Lately, villains in comic book movies have been quite stale. Not a single baddie has yet to shine a ray of glowing pleasure among fans. The MCU carries Loki on its shoulders, but hardly anything else; they hope Thanos will change that.
As for the DCEU, General Zod was pretty great, but Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor, Cara Delevingne's Enchantress and the CGI Doomsday received a ton of derision. It's safe to say that no comic book villain has had anything close to the impact of The Dark Knight's Joker, an Oscar-winning performance from Heath Ledger.
The DCEU's 2016 failures led to major changes behind the scenes, such as Ben Affleck taking over as #JusticeLeague executive producer and Geoff Johns gaining control of the extended universe. The solo Batman and Flash movies are in development hell, but Warner Bros. is moving forward with a #BlackAdam movie; not only is he appearing in #Shazam, but he is getting his own origin tale. Here's why it's the right move for DC.
The Joker Made Us Question Our Own Morality, Just As Black Adam Can
The Joker challenged Batman by blurring the line between absolute and relative evil, corrupting Harvey Dent and turning Gotham's citizens against one another.
A Black Adam movie will likely show the demise of his home country (Kahndaq) as well as the death of his family. He'll be a jaded, sympathetic figure — and if done right, we'll understand his hatred of the world. Black Adam may find himself believing he’s the true good guy, protecting Earth from the collateral destruction of the Justice League. He could pose moral questions regarding the heroes and what they’ve done.
Lex Luthor in Batman V. Superman already questioned the threat posed by gods and monsters in the world; Black Adam could answer those questions when he arrives.
Dwayne Johnson Commands The Screen
Dwayne Johnson is playing Black Adam, and that is enough to welcome the solo movie. He has the charisma to nail it, making the character both terrifying and as lovable as Harley Quinn.
Likewise, Heath Ledger brought us such a mysterious, yet terrifying Joker that he outshone Batman. When the Joker blew up Gotham General in #TheDarkKnight, we enjoyed every minute of it. Heath Ledger’s performance was unapologetic, yet funny.
Another strength that Johnson and Ledger share is their ability to make every word sound convincing. When the Rock speaks, you believe whatever he's saying. He can deliver the intelligence of the Joker while packing a punch as strong as Bane.
If DC Gets This One Right, The DCEU Will Be Saved
DC's decision to focus on both heroes and villains is a great way to set itself from Marvel. The latter exist because of tragedy and misconception, not just as motivational plot devices for heroes. Villains are characters too; they are the reason heroes exist.
DC is back on the right path, showing both sides of the coin. A Black Adam movie is capable of bringing us a psychologically rich, physically intimidating villain full of charisma. If the film succeeds, it will establish the DCEU as comic book movies, while the MCU is merely superhero movies.