While early “social media impressions” of Black Adam were largely positive in the wake of its premiere, now that scored critical reviews have come rolling in, it’s much more of a mixed bag. At the time of this writing, 64 reviews are in for Black Adam, which has scored a 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it “rotten” by the designations of the site.
While many are content to wait for audience scores, which many believe are the superior metric (that’s a debate for another day), we can see how Black Adam stacks currently up against the rest of the DCEU. And it’s not great. With the 55% score, that means Black Adam is the fourth worst-reviewed DCEU offering out of 13 projects, a cinematic universe already not exactly known for its consistent quality. Here’s the list as it stands.
Peacemaker (TV) – 94%
Wonder Woman – 93%
The Suicide Squad – 90%
Shazam – 90%
Birds of Prey – 79%
Zack Snyder’s Justice League – 71%
Aquaman – 65%
Wonder Woman 1984 – 58%
Man of Steel – 56%
Black Adam – 55%
Joss Whedon’s Justice League – 40%
Batman V Superman – 29%
Suicide Squad (Ayer) – 26%
So here, Black Adam is only above the absolute worst of the DCEU, the original Justice League, Batman V. Superman and Suicide Squad. I will say I disagree with a lot of rankings on this list. Shazam, Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984 should be lower, if you ask me. Man of Steel and Aquaman should be higher. So it remains to be seen if critics got Black Adam “wrong” or not.
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I have absolutely no doubt that audience scores will be higher for Black Adam, and those are what The Rock will end up touting on social media, given that a 55% critic score is nothing to brag about. It’s possible that audiences are genuinely more entertained than critics, but also The Rock has made himself a slew of powerful internet allies in the form of Zack Snyder fans for supporting the Snyder Cut and going to bat for Henry Cavill’s Superman. I think there’s little chance audience scores are not significantly higher than critic scores for this one.
But even still, this isn’t great. The Rock has hyped up Black Adam beyond belief, and the movie is scoring 35% below Shazam, the film he extracted himself from and the character he seems content to ignore in favor of moving on to bigger rivalries like Superman. And outside of the DCEU, these Black Adam scores put it below every single MCU movie ever made except for Eternals. These numbers may go up or down as more reviews come in, but it’s clearly not going to reach a much higher tier.
Of course, what really matters in the end is box office. If Black Adam does huge numbers then critic scores don’t matter and The Rock will get all the sway he’s hoping for in helping guide the future of DC, most likely. But if Black Adam underperforms or even bombs, this grand vision of making the character a key part of the universe going forward with sequels and face-offs against Superman does not seem likely to materialize.