Even after clarifying his previous Black Adam-as-Hero sentiments for the Shazam films in a youtube Q&A video last week, there have been some questions among fandom if The Rock was locked in on the character he was playing. In the video, he says in part, “Yes, of course Black Adam in the mythology is a villain, or he could be considered an anti hero. Or to some, he’s a hero… to some who have a black heart, like me. Again I love the backstory that he started off as a slave. and he was held down. That kind of back story of a man who’s held down and he rises up out of that to become greater, and then dealing with the conflict and pain of losing his family… It’s dark, but it also adds to the gravity and the weight of the story.”
As Dan Wickline noted here in a post last month, that syncs very closely with Geoff Johns‘ view of the character, “The character of Black Adam has often been portrayed as an Anti-Hero, often in comics by Johns, protecting his people while devastating any and all that stood against him.”
In an Instagram re-posting of the Q&A video last night, The Rock elaborates on that a little, explaining, “All depends on how you interpret the word “hero”. Growing up the DC villains were always my “heroes”. As evil as they were, they were always my favorite. Still are. Luthor, Joker, Brainiac, Sinestro etc… and of course the ruthless one, Black Adam. Cooking up some cool, bad ass and fun plans with DC to introduce Black Adam into the Universe.”
And there’s that tonal shift that they’ve been emphasizing for the DCEU moving forward. In January, The Rock said, “As a hard core DC fan, to get a real sense of the tonal shifts and developments coming in these future movies has me fired up. Something we, as DC fans have all been waiting for for a very long time. Hope, optimism & FUN. Even when talking about the the most ruthless villain/anti-hero of all time finally coming to life.”
It’ll be interesting to see how they portray the character in the context of the ‘tonal shift’ that they’re aiming for. Historically, Shazam was the very definition of a light-hearted super-hero franchise, but we are decades away from the Golden Age version of the character.