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First footage of Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam has extreme Mummy vibes

Better than Scorpion King vibes

Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

Since the 2020 DC FanDome, Dwayne Johnson has promised that his first ever comic book movie, Black Adam, would rock (Rock?) the DC movie universe. This year, he hoped to prove it with the first clip from the movie, which finds a group of mercenary types stumbling into an ancient temple. If you know Black Adam from the comics, it’ll all be familiar.

What we didn’t get a look at are Black Adam’s foes: the group of heroes known to comic readers as the Justice Society of America. The line-up includes Atom-Smasher (Noah Centino), Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), all of whom are expected to end up a little bruised after encountering Black Adam’s combinations of flight, super strength, super speed, and electricity attacks. Hodge and Brosnan both appeared in the lead up to the clip, with the ex-Bond saying the scope of the film was bigger than anything he’d ever encountered during his time playing 007.

Earlier this year, Hiram Garcia, president of production for Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions, told Polygon that the Black Adam creative team’s top priority was to bring the antihero’s array of powers to life. The philosophy seems apparent. “It’s not like you see him move super fast just one time, or you see him fly just one time. So we’re doing techniques that you’ve never seen before to bring him to life: when he flies, the way he uses his speed, the way he uses his strength. You will feel how powerful this hero is — or this antihero, I should say — in the movie. This film is truly utilizing a ton of technology that’s never been done before, especially for how he flies. It’s everything from LED screens, to volumetric cameras to super high-speed photography.”

Introduced in the comics as an enemy of Captain Marvel aka Shazam, Black Adam has been in active development since 2007, both as a standalone concept and as an adversary for the onscreen Shazam. Fourteen years later, the movie is finally happening in a radically different landscape: Johnson is one of the biggest blockbuster stars working in Hollywood, and Warner Bros.’ DC movie universe has rebooted itself multiple times since Christopher Nolan wrapped up his Dark Knight trilogy. In the aftermath of Zack Snyder’s tenure and the “DCEU,” the DC movie universe is open — and clearly ready to rumble with Johnson’s big ideas.

Black Adam, which will go hard-but-not-quite-R-rated-hard in a dialing back from Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad, is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Jungle Cruise). The movie is set for release on July 29, 2022.

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