Black Adam has a disappointing 54 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and just 45 on Metacritic, with many reviewers agreeing the characters and plot are lost amid the excessive amount of action scenes and CGI.
Read more: Everything we know about Black Adam
Alonso Duralde of The Wrap, called the film “anti-entertaining” and blamed "CG that’s assaultively unappealing and rapid-fire editing that sucks the exhilaration right out of every fight scene.”
Watch: Black Adam initially rated R due to violent scenes
Rolling Stone movie critic David Fear called the film "generic, flavourless and incoherent", and said even his enjoyment of The Rock's performance could not make up for that.
IGN reviewer Joshua Yehl claimed the movie was “packed with undeveloped characters and an excessive number of repetitive action scenes, to the point where its half-baked debate on what it means to be a hero is lost in all the noise.”
ScreenCrush critic Matt Singer branded the film “pretty middling” and claimed the movie felt too focused on setting the scene for the sequel.
He wrote: "After two hours of dour table setting, you’re left with a clear direction for DC’s cinematic future - and a lot less interest in actually watching it.”
Variety's Peter Debruge seemed to agree, saying “the film’s whole purpose is to give Black Adam a suitably grand introduction on the assumption that he’ll be pitted against a more deserving adversary soon enough.”
And The Hollywood Reporter's John Defore said Johnson's "passion project serves the character well, setting him up for adventures one hopes will be less predictable than this one.”
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw agreed that The Rock's performance was the highlight of the film, writing his “massive bulk, planet-sized head and sly gift for deadpan humour all make him a great superhero.”
Black Adam currently has the lowest approval rating for a DC film since 2017’s Justice League, which achieved just 23 per cent, and was such a flop Warner Bros produced a reboot in 2021, with Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
The Shazam! spin-off follows Black Adam as he returns to the mortal realm from a magical prison.
Born as a slave in the nation of Kahndaq, Teth-Adam found fame as the nation’s Champion. Instead of using his powers for good, Teth-Adam took on the moniker of Black Adam and turned to the dark side by releasing a group of demons known as the Seven Deadly Sins, later being imprisoned for it. When released in the modern-day, he tries to return Kahndaq to its former glory.
Black Adam is released in UK cinemas on 21 October 2022.