Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam

Is Black Adam a Hero or a Villain?

Black Adam is set to be the next film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) and will see Dwayne Johnson portraying the titular character. The film will premiere on October 21, 2022, and is a spin-off of the 2019 film Shazam! Black Adam will also be closely followed by the release of Shazam! Fury of the Gods which premieres December of 2022. The films close release dates make sense, as Shazam and Black Adam are very interconnected in the comic books. They both have similar powers (derived from the gods) and are archnemeses.

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Johnson was actually tapped to play Black Adam in the DCEU back in 2014. He was originally going to appear as Black Adam in Shazam! However, the studio decided against it, feeling the film would be too stuffed with two very big characters and actors sharing the screen. In making a separate Shazam! and Black Adam film, the two characters will get proper introductions and origin stories. Meanwhile, they are definitely bound to still share the screen together in the future.

The fact that Black Adam is getting his own film makes his nature a little harder to decipher. If he had appeared in Shazam! he would’ve been opposing his nemesis of Shazam (Zachary Levi) and would’ve certainly been the major villain of the film. However, Black Adam will be following his origin story and his reawakening after being entombed for 5,000 years. This makes it a little difficult to know if he’ll be the villain of his own story or will face a bigger threat that will kick in his heroism.

Is Black Adam a hero or a villain?

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam

The answer to whether Black Adam is a villain or hero is complicated. This is because the comic books’ answer to this varies depending on which version you read. Initially, Black Adam was strictly a villain. He was chosen by the wizard Shazam to be his champion and given the power of the gods. However, the power quickly corrupted him and he believed he should rule the world. Hence, he kills the pharaoh and takes over the Egyptian throne.

Shazam could not revoke the powers he gave to Black Adam, though. This is why, instead of taking away the powers, he banishes Black Adam for 5,000 years. After his imprisonment, Black Adam goes back to being a villain and seeks to challenge Shazam’s new champion in the modern era. Since the 2000s, though, he began being depicted as a more complex character. Despite still being corrupt, he does have a skewed sense of justice and, at times, assists other heroes. He even joins the Justice Society of America and later the Justice League. In newer comic book versions, he is painted more as a misunderstood anti-hero struggling to re-establish his reputation.

Hence, the most accurate way to describe Black Adam is to say he’s an anti-hero. He certainly lacks heroic qualities and definitely has done some evil things. However, he seems to slowly be progressing into a somewhat better person and is gradually showing some heroic actions. Sometimes he’s a hero and sometimes he’s a villain, but recent comics definitely are trying to elevate him to more of an anti-hero than a villain.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.