It’s kind of difficult to take Shazam seriously, despite DC’s insistence that it’s a real film. For one, the only actor cast is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the film’s villain, Black Adam. Even then, it’s weird that Johnson continues to see Adam as the film’s hero, which he reminds his fans of again in another Q&A this week on the actor’s personal YouTube channel.
In the actor’s monthly Q&A, The Rock once more pitches his fans on why he believes Black Adam, a historically brutal villain with a few stories of anti-heroism, is actually a heroic figure. Falling back once more on the fact that the character rose from tragic origins as a slave to become one of the most powerful DC characters, The Rock pins a lot on the fact that, like The Rock, Black Adam was a small man who became a very strong man, thus a hero. It’s quite a pitch.
In the comics, Black Adam is an ancient Egyptian who was chosen by the wizard Shazam to become Egypt’s mightiest hero. Unfortunately, Black Adam’s power corrupts him, forcing Shazam to imprison his former champion. Trapped for thousands of years, Black Adam escapes from his exile and vows revenge on Shazam, and becomes one of DC’s most evil villains in the process.
Johnson sees things a little differently, however, and summarizes his main points regarding Black Adam’s heroism in the video with this:
“Again, I love the backstory that he started off as a slave, and he was held down. I think that kind of backstory about a man who’s held down, and he rises up out of that to become greater, and then dealing with the conflict and pain of losing his family — it’s dark. But it also adds to the gravity and adds to the weight of the story.”
One could argue that dealing with adversity doesn’t make someone automatically a hero, especially considering that in the comics Black Adam has committed all kinds of crimes, from murder to genocide, to starting World War III. It’s interesting that Johnson automatically associates defeating obstacles to heroism when that’s not necessarily true.
There’s also the fact that Johnson’s Black Adam will be getting a solo movie, which, again, is pretty strange considering he will be the villain in Shazam — which still hasn’t cast the role of its eponymous hero. Basically, DC’s Black Adam strategy is kind of confusing, and Johnson’s semi-regular talks about how Black Adam could be seen as a hero makes the whole project a little hard to keep track of.
We’ll know more when Shazam or Black Adam get closer to becoming real films beyond just having cast Dwayne Johnson.