Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam Review


It had been many years since I saw this one so it was nice to check it out again. The special really holds up quite well though as the animation is still very good and we’ve got some good fights here. Who wouldn’t want to see Black Adam take on Superman right? It’s one of those heavyweight battles you’ve got to see. Now in terms of power levels I do have some issues…but lets dive right into this.

The movie starts by introducing us to Billy Batson who is still doing his best to be a nice guy but it rarely seems to pay off. He gets beat up for his troubles and has been bounced from foster home to foster home. Clark Kent wants to interview him and this may be at a good time since Billy was starting to get disillusioned with everything. There isn’t time to finish the interview though as Black Adam shows up and immediately tries to murder Billy. Clark transforms into the mighty Superman in order to battle him while Billy learns about great power and what it means to be a champion of the people. Will a brand new Shazam and experienced Superman be able to stop Black Adam?

This is definitely one of the best portrayals of Billy Batson that I’ve seen. Fans of Shazam will appreciate his portrayal here as he’s a good guy just trying to do the right thing. Billy is courageous enough to defend the homeless guy from a bunch of bullies and doesn’t back down from those bigger than he is. As Shazam it takes him a little bit to get used to his powers but once he does then it’s off to the races. Ultimately he avoids taking things too far and listens to Superman even when it’s a stressful moment.

This is Shazam as a super capable hero and he looks really good throughout. I also appreciated Superman here as he has a lot of great lines. This is Superman at his best, a protector of the innocent and guardian of the planet. There’s a certain reverence to him here and I like that he is super experienced at this point and knows how to handle powerful opponents. This works great as a first meeting between the two with Black Adam and Superman initially gauging each other’s abilities. It was also nice that Adam just broke in and started fighting right away. No trash talking or anything, just going right into the action.

For the animation, it pops out as I mentioned. The colors are a little less sharp than something like the DCAU but we get a lot of solid hand to hand. It’s rare to see Superman actually engaging in combos like this as his strength is usually enough but against an opponent of similar strength it makes sense to handle the fight like this. The movie did a good job with that even when it was the 3 of them fighting. They would use their aerial momentum to keep on swinging and things like that. It was just nice to see. I can’t say that the soundtrack was as memorable unfortunately but you don’t really notice because of how hype the whole thing is.

Now I did say that I had some power level concerns so lets get into this. Superman just looks too weak here. Yes, Black Adam is powered by magic, but Superman routinely takes his eyes off of Black Adam leading to sneak attacks. I also thought Superman should have leveraged his experience more in the way that he fought. Like one tactical error was grabbing Billy and just taking a lot of shots when he should have instead tackled Adam away from the area. Superman just letting himself get buried by the giant tower was another miss.

While I’m sure Superman was holding back initially, after a punch or two he should be able to tell that Adam is strong enough to take the hits and then go all out. I just don’t see Superman being completely overwhelmed the way that he was here. Make no mistake, the fight was not close. Without Shazam there Superman would have lost rather easily in this movie without dealing much damage at all. Even if Black Adam could defeat Superman (And my money is always on Superman) it would be after a long hard fought match. It would be relatively even as opposed to a one sided massacre.

Still, I did like seeing the two heroes combo him. It made for a fun fight and I do think that Adam is one of the strongest DC villains out there. He makes for an excellent opponent to Shazam in the mythos and that guy does have a lot more experience so you can see why he would typically have the edge in their confrontations. The more Shazam fights the closer their battles will be though. To date this is easily one of DC”s best stand alone projects out there. It’s very short at less than 30 minutes so there is no time for fluff. We just jump right into the action. There isn’t a lot to say beyond that, just that it’s great all around so you really shouldn’t miss it. Power level issues very rarely hurt a film as you have to go out of your way to make things too crazy. I can buy into Superman having an off day or this just being a weaker portrayal of him. Maybe he just fought someone under the Red Sun and so his powers are weakened. Enjoying the fight is the most important part either way.

Overall, The writing is fantastic and it really helps to support the great fight scenes. When you grab 3 of DC’s strongest characters you know that things are going to go well and this movie does not disappoint. I highly recommend everyone to watch this one and with Black Adam the movie just coming out a few weeks ago, now is a good time to revisit this one. It’s also interesting seeing Adam as more of a pure villain as opposed to being more of a Punisher type character. This one took being banished rather personally and seemed to already be evil before that. Admittedly an evil Black Adam like this one is the version of the character that I’m the most used to but his character has been more nuanced for quite a while now. It would be nice if DC ever went back to these individual specials like this again. Not instead of the full animated movies of course but in addition to them like how they used to do it.

Overall 8/10

Black Adam vs Morbius



Black Adam has returned in this tribute battle for Morbius. Morbius wasn’t able to control his powers very well by the end and he didn’t handle the situation with his friend very well. At the end of the day he wasn’t true hero material quite yet, Adams isn’t either but he knows exactly who he wants to be. This match won’t take him long to claim victory. Black Adam wins.

Cody Travers vs Black Adam



This is a tribute to Black Adam. Cody Travers may be a decent hand to hand fighter but he doesn’t stand a chance against someone with abilities as powerful as Black Adam. Black Adam has the edge in all real categories here and that’s what will make the difference here. Cody will be on the back foot the whole time and won’t even be able to catch his breath. There’s just nothing he can do. Black Adam wins.

Black Adam Review


It feels like this movie has been coming out for so long that you almost started to wonder if it was really happening. Well at last it’s here and the movie definitely lives up to the hype. With top notch action, a solid story and a good group of characters you’re definitely going to be pleased here. I would put it in the top 3 DCEU films just under Man of Steel and Batman V Superman while knocking Justice League off the 3rd spot. You could say that the hierarchy of the DC universe really did change.

The movie starts off with showing us the past of Kahndaq as its King turned crazy with power and enslaved his own people so that they could find him jewels of incredible power. One kid didn’t like this and made a brave stand which resulted in the wizards transporting him away to gain incredible powers. He then stopped the King but it took everything he had and the destruction was massive. 5000+ years later in the present day, the country is once again ruled by terror as Intergang rules now. They’re up to their usual tricks of looking for powerful artifacts. The Crown of Sabbac is their objective and the only one standing in their way is Adrianna.

She is trying to locate the crown first so that she can hide it and works together with her brother Karim and their friend Ishmael. In trying to find the crown we see that Ishmael is a traitor and Adrianna is forced to summon Black Adam from the void to protect them. He defeats the evildoers quickly but is unsure of what to do. He’s been gone for so long that the world doesn’t feel like his. Still, he won’t let the country stay oppressed for long and prepares to fight. Unfortunately the aggressors have help as the Justice Society is summoned to stop him and put this country back into being oppressed by Intergang. If Adam doesn’t stop them quickly then all hope will be lost.

Right off the bat one thing I liked about the film is how fast paced it is. After that initial flashback to the old days, you can bet that there was going to be a lot of action. Just about every scene has someone getting absolutely devastated in combat or a lot of explosions galore. Considering that the film is 2 hours, that’s a lot of good content around every corner. The fights are a lot of fun and Adam’s speed is handled well. It almost looks like teleportation with how quickly he can move and it’s why nobody appears to be a match for him. If he could just keep on attacking while moving at that speed more freely then even the final boss of the film and characters who seemed to last for a little bit like Hawkman wouldn’t have a chance.

The visuals are top notch here and I also liked the soundtrack. Now I won’t say that every tune was a winner here but for the most part they were all solid. I liked Adam’s main theme and when it played you knew that things were about to get real. When a movie looks and sounds good then it’s already starting on a good note. Could the rest of the film capitalize on this? I’d say that it did without a doubt. The movie has some good humor as well mainly thanks to Amon (Adrianna’s son) giving Adam a lot of ideas and him doing his bet to meet them. The movie’s humor style works really well with how serious and stoic Adam is at all times. You should crack a smile a few times.

Now a big thing here was that the Justice Society would not just be appearing but also getting a decent role. Would their scenes just make you wish Adam was around or would they do good? Well, they made for fun supporting characters. The film did have to try hard to make them appear to be any kind of match for Adam though because you get the feeling that he could crush them all in an instant if he actually wanted to. None of them are remotely in the guy’s ballpark after all.

Strength aside though, they look absolutely awful at negotiating. They are given two different opportunities to try and talk Adam down and use the worst possible ways to do it. “Kneel or Die” is not a phrase that just about any character would appreciate so that being the first impression here is a massive miss. I was wondering if the helmet was mind controlling Dr. Fate when he flew in and said this because it seemed so out of character. This isn’t really hinted at so I guess it was just him but it was an odd scene.

Then later on the Society are given another chance so Hawkman promptly ruins it by saying “We’re here to negotiate your peaceful surrender” when the whole idea was supposed to be just to talk. So power levels aside, I can also see why Adam found these guys to be really annoying. I wouldn’t trust them to be heroes at all and it’s clear that they had let this country alone to fend for itself for ages. While Adam couldn’t know that they are just lackeys working for Waller, that probably explains why they didn’t come sooner. I’m guessing they just wait until the government tells them who to fight.

I don’t doubt that they are heroes but they are bad at reading the situation and that didn’t help matters here. They just fumbled the ball so the whole time you are rooting for Adam. See, Black Adam is the kind of villain you can root for here because he’s still protecting people and has a very clear honor code. He’s not going to go after anyone who is keeping to themselves and not hurting anyone. He only punishes the wicked and does so without any mercy.

It’s why characters like the Punisher are always appealing because they keep the villains off the street permanently. So they aren’t heroes but they make the world a safer place and for people living in those areas, they can’t afford to be picky. It’s easy to see why they would side with Adam here. At long last they have a protector and their country won’t be so easily messed with anymore. It opens up a lot of possibilities for the whole area in the rest of the DC Universe. It’s sort of like Atlantis, Wakanda, or Latveria now where it’s an independent area with its own setup.

Picking fights aside, Hawkman is a fun character. He’s just super annoying with how he’s picking unwinnable fights the whole time. His baseless confidence just doesn’t work in this case and always wanting to fight reminds me of Hawkgirl there but usually she wasn’t matched up with someone outside her league like this. Hawkman seems to be the leader but isn’t a big strategist. Still, at the end of the day he is a tough fighter and I liked his determination.

Atom Smasher is the rookie here and he almost felt a bit like Deadpool with how he’s always joking around and having fun. This guy is still a hero and all though. I thought his attempts at humor weren’t nearly as good as the jokes around Adam but he tries. I always thought turning big wasn’t a great power since it just makes you a huge target but he does decently well for himself. His role is fairly small though. Likewise Cyclone doesn’t do a ton of fighting here but her wind powers are nice to have. If she can use her genius to build some kind of robotic suit to protect herself while fighting then I think she would have a good set up here and could really go to town with her wind abilities.

Dr. Fate is really the heavy hitter here and he had the only attack from the Society that actually seemed to hurt Adam. Magic always has a lot of uses and its power can be quite impressive so he makes for a good addition to the team. He doesn’t take things quite as seriously as Hawkman so he actually has some fun with all of this. I really liked the voice that he uses as Dr. Fate so it’s a shame that he didn’t use it more. This guy was a lot of fun though so I can see why everyone likes him.

As for the humans, they were okay. I didn’t care for the villain Ishmael though. He’s just your average guy who wants to be super strong. It’s all well and good that he has these elaborate plans and all but he’s just not very interesting at all. Karim is the comic relief guy here who does his best but is always in over his head. I give him props for coming out to help in the climax though and not backing down. He may not be the best fighter but he still tries his best.

Then you have Adrianna as the main heroine here and I was glad that she always had Adam’s back. When the Society tries to convince her that he’s a menace she doesn’t believe them and defends Adam every time. That’s good loyalty because he’s done nothing but help her by this point in time while the Society hasn’t done much of anything to help out. If anything they get in the way with all of their meddling and destroying half the city trying to stop him.

Finally for Black Adam himself, I was a big fan of the character. He’s very no nonsense with how he goes about attacking the villains. He’s portrayed to also be fairly quick on the uptake. He takes things literally but not to extreme lengths like Drax and while modern things may be foreign to him, he doesn’t suddenly act dumb with new concepts. His character has a lot of nuance to it and even to the end he is making the right calls. As a result he makes for a very good main character and someone you can root for here.

So I didn’t really have any issues with the film. If we want to get into really minor things, occasionally it felt like they had to nerf Adam a bit in order to keep the Society competitive. Based on his opening showing in terms of speed there is no way Hawkman or the others could come anywhere close to even landing a hit on him. They’re just way too slow. I used the excuse of Adam not being able to fight while moving that fast which we could use if we have to, but that really is an excuse since I don’t think anybody actually buys that. Still, the movie did show that none of their attacks did any damage aside from Fate’s so I can let that slide.

It’s also interesting seeing the Society effectively seem like antagonists for a good chunk of the film. It reminds me of how the Avengers went off the deep end during the AVX comic series. I like to think the League would have handled things better which is why Waller didn’t call them in. That or she knew they wouldn’t listen to her and would cause a lot of chaos. It’s always tricky balancing superheroes with a broken country like this because you do wonder where the heroes have been. There is no excuse or reason big enough for them to have abandoned this place for over 20 years so inevitably the hero is going to look bad in this kind of circumstance. I don’t think there would be any way for the Society to win back people’s trust after that.

Naturally the film does have a scene after the credits so you’re going to want to check that out. It’s definitely a real important scene and again it makes Adam look really good with how he handles this. Now, one character here needs to be handled carefully because he’s not the kind of guy who just takes orders. He may follow them if they’re good orders but he’s nobody’s lackey. It’ll be interesting to see where this plot goes and of course I’m hyped to see it. It was a good way to end things off.

Overall, Black Adam is definitely a film that you need to watch as soon as you can. It even throws in some twists and turns for you as it really goes back to the original DC days of Man of Steel and Batman V Superman with the incredible battles and intense story. Like those it can feel a bit darker at times and there’s a lot of grey here as the characters even call the Justice Society out for trying to draw a line between good and evil real quickly. You’ll have a good time here whether it is for those big power displays or also as you weigh in on if Adam is doing the right thing or not. With the country in ruins like this should he keep taking everyone out or should he try to adopt some kind of justice system and make things work out in a more legal way? It’s a lot to make you think but at the end of the day you’ll be glued to your seat the whole time. To answer your big question, I’d still put Superman as the most powerful being in the DC universe but Adam is solidly ahead of Shazam, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and every other member. The next DC films are going to have a lot to live up to as this one set the bar very high again.

Overall 9/10

MultiVersus Review


This game got a whole lot of hype when it was first announced. Finally someone was trying to make a true competitor to Super Smash Bros and it was a company that could actually keep up in terms of the big names. Lets face it, no platform fighter will ever beat Super Smash Bros but if you can get a game that’s at least at a high level on the PS4 and Xbox, then you can now get the money from those guys who don’t have a Switch. A lot of attempts have been made in the past but it’s fair to say that this is the best competitor.

So the game is in the free to play style which means that there will be a lot of updates as this will just keep on going from season to season. It can be tough to make time for a free to play game at times because you know in the back of your head that it never ends but this one is very user friendly. You can actually just pop in for 2-3 minutes a day to get your initial win bonus and then head out. You don’t have to spend any money to get all of the characters right now so it’s also a very good currency system.

How it works is you earn gold for leveling up your characters, your player level, and also for playing games. Every day you get 100 coins for your first win and after that it drops to more like 20. You can also give people toast after a match to grant them 20 coins and they can do the same for you. Each character is typically 2500-3000 coins with a rare exception being 1500 sometimes. At the time of this review I’ve unlocked around 5-6 characters but I’ve gotten to play as even more because they switch the character rotation every week. I thought that was a nice touch since it’s like you get a demo as the characters.

Additionally your progression saves which is really cool. So when you do unlock the character someday, you don’t have to start back at level 1 again. That would have been pretty annoying. There are several modes here like 1 on 1, 2 v 2, and free for all. I spend most of my time in 2 v 2 but I do a quick match against a bot to get my 100 coins for the first round. Right now I mainly just do the first match and call it a day but occasionally I’ll play a longer batch.

As this is a fighting game there is really no end to the replay value. There isn’t a real story mode or anything like that yet so this is all about the fighting. That’s why it’s good to have such big characters here because otherwise I think it’s difficult to survive only on the gameplay. The gameplay is really good of course but seeing the characters mix it up online is definitely where the real fun comes in.

The graphics aren’t quite at AAA level like Super Smash Bros but look pretty good for a free to play title. I don’t think the graphics here were really the main focus of the game and that makes sense because the gameplay is absolutely what you need to have on point if you want this to be the next big thing. The soundtrack is really fun though. I love hearing the DCAU Batman theme on his stage when it plays. I’m less familiar with some of the other series on here but having everyone bring in their respective tracks was a superb idea. The only stage that’s annoying is the music stage because they made the speakers so loud. I always have to lower the volume a few dials when this stage gets picked up.

Of course you’ve been waiting for the gameplay part. So right off the bat I can say that it is great, however it is still a full tier below Super Smash Bros. There are no grabs or blocking here so everyone is always attacking 100% of the time. It reminds me of Super Smash Bros 64 where the hit stun is really big so you can land a ton of really crazy combos. There is a ton of lag online so at times you feel like you are warping around. It’s super rare to see lag on any game that isn’t Nintendo so that took me by surprise.

There isn’t a lot of talking in the 2 v2 battles but in 1 vs 1 it’s great to hear the characters banter and say their signature lines. There are even some character specific dialogue options that appear when two characters fight each other like Superman and Batman. The combos feel very satisfying to land and the hit stun for each blow is a big reason as to why. A lot of the other Smash clones couldn’t quite get this across which is why they didn’t work as well if you ask me. You want to feel the power behind each hit and that’s exactly what this game pulls off.

They can probably improve the game even further without changing any of the actual gameplay elements by finetuning some of the hitboxes. Overall I’m very satisfied though. Each match is a lot of fun and it’s great to see all of these character here. I’m sure there are still limits on who they can add but if the game can just get a few more big shot guest stars then that would be fantastic. In the meantime I’ll keep building my coins up. As a free to play player it’s going to be a very long time before I have all of the characters anyway so I’ll be ready.

I like all of the customizations here like putting on your own badge for people to see and the stats that it tracks. I think it’s a big mistake not to capture total play time though. I’m always curious to see that but the stats here are a bit limited. Maybe later on they’ll add some more but I’d be really curious to see how long I’ve been playing by the end. I know it’s definitely been many hours by this point.

Overall, MultiVersus really succeeds at being a true platform fighter that’s unique and does its own thing. There are no items, no final smashes, and not even any real stage hazards. The character roster is strong in its own right and should continue to get even better as the seasons go on. With the amount of players it has I’m sure that it won’t be in any danger any time soon of going away. Makes it easier to spend a lot of time on it since you feel like you’re in a good place doing so. Likewise if you do want to spend some money on the game. The beginner’s pack is not a bad deal as it unlocks all of the characters for you. It’s $40 so it really feels like you’re buying the game at that point and then you go free to play from there. It’s really a tempting offer but in the end I didn’t go for it yet. Meanwhile you should get the Platinum trophy for this one naturally after playing a lot of rounds. None of the trophies are unreasonable, they’re just meant to be a little time consuming.

Overall 8/10

Black Adam vs Uncle Sam


Uncle Sam is a powerful DC fighter but even he has his limits. He went up against Black Adam once before and it didn’t go so well. I don’t think a rematch would go much better either as Black Adam just has far better feats and more speed. He would easily be able to beat Uncle Sam up close and Sam has no real way of creating enough distance between them to come up with some kind of plan. Black Adam wins.

Sanji vs Black Adam




Suggested by iKnowledge Sanji used to be around the same strength as Zoro but then he didn’t eat anything to do for a long while. I started to wonder if it was possible that he didn’t have what it takes to defeat a foe such as Black Adam . Now that we’ve seen him fight a little more in the New World, I’m confident that he has the speed and power to keep Black Adam on the defensive. His Haki is sure to come in handy as well. It’ll be a reasonably close fight to be honest, but Sanji has got this. Sanji wins.

Black Adam vs Pan


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Suggested by IKnowledge This is a rare event…a DBZ (GT technically) character losing to a comic book fighter? You may think that this is madness, but let me explain. While Pan will likely realize her true Saiyan abilities at some point, we have never actually seen them. At the moment, her power level is actually fairly small and I don’t see her being able to keep up with Black Adam. She may put up a better fight than you’d suspect, but the victor would never be in doubt. She’ll have to hope that Dragon Ball Super does something with her character, but I wouldn’t count on it. Black Adam wins.

Goliath (Gargoyles) vs Black Adam


Goliath
Black_Adam_DCnU
Suggested by iKnowledge Goliath is a powerful foe, but Black Adam is physically stronger. This proves to be a very bad turn of events for Goliath since his whole gimmick is that he’s really strong. He has no other special abilities to fall back on while Black Adam also possesses a great amount of speed at his disposal as well. He’ll be able to easily hit Goliath with an onslaught of blows at super speed and Goliath won’t be able to counter this. Black Adam wins.

Shazam vs Black Adam


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It’s a battle of two of DC”s strongest fighters. Both of these guys could go toe to toe against Superman and their abilities are roughly equal. In a standard fight, Black Adam is typically a little stronger and faster. That being said, this is composite so the tides change quite a bit. Shazam once became Lord Marvel and his abilities were greatly enhanced. With this, Shazam destroys the gap between them and he is at a level where he could beat Black Adam. Shazam wins.
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