‘Black Adam’ sucks — but it makes a lot of money.Here’s why it’s bad for The Rock

Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam. Photo: Warner Bros. Image/TNS

Bad movies happen to good people. If you’ve read any reviews of Black Adam, you’ll know that one of those bad movies happened to Dwayne Johnson recently.

In its first week in theaters nationwide, the DC superhero film earned a 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a low 41 on Metacritic. Those are scary numbers, especially when you consider that some critics downplay popular blockbusters for fear of alienating readers or appearing out of touch.

However, despite the bad reviews, the film made a fortune and audiences loved it – with a 90% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. All of which I find disappointing, though probably not for the reasons you’d expect.

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Actor Dwayne Johnson poses with fans at the premiere of “Black Adam” at the Cine Capitol in Madrid on October 19. Photo: Beatriz Velasco/Getty Images

For example, it doesn’t bother me that critics have no influence here, because I never worry about critics’ influence. I also don’t care in any moral sense – it would be a disaster if people made money they shouldn’t make.If people want to pay for movies, the people who make the movies Deserve the money, just as the audience deserves what they paid for, for better or for worse.

Here’s one of my concerns: It’s never a good thing for an artist to be rewarded for their worst work. It gives them the wrong signal, telling them, “Keep going in this direction” when they really need to hear “Stop!”

I still wonder how many years it will take Kristen Stewart to recover from the “Spencer” disaster. And, just to be clear, I’m not talking about the disaster of her performance as Princess Diana, one of the worst performances of 2021, but the disaster of its warm reception, including an Oscar nomination. For an artist who works by instinct and intuition, nothing disrupts internal mechanisms more than the success of praise or failure. It’s like getting a government license to print counterfeit money.

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Kristen Stewart in a scene from “Spencer.” Photo: Pablo Larrain/Associated Press

Johansson has been popular in photos since leaving the WWE scene more than two decades ago to become a full-fledged actor. He has appeared in small and medium parts in many movies, but the first time I really noticed him was in his first starring role in “The Scorpion King” (2002).

“The Rock is big and strong, and on screen he’s mostly about his undeniable physical presence,” I wrote in my review of that film. “However, if Rock looks mean in a still photo, he looks like a reasonable person at the start. … He sounds as helpful and likable as an insurance agent. Rock’s This disconnect between look and sound is going to make or break him as a movie star. I think it’s going to make him what he is.”

In other words, this guy has something, he has more than just a unique look, but a winning personality and a sense of humor. These have come in handy in everything he’s done since then, leading him to films like “The CIA” (2016), “Hobbs & Shaw” (2019) and “Red Notice” ( 2021) and other action comedies.

But he doesn’t have his appeal in Black Adam.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in Hobbs and Shaw. Photo: Universal

Johnson also has scale — not just big, but aura — which keeps him from getting lost in epic landscapes and able to hold his own in a whole like in the various Fast and Furious movies. state. But “Black Adam” is so huge, so overwhelming, so overwhelming that it dwarfs him.

In the end, he’s always been a better actor than he needs to be.

As I wrote about his performance in San Andreas (2015) in 2015, “Johnson is the kind of actor who needs a mission. Tell him that the purpose of his role is to save his family , that’s the role he plays – every second he’s on screen.” By contrast, he didn’t act in Black Adam, just frowning and killing.

“Black Adam” is reportedly Johnson’s dream project, something he’s been wanting to do for years. If so, it’s just further proof that actors are notoriously bad at coming up with their own projects.

Fortunately, at least according to IMDb, Johansson has other movies in the works that I hope will take precedence over any Black Adam sequels. Among them, I most want to see “San Andreas 2”.

Dwayne Johnson (left) plays Ray and Alexandra Daddario plays Blake in a scene from the action thriller “San Andreas.” Photo: Jasin Boland/Associated Press

I know. “San Andreas 2? Remember what happened in the last episode? There was nothing to knock the earthquake down. By the end, downtown San Francisco looked like Venice—not the Venice of California, but the Venice of Italy. Johnson had to take a boat from One building to another building.

But hey, that’s fine. “San Andreas 2” might be fun, or small Funny, like most of Johnson’s films, this will give him a chance to save people instead of playing another boring superhero killer.

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