*Attention: Spoilers ahead. Please be aware!
For the first time on screen, Black Adam, a superhero not only played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but supported by a team of amazing actors and actresses, creates an entire spin-off story from the original show, Shazam!
This DC Comics movie is on-screen through the writing team of Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani. Depicting a superhero who was once imprisoned for over 5,000 years, Black Adam is a force no one should reckon with. After his release into modern times, on the premise of time traveling, Adam strikes the attention of the Justice Society of America, who in turn, aim to change his actions into being more of a superhero rather than a villain.
“Being one of the first people to play this character, depicting his passion and introducing the JSA [Justice Society of America] to the world was a really cool experience for me,” Johnson said in a recent press conference.
After Adam’s 5,000-year imprisonment, he finally has the chance to break free. But this time, with vengeance and anger. The help of the JSA makes Adam finally come down from his animosity to use his powers for good.
“For me, to play the common man who is fighting for freedom, for choice— that resonates pretty deeply with me. I’m Persian, and with everything that is happening over there right now, I feel very closely connected,” said actress Sarah Shahi, who plays a superhero named Isis.
Isis, the protagonist and one of Adam’s enemies, is portrayed as a Middle-Eastern woman by Shahi. Shahi herself is an active feminist and outspoken of the beauty and style standards of women around the world. In the comics, Isis is seen sporting her crystal white bikini (at least that’s what it seems like), and this is important because of the drastic change that Isis makes. The lack of glamor and glisten is found in her black t-shirt and cargo pants.
“I think that having me in normal clothes really shows young girls what it’s like to be a real-life superhero because women don’t have to dress in bikinis anymore. It just feels right, and I feel like myself,” Shahi continued.
The lack of revealing clothing throughout the movie was not a dig at the societal standards, but rather a form of feminism. So what does this mean to the heroines in the DC Comics world?
Isis wearing less sexualized attire shows just how powerful women and girls can be, regardless of their outfit. This is also important to Middle Eastern representation because of Shahi’s familial roots and establishing a better repertoire around the world. The worldwide conflicts are something that Shahi is personally afflicted by, and if she can portray one good thing through Isis, it would be to show just how powerful and empowering women really are.
Superheros seem like they have it all figured out. The training, their powers, their really amazing suits. It all comes together to depict their persona, and are extremely important to their recognition in the world as well. When I heard that Quintessa Swindell (you know, Anna, from Euphoria) was playing Cyclone, I quickly jumped up.
“The way Cyclone moves is so sick. That her powers come out through dance,” Swindell told Esquire. “Every movement by me is inspired by Isadora Duncan.”
In the 1920s, Isadora Dunca was known as the “Butterfly Woman” for her dance. Cyclone, one of the newest members of the JSA, is an important figure in showing the strength and intelligence of women in the superhero world. One of her nicknames in the traditional comics is “Tornado with a 167 IQ.”
Switching over from her role in Euphoria, Swindell had been learning and practicing her moves for Cyclone. While she is one of the youngest members to join the JSA, she is equally as powerful, making a new stance for young girls and their positive representation in society.
The top tier feminism in this film is extremely important to take note of. From the proper character representation to the portrayal of power through strength and unity through the JSA, Black Adam proves that women don’t need to be saved by men. Black Adam’s release on Oct.21 will absolutely be somewhere you will catch me.