DWAYNE Johnson called Black Adam his ‘passion project to the bone’ at a recent surprise screening for fans. This being the latest superhero blockbuster from DC and a franchise hungry Warner Bros.

It’s not often that such a film, one laden with comic book violence and computer excess, can believably be termed a labour of love. And yet, there’s something tantalisingly genuine about Johnson. A quality that has helped him become one of Hollywood’s most bankable contemporary stars.

If the Rock says Black Adam was powered on blood, sweat and tears, then it very likely was.

A lesser known anti-hero from the DC canon, Black Adam was originally pegged to be the villain in Shazam! It was only when Johnson, who had initially been approached to play Shazam himself in the film, took an interest in switching to the shadier Adam that the split occurred.

Studio execs could not conceive of a scenario in which an actor of Johnson’s calibre and box office draw be wasted as second fiddle to Zachary Levi.

Three years later and there’s no doubting who’s leading this show. Unlike Shazam! - and so many others - Black Adam tells not the story of a weedy nobody gaining superpowers but of an almighty force hitting the model world at full throttle.

As we open, Teth - aka “Black” - Adam is a prisoner, 5,000 years behind bars. A native of the ancient city of Kahndaq, Adam’s gifts were originally bestowed upon him by the same wizard who gave Billy Batson the strength of Hercules, power of Zeus, stamina of Atlas and so on.

Naturally, Jungle Cruise director Jaume Collet-Serra does not keep Adam imprisoned for long. Where would the fun be in that? Not when there’s a brutal rampage of morally dubious justice to be unleashed.

Early reactions to Black Adam promised much, with many deeming the film a game changer for the beleaguered studio. They aren’t wrong but memories of Justice League continue to weigh heavily on the entirety of the DC brand.

Alongside Johnson, Hidden Figures’ Aldis Hodge and Netflix stars Noah Centineo and Quintessa Swindell feature as super members of a very different Justice team - one less dark and moody.

Watch out too for a grisly Pierce Brosnan, living his best life in full motion capture glory. It wouldn’t be the first time.