Dwayne Johnson’s New Movie Getting Wildly Different Scores From Critics And Audiences

Audiences love Dwayne Johnson's DC film Black Adam, but critics absolutely hate it, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

By Vic Medina | Published

Move over, She-Hulk: there’s a new superhero for fans to argue about. Dwayne Johnson’s long-awaited DC epic Black Adam is now in theaters, and thanks to early screenings on Thursday night, audiences are weighing in on the film with glowing reviews and a 88% positive score on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics, however, are trashing the Jumanji star’s film with a 45% “rotten” rating on the site, creating a large gap in opinions that makes us wonder if critics and moviegoers are actually watching the same film.

As of Friday morning, 145 Rotten Tomatoes critics had weighed in on Black Adam, with 78 giving it a “rotten” score and 63 rating it “fresh.” Most took issue with Dwayne Johnson himself, with Dulcie Pearce of The Sun (UK) calling him the “biggest letdown” of Black Adam, and Peter Travers of ABC News asking “What happened, dude? How did your passion project…become a humorless, chaotic bummer?” Even worse, among Rotten Tomatoes’ “top critics” (that’s code for critics from respectable media outlets), the film only rates at 27%.

Perhaps the most telling reviews come from critics from comic book sites, with Josh Wilding of ComicBookMovie.com praising Dwayne Johnson’s “pitch-perfect take” on Black Adam, but calling the rest of the DC film “brainless” and “not the fresh start the DCEU desperately needs.” Kaitlyn Booth of Bleeding Cool dismisses it as doing “everything everyone has been doing for the last ten to fifteen years.”

Dwayne Johnson can’t even take solace with the positive reviews critics are giving Black Adam, with most pointing out its many flaws yet finding a few diamonds in the cinematic rough to enjoy looking at. “It’s not a perfect film…but it’s certainly interesting to watch it try,” Johnny Gayzmonic of Fanboys of the Universe proclaimed.

dwayne johnson black adam
Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam (2022)

It seems the one thing the critics do agree on is the cameo in the post-credit scene is fantastic. You know the one we mean; we won’t spoil it here.

Meanwhile, moviegoers are loving the visual spectacle and the action in the film, with an 88 score from “verified” Rotten Tomatoes users and a 90% from all viewers. Dwayne Johnson is getting high marks for his performance, and most fans online are buzzing less about Black Adam as a whole and more about what it means for the future of DC movies. And that seems to be more than enough for them.

The film is seeing similar ratings over at Amazon’s IMDB, with a 7.3 user rating as of Monday morning, and a 40 Metacritic score.

The hype surrounding the film will likely have effects on how critics and audiences judge the film, for better or for worse, and Dwayne Johnson has no one but himself to blame for that. He’s been building up Black Adam for years, promising an epic anti-hero adventure that will redefine the DC universe. It created a level of expectation that is nearly impossible to meet, even for Johnson, and while audiences are receptive now, more realistic opinions are likely to set in.

Joining Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam are actors Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate, Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, and Sarah Shahi as Adrianna Tomaz.

Black Adam is in theaters now, to judge for yourself. It is rated PG-13 for language and violence (which reportedly needed to be toned down to avoid an R rating).