Black Adam provided Henry Cavill’s Superman with the re-introduction that 2017’s Justice League failed to. Far from simply bringing its title character into the DCU, Black Adam brings in a wide array of new characters, like the Justice Society of America, while also setting numerous major events in motion for the franchise’s future and making the nation of Kahndaq a major location for future DCU stories. One of the most significant accomplishments of Black Adam is bringing Henry Cavill back to the big-screen as Superman, following The Rock’s six-year struggle with Warner Bros. old management to do so – a struggle that was only finally resolved at the very last minute.
Cavill’s cameo in the end-credits scene of Black Adam both sets up The Rock’s planned Superman and Black Adam battle, acting as a kind of theatrical rebirth of Cavill’s Man of Steel. The latter was something that the 2017 theatrical cut of Justice League also tried to do, albeit as an attempt at course correction from Cavill’s previous Superman appearances, and with completely opposite results for the two movies. Meanwhile, the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League in contrast with the original Justice League release shines a light on how bad the attempt to revamp Superman was in Justice League’s theatrical cut. No doubt, Black Adam learned important lessons from both versions of the film.
Justice League 2017 Tried & Failed To Pivot Away From Snyder’s Superman Vision
In a hurried effort to move Cavill’s Superman into the classically hopeful version of the Man of Steel, Justice League’s reshoots greatly altered Snyder’s plans and did everything possible to break off from the previously established Superman arc. Only connecting to the original Superman arc wherever it was absolutely necessary (such as Superman’s return from his death), the theatrical version of Justice League rebooted Superman to be as cheerful as possible, with lines like « I believe in truth, but I’m also a big fan of justice, » while granting his character a quippy rapport with Batman and the rest of the League. Unfortunately, Justice League’s box office disappointment made it all for naught.
The blundered CGI removal of Henry Cavill’s mustache eclipsed Superman’s revamped characterization, while Justice League’s attempt to distance itself from Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice backfired. In restarting Superman from his traditionally hopeful image, Justice League instead made Cavill’s Man of Steel a two-dimensional caricature of himself that lacked in the necessary build-up in his return. This decision-making ignored that Man of Steel and Batman v Superman stayed true to Superman’s essence, while the release of the Snyder Cut highlighted how misguided the abandonment of them was.
The Snyder Cut Showed The Completion Of Superman’s Journey
Snyder’s conception of his arc was planned to be one of Superman becoming a symbol of hope by way of overcoming fear and paranoia projected towards him. Batman v Superman emphasized this with Superman worshiped as a savior by some, feared as a conqueror by others, and simply seeing himself as « a guy trying to do the right thing ». His sacrifice in Batman v Superman is the ultimate demonstration of his selflessness for a world where he faces widespread rejection, with Batman and the rest of humanity finally being united in seeing Superman as a hero.
The foundation of his death was the bedrock Snyder intended to make Superman’s return in his classic image. After his revival, Superman’s journey to become a symbol of hope is complete as he joins the League to defeat Steppenwolf in the Snyder Cut. The release of the Snyder Cut showed how crucial every step of Superman’s journey had been to the aim of him becoming the Superman the world knows, and how badly ignoring those events impacted his greatly flattened return in 2017’s Justice League. By the time of Henry Cavill’s cinematic Superman return in Black Adam, the importance of his preceding three-film arc was not lost on the film.
Black Adam’s Superman Builds On Clark’s Journey In Snyder’s Arc
The Superman seen in Black Adam’s end-credits scene is as powerful and confident as the world knows the Last Son of Krypton to be, specifically because of Black Adam’s embrace of Snyder’s Superman arc. Superman greets Black Adam with the words « It’s been a while since anyone’s made the world this nervous », referencing Batman v Superman’s controversial story of the world’s reaction to Superman’s presence. With Superman’s appearance taking place after his resurrection in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Cavill’s Man of Steel is not the clumsily assembled character seen in the 2017 Justice League, but a fully formed hero at last.
By re-introducing Cavill’s Superman in a way that acknowledges the importance of his entire journey, Black Adam accomplishes the very goal that Justice League’s theatrical cut tried to bootstrap into being at the last minute. Cavill’s Kal-El exudes hope with the kind of triumphant spirit that Snyder always intended to get him to, enabling Cavill to portray a proper contrast to the villains of the world and anti-heroes with a code of justice different from his own. Most importantly, Superman gets there as the nature evolution of his arc that the 2017 Justice League tried to abandon to the entire franchise’s detriment.
In setting up five other DCU movies, Black Adam sees Superman’s arc as conceived by Zack Snyder as being just as vital to his character formation as Zack Snyder’s Justice League did, and builds from it accordingly with the dark trials of his early days overcome. The road to get there was still a rough one though, with The Rock’s comments on bringing Henry Cavill back as Superman indicate it faced as much, if not more opposition from Warner Bros. than even the Snyder Cut did. In not forgetting the importance of Zack Snyder’s story to his growth as a hero, Black Adam’s re-introduction of Superman gives him a hopeful future with an organic arrival to that point.