SPOILER ALERT: This story discusses several major plot elements throughout “Black Adam,” now playing in theaters.
Dwayne Johnson has long promised that “the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is about to change” with his movie “Black Adam.” Now that it’s finally released in theaters…will it change anything?
The post-credits scene certainly hopes so. Fans had long been clamoring for Johnson’s super-strong villain to face off against another all-powerful DC hero: Henry Cavill’s Superman. Johnson himself had even been teasing the showdown at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and on the “Black Adam” world premiere red carpet. Much to the fans’ delight, Johnson and the “Black Adam” team listened to their request.
Cavill’s Superman does appear in the post-credits scene, and there seems to be some hostility between him and Black Adam. But first, the scene starts out with Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller (who’s been pulling the strings behind the Suicide Squad in not one, but two movies) sending over a drone to talk with Black Adam. Waller isn’t too happy with Black Adam after he escaped from her underwater prison — which was run by “Peacemaker” character Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) in a fun cameo.
Waller tells Black Adam that he has her attention, and she’ll let him go free as long as he doesn’t step foot outside his home country, Kahndaq. Black Adam smirks, saying, “There’s nobody on this planet who can stop me,” which prompts Waller reply that there’s someone not from this world who can help her. Sure enough, Superman, the last son of Krypton, crashes down from above in a cloud of dust. As the Man of Steel emerges from the smoke, he tells Black Adam, “We should talk.” And then the movie cuts to black.
Does this mean we’re getting a Black Adam-Superman fight in a prospective sequel? As with most things in the DC Universe right now, it’s unclear. While many of the upcoming movies on DC’s slate — “Shazam: Fury of the Gods,” “The Flash,” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” — do exist in the same cinematic universe, these movies are largely unconnected, and the chances of another cameo from Cavill or Johnson in them seem pretty slim. There have been unconfirmed reports about a second Superman movie with Cavill, but nothing has been announced, let alone greenlit.
“Black Adam” producer Hiram Garcia has said that a Superman battle wouldn’t just be a one-off movie, however. “It’s never been about a one-off or just about a fight,” he recently told CinemaBlend. “No, it’s about so much more than that. We really want to craft a long-form of storytelling and show that these two characters exist in the same universe and are going to have to deal with each other often, either on the same or opposite sides. Hopefully they’re going to clash at some point, but it’s not just about a ‘one fight’ situation. That was never our dream. That does not reward the fans. Fans want to feel a journey between these guys knowing that these guys exist in the same universe.”
Outside of Superman, “Black Adam” has a few more Easter Eggs up its sleeves. The Justice Society of America heroes, made of Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), make their big-screen debuts and have some comic-book nods.
Atom Smasher explains that his suit allows him to change the structure of his atoms and grow to a gigantic size. As we’re introduced to him, he gets a FaceTime call from his uncle Al Pratt, who was the older hero Atom in the DC Comics and passed down his suit. In a hilarious cameo, the Fonz himself, Henry Winkler, plays Pratt.
Hawkman, the leader of the Justice Society, has a comic-accurate costume, complete with wings and a hawk helmet. He mentions that his spaceship is made from Nth metal, the precious alloy from the planet Thanagar that’s also used in his mace.
In the comics, Cyclone is the granddaughter of Abigail Mathilda “Ma” Hunkel, who was the first superhero to go by Red Tornado. As a child, Cyclone was kidnapped by the mad scientist T.O. Morrow, who also created an android named Red Tornado, and has nanobytes injected within her, which are the source of her elemental powers. In “Black Adam,” Cyclone briefly mentions her past, particularly the nanobytes, to Atom Smasher, who’s shocked by her origin story.
Though he sadly dies, Doctor Fate puts up a fight against Marwan Kenzari’s villain Ishmael, who turns into the demonic monster Sabbac. When Doctor Fate dons his gold helmet and uses his magical powers, his voice is deeper and otherworldly. That could be because his powers come from an ancient, cosmic being named Nabu, who grants the mystical abilities to whoever wears the Doctor Fate helmet. With Brosnan’s Doctor Fate dead, there may be someone else to take up the mantle in a second, like the current DC character Khalid Nassour.