but we have this woman crying pretty heavily just after Black Adam dies on screen. Is it possible that this was a love he had in his life in ancient Egypt? Again, this is wild speculation but it would help provide a bit more emotional anchor to the story. Especially since Adam is going to be angry as hell later on. He's not your typical hero, that much is certain. 

Reborn as a god

Now, the story comes full circle as Black Adam is reborn in modern times as a "god," as he refers to it. He is extremely powerful and was seemingly awakened by a group of unsuspecting soldiers of a sort, who look quite a bit like the ones we saw earlier. 

It does not go well for them as Adam uses his newfound powers to blow them away. It seems to hardly take any effort on his part to get the job done. He is, indeed, quite powerful.

The sacrifice of a son

The tragedy continues to unfold here as we learn that Adam's son sacrificed himself to save his father. Under what circumstances, exactly? Again, that remains unclear but the main thing is that director Jaume Collet-Serra is doing a lot of work to let us know that this is a man who has suffered and has suffered greatly. Given that he's not going to be an out-and-out hero, we need a reason to follow him on his brutal journey. This is a pretty good reason. 


Mere moments after Adam is resurrected in the modern world, looking pretty gothy and angry with his cloak overhead, the armored men who broke into the cavern begin to unload on him with round after round from their machine guns. As we can see, Adam can handle this as though it is absolutely nothing. Bullets are inconsequential to him and that is bad news for these nameless soldiers who are about to be dispatched of. It's not like when Superman stops a bullet where it seems heroic — you know something bad is about to happen here. 

He bows to no one

The Rock makes a pretty ominous declaration here that he "bows to no one" before using some of his newfound god-like powers to blast out of this cave that he's apparently been trapped in for some time. Again, he looks rather powerful, kind of cool, and very angry. Pour one out or those who are about to get in his way. 

The Justice Society arrives

Here, we have another aircraft that appears to be housing the various members of the Justice Society, including Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan). They are being called to an undisclosed city to take care of some superhero business. Hmm, could it maybe have something to do with Black Adam breaking out of his cave in a violent rage?

We can see who appears to be Hodge here doing a pretty baller move and jumping out of the aircraft getting ready to suit up as Hawkman to do some superhero stuff. It is pretty amazing we live in a world where Hawkman is about to be a major live-action character in a mega-budget superhero movie. We've come a long way.

Hello, Hawkman!

Speak of the devil and he shall appear! in the very next shot we get to see Hawkman in all of his gold-plated glory, with a wingspan that can hardly fit in the frame. Whether or not the movie will keep him as a being from the planet Thanagar intact remains to be seen, but this appears to be a pretty faithful recreation of the costume. Also, during this time, Hodge has some voiceover where he says, "There are heroes and there are villains" as the various members of the Justice Society are introduced. 

Hello, Atom Smasher!

Now we get to meet Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, who is about as big as a five-story building in this shot as he's running down the street. He has some very old-school superhero/sci-fi vibes going on. Maybe even a dash of Ultraman, in my humble opinion, which is kind of neat. 

Doctor Fate looking like Doctor Strange

Now we move on to a little bit of Doctor Fate in action and, wouldn't you know it, he is looking an awful lot like Marvel's Doctor Strange here. Not so much the blue and gold suit (which I personally think looks pretty rad), but the whole mirror effect he is using here, which looks an awful lot like the Mirror Dimension from the "Doctor Strange" movies. So much for subtle comparisons between these two heroes.

Hello, Cyclone!

Last, but certainly not least, we get a glimpse of Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, giving us the full picture of the Justice Society. This is all happening at the same city in which they were flying over earlier in the trailer. This is seemingly going to end up being one of the movie's big set pieces, presumably somewhat early in the film as Black Adam meeting this modern-day heroes is going to be key. 

Our villains?

One thing that has been left semi-mysterious is the nature of the villain(s) in the movie. However, when Hawkman is saying there are heroes and villains, as the word "villains" lingers, we get a shot of this unidentified character on a hoverbike of some kind. This, presumably, is our villain, or at least a villain in the film. But the trailer doesn't spend a whole lot of time dwelling on that. A mystery for another time. 

Heroes don't kill people, but Black Adam does

Here, we get a little bit of a face-off between Adam and Hawkman during the battle, in which, Hawkman declares that heroes don't kill people. At this point, we discover just how different Adam is than other DC heroes as he quickly says, "I do" in response without any hesitation. There will be a body count, people. 

Don't hit Black Adam

Following up that moment, we see this henchmen hitting Adam with a pipe and it just bends on his head like a children's toy. Adam is not phased but also not at all amused by this, and this poor fellow is about to learn the hard way that The Rock has no qualms about hurting people. 

Yes, Adam yeets him into the oblivion of the ocean and, even though that dude is either going to be dead or seriously injured, it is one of only a couple of moments of levity in the trailer. For the most part, this thing takes itself very seriously.

Dr. Fate's vision of the future

This is a key moment in the trailer as Dr. Fate presents Black Adam with a pretty hard-line choice from a vision he had. He tells the emerging antihero that he can either be the destroyer of this world or its savior. Now, we'd lean on the idea that he ends up closer to savior by the end of it but, in the meantime, he's going to cause some death and destruction. 

These jets had no chance

This shot allows us to see Adam in flight alongside a couple of fighter jets that don't want him in the air. Believe it or not, Adam is not at all concerned with the firepower these jets have to offer, and he dispatches of them in a hurry. 

So much for using standard military power against a god-like being who has a bone to pick.

A money shot

This shot offers us our best look at Black Adam's suit which, as we can see, is very form-fitting. There is no room to shove any pads in there as it looks like it was paint-rolled onto The Rock's ridiculously muscly body. A lot of people get into good shape to be in a superhero movie. This is on another level. 

Hello, Adrianna Tomaz

This appears to be one of the other major players we have yet to meet in the form of Adrianna Tomaz, played by Sarah Shahi. We don't get to see much of her in this trailer but she is one of the top-billed actors in the movie so we can likely expect to see a lot more of her in later trailers. Or, at the very least, when the movie arrives in a few months. 

A Black Adam statue?

Here, we get an interesting shot of the city from the water and, if we look closely, we can see a statue that looks perhaps incomplete. While we don't get a great look at it, this looks like it might actually be a statue built in Black Adam's likeness, which would be pretty intriguing. 

Villain go boom

This is yet another shot of the mysterious biker figure who is most likely a villain in the film. This time though, there is no escape as we can see Adam circling, getting ready to smash that bike to pieces. 

Just like that, able to blow up that bike and seemingly whoever was on it with his body and nothing more.

The grand finale

The last sequence in the trailer offers both some of our best looks at Johnson in action, as well as one of the only other moments of humor in the trailer. Upon landing in the desert, a couple of unsuspecting onlookers in a van suspect they are in a bad spot and humorously roll up their windows. Then, Adam catches a rocket in his bare hand in a pretty baller move. 

And yeah, of course it blows up! But this does not appear to be an issue for him. A lot of bullets can't stop him and one little rocket won't be able to get the job done either. And that's about it! One of the big takeaways here, if we piece it all together, is that a great deal of this trailer seems to take place around one big action sequence. It seems like there is a lot they aren't showing us. But hey, if the hierarchy of power in the DC universe is about to change, why waste it all in one shot, right? 

"Black Adam" is set to hit theaters on October 21, 2022.