After a string of disappointing films, you might be missing the Rock’s best work in years.

 

Although Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s recent string of movies have seen mixed reviews from critics at best, his recent career move is easily the most exciting thing he’s done in years. Although Dwayne Johnson’s action movies have legitimized him as one of Hollywood’s leading tough guys, his career has grown stale. Whether because many of his characters feel the same, or due to his movies suffering from a lack of originality, it feels as though Johnson is perfectly content with playing it safe. However, despite his recent career shortcomings, The Rock’s upcoming A24 movie sounds exciting already.

Johnson’s upcoming A24 movie, The Smashing Mashing, under Benny Safdie’s direction is interesting because it might be the project that could demonstrate the actor’s range. While Johnson is one of the best wrestlers turned actors, and is no doubt fun in his more action-driven vehicles, it’s difficult to fully engage with his projects, since they generally follow the same formula. Nevertheless, another development in Johnson’s career aside from The Smashing Machine perfectly demonstrates that he’s found another successful avenue to truly demonstrate what he’s capable of when given the right kind of material.

While Johnson has returned to wrestling in the past, he’s done it in smaller capacities, while choosing to lean more heavily into his good guy persona from the ’90s. The Rock’s Current WWE Run Is Better Than Any Of His Recent Movies

The Rock’s recent movies have all seen diminishing returns at the box-office.

The Rock recently returned to the WWE, which not only surprised audiences familiar with his professional wrestling career, but also enticed audiences unfamiliar with his wrestling background as well. While Johnson has returned to wrestling in the past, he’s done it in smaller capacities, while choosing to lean more heavily into his good guy persona from the ’90s. Additionally, Johnson also infused elements from some of his more recent acting career, which ultimately made previous reappearances in the WWE feel more like promotion for upcoming movies than a genuine return to the sport.

Title Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score Budget / Box-Office Gross Jungle Cruise (2021) 63% 92% $220 million / $220.9 million Red Notice (2021) 37% 92% $200 million / NA Black Adam (2022) 38% 88% $190 – $260 million / $393.5 million Fast X (2023) 56% 86% $340 million / $714.6 million

However, The Rock’s more recent return to professional wrestling is genuinely interesting, since he’s playing more into his heel persona – that is, he’s ostensibly a bad guy this time around, and The Rock’s WWE return comes at a time when many of his recent movies haven’t done so well. While reviews between critics and audiences are divided, an undeniable fact about Johnson’s acting career is that many of his more recently released projects haven’t performed as well at the box-office as they used to. However, Johnson’s WWE return was largely met with a near-unanimous positive reception from wrestling audiences.

Although Johnson has worked hard to cultivate a believable acting career, his return to wrestling shows what his movies should do.

The Rock’s WWE Return Does What His Movies Haven’t
The Rock’s heel turn in WWE gives him an edge that’s rarely been seen in his movies.

Johnson’s return to the WWE is great because it demonstrates more charisma and edge than what’s been seen in his recent movies. Even though he’s now a heel, The Rock’s WWE return proves what his movies need more of in order to resonate with audiences again. Furthermore, The Rock’s turn as a heel in his WWE return demonstrates his acute sense of humor, since his return features him cutting some of the funniest promos of his career. Although Johnson has worked hard to cultivate a believable acting career, his return to wrestling shows what his movies should do.

Many of Johnson’s characters in Hollywood all have a noticeable lack of flaws, edge, or other endearing qualities that ultimately makes them feel dangerously safe. Whether it be his Luke Hobbs character or any of his recent outings alongside Kevin Hart or Ryan Reynolds, Johnson’s characters all blend together. If his WWE return proves anything, it’s that Johnson should consider taking on roles where he’s either deeply flawed, or outright the movie’s villain. Although Johnson is back in the WWE, it compels one to ponder for how long.

How Long Will The Rock Stay With WWE?
The Rock could wrestle at SummerSlam or even at WrestleMania 40

With The Rock’s WWE return being so recent, it remains to be seen just exactly how long he’ll stick around. Furthermore, The Rock has already demonstrated in the past that he isn’t opposed to returning intermittently in between filming movies, so it isn’t a stretch to assume he’s doing the same thing while his upcoming movie projects are still in development. However, with his turn as a heel, his feud with Cody Rhodes, and big events like Wrestlemania and SummerSlam on the way, he could be with the WWE much longer.

With WrestleMania 40 around the corner and stars like The Rock, Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes, and Logan Paul set to be among the featuring acts, The Rock could be a part of the WWE for more than just a brief moment. Furthermore, it’s possible that The Rock could once again make an appearance at SummerSlam later this August, and possibly even face off against Roman Reigns. Furthermore, with Netflix and the WWE’s new deal, and The Rock sitting on the WWE’s board of directors, it’s entirely possible that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s involvement could extend far beyond small appearances.

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