After years of being linked to the role of Black Adam, Dwayne Johnson is finally flexing his muscles in Jaume Collet-Serra’s movie of the same name. Like a bolt from the blue, Black Adam casts Johnson as the titular anti-hero as he makes his DC Extended Universe debut.
Following in the footsteps of more comedic entries like James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, Black Adam tries to distance itself from the gloomy aesthetic of Zack Snyder’s DCEU. Still, it’s clear that Black Adam is part of the rebranded superhero series, with some major nods toward Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the Justice League.
Despite some middling reviews, Black Adam has punched its way to the top of the box office, with Johnson hyping the character’s return and a face-off against a certain Metropolis Marvel. Like any good superhero caper, Black Adam contains a smorgasbord of Easter eggs. So, here’s what you missed.
Serving as Black Adam’s MacGuffin, Eternium is effectively DC’s answer to vibranium. Eternium was mined back in Kahndaq’s glory days and is used to form the Crown of Sabbac. In modern times, the tyrannical Intergang uses it to power their bikes, while missiles are also made from it.
Eternium comes from shards of the Rock of Eternity, which we see in the movie as where the Council of Wizards resides. Looking at Eternium’s role moving forward, the element can damage Black Adam and is much like Superman with Kryptonite.
Eternium could be used to take out Johnson’s anti-hero or keep him in check by someone like Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). Batman v Superman already used a Kryptonite-infused spear to kill Doomsday and (inadvertently) the Man of Steel, but if we were Waller, we’d start stocking up on Eternium now.
A Revamped Intergang
In the comic books, Intergang is a worldwide crime syndicate of mercenaries that bows to Darkseid’s Religion of Crime. Sadly, there’s no connection to the big bad of the Snyder Cut here, and instead, Intergang seems to be made up of low-level grunts with dodgy accents.
The comic book Intergang uses alien tech from planets like Apokolips, but here, they’re intent on harnessing Eternium for their Tron-esque vehicles. Although Intergang is typically associated with being Superman adversaries or occasionally popping up in Gotham City, Intergang has clashed with Black Adam more recently.
It feels like a missed opportunity that the shady cabal isn’t connected to Darkseid in Black Adam, and with one of its leaders eventually being Lex Luthor, it would’ve also been a perfect time to reintegrate Jesse Eisenberg into the DCEU.
Bodhi Sabongui’s Amon is a comic book mega nerd and carries a bag full of titles like Wonder Woman. That’s nothing compared to his bedroom, which is a shrine to the heroes of the Justice League.
All of the artwork in Amon’s room is pulled from the pages of DC, with some great nods to Jim Lee’s work. However, none of this real-life merchandise relates to the actual DC Extended Universe. It’s much like James Mangold’s Logan, where an aged Wolverine said the X-Men comic books were just fanciful takes on what happened in real life.
With Ben Affleck out as Batman, Ray Fisher’s allegations against Warner Bros, and Ezra Miller’s future as the Flash unknown, there aren’t many of the old gang around. Black Adam still makes it clear the Justice League is still a presence in this world… even if it’s only to make fun of.
The Doctor Will See You
Although it was signposted throughout, the big death in Black Adam was Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan). As a founding member of the JSA – and clearly having seen a lot of battles in his time – it made sense that the aged Kent Nelson would have one last hurrah.
However, just because the helmet-wearing hero is dead, that doesn’t mean his legacy won’t live on. With a mention of Fate’s alien helmet, we assume it follows the comic book source material where it was crafted by Nabu, Lord of Order.
There’s a mention of Nelson being “possessed” whenever he wears the helmet, which follows the comics where Nabu claims the body of a host. The helmet survived, so we’re guessing a new Doctor Fate could soon be seeing some patients.
Uncle Al And The JSA
Alongside Hawkman, Doctor Fate, and Cyclone, Black Adam’s Justice Society of America also includes Noah Centineo’s Atom Smasher. Al Rothstein is the latest hero to don the suit, which he’s borrowed from “Uncle Al.” We get a frankly brilliant cameo from Happy Days’ Henry Winkler as Al Pratt, who was originally Atom in the comics.
Even though there’s history in the JSA between Doctor Fate and Hawkman, there’s no mention of other members from the early days. It’s entirely possible Warner Bros. could revisit the team for a prequel movie, and let’s remember, the JSA are something of a big deal as the first-ever team of superheroes in comic books.
The original JSA lineup included Fate, Hawkman, Hour-Man, the Sandman, the Spectre, Flash, Green Lantern, and Atom (Pratt), whereas the likes of Rothstein’s Atom-Smasher and Cyclone are much later additions to the roster under the Justice Society of America “All-Stars” banner.
Expanding The Shazamily
If we follow the comics, Adriana Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) should have an expanded role in the franchise’s future. Tomaz becomes the character Isis after getting a portion of Black Adam’s powers.
You might remember Tala Ashe played a revamped character called Zari Tomaz in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. The show dropped the name Isis due to potential comparisons to the terrorist organisation.
There’s also potential for Amon to become Osiris. During the 52 series, Black Adam created his own dark family. There are some differences here, as comic book Amon is Adriana’s younger brother instead of her son, but we still guess he’ll be powering up in the franchise’s future. This is alluded to toward the end of the movie when the JSA give Amon his own Superman-inspired cape.
A Clint Eastwood Connection
If you love old westerns, you’ll love Black Adam. When Teth-Adam wakes up at Adriana’s apartment, he rudely interrupts Karim (Mohammed Amer) watching The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
In a later showdown, we see Black Adam twitching his fingers like Eastwood reaching for his pistol. There’s some western-inspired music, but instead of shooting the Intergang grunts, Black Adam fries them with his lighting.
While on the movie’s promo tour, Johnson told CinemaBlend that Clint Eastwood is his favourite actor of all time and helped inspire his portrayal of Black Adam. Further connecting the pair, Collet-Serra has described his take on Black Adam as the Dirty Harry of superheroes.
The Fate Of The Wizards
Even if Zachary Levi’s Shazam doesn’t get so much as a wink in Black Adam, David F. Sandberg’s 2019 movie is referenced via the return of Djimon Hounsou’s Wizard. You’ll remember that the Wizard was the sole survivor from the Council of Wizards in Shazam!, which came from Black Adam unleashing the Seven Deadly Sins and the rest perish.
In Shazam!, the Wizard said he’d been searching for centuries for someone worthy after the last champion went rogue. That rogue champion is Teth-Adam, who is imprisoned after he goes on a brutal rampage in Kahndaq.
Black Adam was originally slated to appear in Shazam!, but seeing the potential of the character, Warner Bros. decided to give him an outing of his own. Don’t expect the pair to crossover just yet, with Sandberg promising Johnson won’t be in Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Hmmm, weren’t we told that about Henry Cavill in Black Adam?
Task Force X Black Site
While we’ll get into jaw-dropping mid-credit scenes in a moment, Black Adam teases the futures of Peacemaker and a mythical sequel to James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.
After being depowered, Teth-Adam is sent to the Arctic-based Task Force X Black Site. Even though he isn’t there for long, Adam is put under the supervision of Jennifer Holland’s Emilia Harcourt – reprising her role from The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker.
Black Site is full of more containment pods, so we can’t wait to see who was deemed too dangerous for Belle Reve prison and was locked away in the secure facility. Either way, it’s clear Amanda Waller is still very much pulling the strings on anti-heroes and metahumans alike.
Man Of Steel
Because Johnson himself spoiled that big cameo ahead of time, it wasn’t exactly a surprise that Henry Cavill is back in the DCEU as Superman. As an aside, we also get Cavill accompanied by John Williams’ classic Superman score instead of the DCEU’s Hans Zimmer version.
While we don’t know exactly what Cavill’s return includes, his history with Shazam and Black Adam makes him a likely candidate in either of their sequels. There’s also confirmation from Warner Bros. that he’ll be suiting up for the long-awaited Man of Steel 2.
As well as kickstarting the DCEU, Zack Snyder’s 2013’s movie is held by many as the crumbled franchise’s best outing. Although it’s unlikely Snyder will also return, there’s talk about Mission: Impossible’s Christopher McQuarrie reuniting with Cavill to at least pen the script. Either way, Cavill is once again putting his underwear on top of his trousers.
If you love the DCEU, check out our guide to how to watch all the Superman movies in order, or if you want to know more about the future of these superhero movies, you can check out our guides to The Flash, Aquaman 2, and The Batman 2.