Dwayne Johnson built his personal brand and ascended to the very top of the Hollywood A-list by largely playing the same character over and over again in ever-so-slightly different movies. The 48 year-old can generally be found portraying a law enforcement employee of some description or a father trying to either do the best for his family or save their lives, and often a combination of the two.
The approach has definitely yielded massive success at the box office, but Johnson still hasn’t given a career-defining performance that makes the most of his talents as either a dramatic or comedic actor, and the last time he even played a role that had any shades of grey was in Michael Bay’s largely-forgotten Pain & Gain back in 2013.
However, the world’s highest-paid movie star finally looks to be branching out in the DCEU’s Black Adam. Shazam!’s arch-nemesis is usually depicted as an antihero that doesn’t always have the best of intentions, and when you combine that with the more outlandish elements of the superhero’s comic book history, then the movie is shaping up to mark a refreshing and exciting change of pace.
In fact, at the recent DC FanDome event, Johnson took a question about how powerful Black Adam will be, and he responded by making it sound like he won’t be forced to limit his powers in the same fashion as the rest of the franchise’s more cookie-cutter good guys.
“As we all know, Black Adam is one of the most powerful superheroes, antiheroes, villains. Whatever you want to call Black Adam, he is one of the most powerful in the DC universe but as we all know, the superheroes, they have to exhibit a little bit of restraint when it comes to taking care of the bad guys if you will, or taking care of the people who are opposite them, who are opposing them, who are in their way. But this idea that you could take all of Black Adam’s powers, and he does not practice restraint. That makes for a really powerful combination, and one that’s explosive, one that’s very dangerous, and one that is ultimately, I think, very likable, to me at least.”
Of course, with such a carefully-curated screen persona, it isn’t like Johnson’s Black Adam will be flying around the galaxy snapping necks with reckless abandon, but if the movie can avoid painting him as a generic superhero and embrace some of the darker aspects of his personality, then the rest of the DCEU’s roster could be facing some serious trouble in the future.