Published: 18th October 2022

What you need to know about Black Adam

Based on the DC character of the same name, Black Adam is a fantasy action film in which an ancient superpower rises to protect his city from a sinister militia. 

Nearly 5,000 years after he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the ancient gods — and imprisoned just as quickly — Black Adam is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.

Black Adam was originally set to be the villain in Shazam! However, he was instead given his own feature film, with Dwayne Johnson not only starring as the title character but also working as a producer behind the camera. 

The road to the big screen has been long for Black Adam, as the film was initially set for release in December 2021, but faced multiple delays due to COVID-19. The film will now be released in UK cinemas on 21 October 2022.

Ahead of the film’s big-screen debut, we’ve put together a helpful guide for you to discover more about the age rating and ratings info, before heading off to the cinema.

Black Adam

Rated 12A for moderate violence, threat, horror, injury detail

flashing/flicking lights

This work contains flashing images which may affect viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.

injury detail

A superhero tears a supervillain in half, causing lava - rather than blood - to flow from the injury. There is brief sight of a severed arm, but without graphic detail. A soldier is melted by a superhero's fantastical powers, leaving skeletal remains. There is brief sight of the charred corpse of a villain. A man's mouth is slightly bloody after he falls from a height.

threat and horror

A guard attempts to decapitate a slave child, but is prevented from doing so. A villain's bullet speeds toward a child's head in slow motion, but is prevented from reaching its target and the child is saved. A superhero places a grenade in a soldier's mouth. Heroes do battle with demonic and monstrous forces.


There are regular fight scenes in which guns, spiked weapons, fists and fantastical powers are used. A child is hit in the chest by a bowman's arrow and superheroes are impaled on metal pipes, but without clear sight of injury. There is occasional sight of brief bloody detail, and undetailed scenes of implied execution by gunshot and sword strike. A superhero extracts information from prisoners by dropping them from a height; however, they are caught by another superhero before they hit the ground.

non-defining issues
There is mild bad language ('ass', 'bastard', 'bloody', 'piss', 'shit', 'God', 'damn'). There is mild dangerous behaviour when a skateboarder tows a ride on a car.

Why is Black Adam classified 12A?

(This section may include spoilers for the film)

From the studio behind The Batman, Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman, Black Adam is a high-intensity fantasy action adventure in which heroes and villains battle using fantastical powers. Although the violence is moderate, it features some impressionistically stronger moments. These include a supervillain being torn in half; a man being slashed with a sword resulting in some brief bloody detail; and a soldier being electrocuted by the eponymous hero, leaving only skeletal remains.

Our guidelines on violence at 12A state that: “there may be moderate violence but it should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context.” The scenes of violence in Black Adam are mitigated by the fantasy context, the lack of sustained bloody detail and the briefness of the scenes. The comedic tone also helps to reduce the impact of these scenes, alongside the hero’s growing sense of morality which provides a clear message that such violent behaviour is condemned. Therefore, the violence is contained at 12A.

Another key issue raised in the film are sequences of moderate horror, in which creatures from the underworld are seen and skeletons are brought from below to attack the inhabitants of a city. However, similar scenes of fantastical horror appear in a previous DC Comics’ adventure which shares a close tie to Black Adam - and was also classified 12A - 2019’s Shazam! Given the fantastical action context of the horror and the audiences’ familiarity with the world the monsters are appearing within, these scenes were also best placed at 12A. 

What does our research say?

We classify content in line with our published Classification Guidelines, which are the result of wide-scale consultations with thousands of people from across the UK, extensive research, and more than 100 years of experience. They are updated every four to five years to ensure that our standards continue to reflect the expectations and values of people across the country. We also work closely with experts in particular fields, including child psychologists, education professionals, charities, and other organisations to inform our approach. 

In our last guidelines consultation in 2019, people told us they feel a heightened sense of anxiety when it comes to depictions of 'real world' scenarios, in which audiences – especially young people – are likely to be concerned that events depicted on screen could happen to them. Black Adam is set within a wholly fantastical world that young people will already be familiar with from other DC Comics films, and the levels of violence, threat and horror are comparable to similar superhero films, such as Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness, released earlier in 2022.