Black Adam's release is inching closer, meaning that marketing has been ramping up in the past weeks. The Dwyane Johnson-led movie is confirmed to dawn a "new era" of the DCEU, noting that it will "start the pendulum swing" in the franchise.
Aside from its impact on the larger DC universe, one of the main topics of conversation surrounding Black Adam is the titular anti-hero's morality. The first trailer didn't pull any punches as it showcased Teth Adam killing people, indicating that the character is not holding back.
Now, the film's surprising death toll has been teased in a new interview.
Black Adam's Extreme Death Toll Teased
Noah Centineo, who plays Atom Smasher in Black Adam, sat down with Esquire Middle East to talk about the upcoming DCEU movie and his experience working with the all-star cast.
When asked what sets the film apart from other DC movies, Centineo shared that it has "teeth," but he also described it as a "marvelous, extraordinary superhero" movie.
The To All The Boys I Loved Before actor then revealed that Black Adam has the "highest body count" of any superhero flick so far, teasing that they "question morality" in the movie:
"This film has teeth, though it is a fantastic, marvelous, extraordinary superhero film. I’ve been told it has the highest body count of any superhero film so far. That may be not be a great thing, but that’s the idea. We question morality with this film, but we never side with either opinion. We leave it open-ended."
Superhero movies are no stranger to high death tolls. The Suicide Squad movies, as the title suggests, featured many deaths, with director James Gunn even addressing this plot point during the movie's promotional drive. Zack Snyder's Justice League also featured the death of the team in an intense dream sequence from its apocalyptic future.
Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War even killed most of the Avengers when Thanos snapped away half of the universe's population.
In Black Adam, Centineo was required to master the art of motion capture due to his portrayal of Atom Smasher. As a result, the actor had to do a lot of performance capture.
When asked how he was able to master it, Centineo revealed that he reached out to motion capture veteran Andy Serkis, noting that he was able to give him "a lot of advice and a lot of help:"
"To do that, I reached out to the proverbial god of motion capture, Andy Serkis. He was kind enough to take some time with me. I asked him a whole bunch of questions. He was able to give me a lot of advice and a lot of help. When it came time, because Andy Serkis was so giving graciously with his time, it was easy. It was also amazing to talk to the guy that was Smeagol/Gollum from Lord of the Rings, and Caesar from Planet of the Apes, King Kong, and Godzilla. It’s absurd. Yeah. So that was really sweet."
Centineo then mentioned that Serkis taught him to "adjust to the physics of the world" that he is dealing with, which then led to him explaining how Atom Smasher's powers work:
"He taught me to adjust to the physics of the world we’re dealing with. With Atom Smasher, when he grows, his bones break, and it’s excruciating to do.
When it comes to that, we had to figure out how would we create that. Like, maybe we put really thin pieces of wood inside the suit so that if I’m supposed to be growing, we can break them, and then I can react to that. if I have a tail, maybe I put something behind me that pulls my weight back, right? If my arms are heavy, maybe I hold the weights in my hands. But those are different. It’s about figuring out what the physics of using them to your advantage."
Meanwhile, the conversation then shifted to DCEU's future. Esquire asked Centineo if he had discussions if Atom Smasher is part of the "whole new future" of the franchise, to which the actor denied that conversations already happened:
"No, at this point we haven’t been told anything. I don’t know if that’s a thing, but I know everyone’s excited, especially at DC and Warner. And when we were in production, so was every actor on that set."
The DC newcomer then teased that the cast and crew are "eager to do more across the board:"
"I know that we’re eager to do more across the board. And if people want to see more, we’re all in on this."
Why Black Adam's Killing Spree Benefits the Character
Noah Centineo's comments about Black Adam's death toll indicate that the titular anti-hero will be unstoppable in the movie, and it seems that the Justice Society of America will do whatever it takes to stop him. From destroying jets to literally throwing people in the air, it seems that Dwayne Johnson's DCEU character is clearly not holding back.
This portrayal is actually faithful to DC Comics. In DC's weekly 52 comic books, Black Adam killed several supervillains in public and on television to establish his dominance, thus leading to him being distrusted by the superhuman community.
Based on the trailers, it's clear that the distrust element is apparent, mainly due to the JSA's consistent pursuit of the anti-hero. Although the arrival of its real villain, Sabbac, would mean that the Black Adam and the JSA will eventually team up, this still doesn't discount his killings in the movie.
Despite Teth Adam's murders in the movie, it's possible he will be redeemed when all is said and done as he eventually realizes that it is wrong. One factor that would change his ways could be the death of his son, with it being used as his motivation to do better and help Earth.
While Black Adam is notoriously known for slipping back into his wicked ways even after being redeemed, the DCEU can, hopefully, find a way to portray the character as a noble hero, giving Earth one of its powerful protectors alongside Superman.
Black Adam premieres in theaters on Friday, October 21.