The following contains spoilers for Black Adam, which is now playing in theaters.
In the heart of black adam it is a moral dilemma about the ethics of killing. As the titular antihero rampages through Intergang and kills a truly absurd number of soldiers, he is cheered on by an audience exhausted by the group’s brutal control over the region. And as the heroes battle Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson), arguing that his kind should never kill, it seems somewhat hypocritical, considering his ally in the film.
One of the strangest rhythms of black adam focuses on the alliance between heroes like Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). That’s because Hawkman’s proclamation to Black Adam that heroes don’t kill seems to rule out every lethal mission Waller has approved of during her tenure as head of Task Force X, aka Suicide Squad. So why does Waller get a pass from the other DC Extended Universe heroes?
Amanda Waller’s role in Black Adam
Along the black adam, the titular anti-hero rampages through Intergang’s forces and deals an absurd amount of damage to Kahndaq’s enemies. It’s enough of a bloodbath that Waller decides to intervene by contacting Hawkman and the Justice Society, hoping to deal with Black Adam before he becomes a worldwide concern. He leads the superhero team to fly into the nation to deal with the perceived threat of Black Adam. However, while he is briefly convinced to turn himself in due to the inherent danger his power level poses to the world, the JSA ultimately have to fight alongside him against Sabbac. The heroes then retreat, leaving Black Adam to decide his own future. When Waller communicates with Adam via drone, she makes it clear that she has no interest in following her orders, prompting her to ask Superman for backup to take on the anti-hero.
It’s an interesting reintroduction to Waller, whose previous DCEU appearances placed her more behind the scenes. Waller was seen in suicide squad conversing with Bruce Wayne, implying a level of cooperation between her and the Justice League heroes. But it seems that Waller is much more important in the current landscape of the DCEU. She has an entire arctic prison containing dangerous threats to the world and has casual contact with Hawkman. On top of that, her ability to call Superman hints that she has completely turned the Justice League into allies. That’s a surprise, though, given Waller’s previous actions in the DCEU and her willingness to kill is in stark contrast to the rest of the heroes she works with.
Amanda Waller’s future in the DCEU
During the suicide squad Y Pacifier, Waller makes it clear that he is not concerned with moderation in his missions. He even seems unconcerned about the loss of civilian life, as he almost casually dismisses the inhabitants of Corto Maltese after the mission, ordering Task Force X to leave them in the hands of Starro’s specter. She has also been willing to assassinate her own agents if they refuse her orders and even came close to killing Bloodsport before her staff rebelled against her. Waller may mean well and dedicate himself to protecting the nation from her. But she is far less morally scrupulous than Hawkman, who spends much of his time black adam reminding the titular antihero that heroes don’t kill.
Hawkman’s sentiments suggest that Waller’s place in the DCEU is more contentious than it seems, and that the exposure of the Suicide Squad’s actions in Pacifier they were forgotten or had not happened yet. Otherwise, Hawkman was willing to throw morality out of him, working for a woman who had ordered countless murders as part of her mission to take down a killer. He also raises the question of how Superman got involved and why he isn’t more concerned about Waller’s orders and the Suicide Squad’s actions. Waller may have become too connected in the DCEU for even her daughter’s denunciation to completely oust her from power, setting her up to define the future of the universe.
To see Amanda Waller’s DCEU return, Black Adam is in theaters now.