‘Weapon’ movie review: A messy superhero film that’s more like a make-believe game with action-figures


A still from ‘Weapon’
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Movies often tend to become products of filmmakers who are stuck in echo chambers, refusing to look beyond and above their own fascinations and perspectives. Guhan Senniappan’s superhero film Weapon is the latest testimony to that. Despite all the fuss behind Marvel and DC’s poor show in the last five years; despite how some Hollywood productions have popularly managed to deal with growing superhero fatigue; despite previous attempts in Tamil cinema teaching us the perils of not rooting the story to the milieu; and even with an Indian title like Minnal Murali breaking formulas, we have Weapon, a two-hour showreel of done-to-dust superhero tropes that comes across more like a child’s make-believe story with action-figures.

From start to finish, the film lacks any sense of flow but just the first 30 minutes should tell you how trite the ideas are, and how messy screenwriting could get. In Weapon, the superpowers come from a superhero serum (akin to the one in Captain America) that was stolen from the Nazis by an Indian soldier during Netaji Subhash Chandrabose’s meeting with Hitler in 1942. When the Swastika brigade comes to India to retrieve their prized possession, the soldier injects it into his son, Mithran, who grows up to become a superhuman (Sathyaraj) with superhuman strength, telekinesis, and telepathy.

Weapon (Tamil)

Director: Guhan Senniappan

Cast: Sathyaraj, Vasanth Ravi, Tanya Hope, Rajiv Menon

Runtime: 120 minutes

Storyline: A youtuber searching for a myserious superhuman crosses paths with a secret society headed by a supervillain

But in the grand scheme of things in the world of Weapon, Mithran is a mere cog in the wheel. In the present day, a blast at a Neutrino power plant spools out many interconnected subplots, one no better than the other and with characters as shallow as it can get. We have Agni (Vasanth Ravi), a YouTuber chasing after superheroes to use them for ecological preservation. Then there’s the Black Society 9, a Hydra-like organisation that controls the Indian economy, headed by Dev Krishnav a.k.a DK (Rajiv Menon); he’s a Lex Luthor figure with the intellect of Kingpin, who uses children to illegally test his Limb Regeneration serum taken from lizards (The speed with which these limbs grow would put Marvel characters Deadpool and Lizard to shame). Oh, did I mention a beefed-up assassin named Solomon who gets blackmailed to go on a final mission?

Also getting screen time is a rag-tag team of assassins, the concept of “Kundalini energy”, the aura that humans apparently possess, glowing bees-like flying devices, and a Cyborg-esque lead to a sequel. Phew!

A still from ‘Weapon’

A still from ‘Weapon’
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

And none of these characters or ideas manage to register in this hotch-potch mess. Even veteran actor Sathyaraj gets the raw end of the deal. Having a superpower that demands minimal action ensures that the 69-year-old Sathyaraj looks as formidable as this Logan-meets-Professor X-meets-Jean Grey figure. But he’s hamstrung in a plot that uses him only as a showpiece to centre the plot around. If there was any scope for an emotional investment in the story, it was in the pathos that birthed it all — how Mithran grew up to be — but using slideshows of shoddy-looking AI-generated images adds a certain plasticity.

Now, while all this signals a poorly-written screenplay, what makes watching the film a more testing exercise is its editing, conception of scenes, and staging. In a pivotal scene, a child crossing a road is saved by a ‘mysterious figure’ from a recklessly driven lorry; in the plot, it is meant to birth pivotal surveillance footage evidence of superhumans. If the scene instantly reminds you of Christopher Reeve’s Superman or Sam Raimi’s Spiderman, you know how the fundamental idea of superheroes came to be in pop culture. And just the writing, execution, and editing of this scene — and the way the surveillance footage is shot — should tell you that while Guhan might be a fan of superhero cinema, the filmmaker in him with a zeal to make superhero content needs to step out of his filter bubble and explore. For now, on Marvel’s Earth-1218 and DC’s Earth 33, his film remains a forgettable misfire which none of his superhumans manage to save.

Weapon is currently running in theatres

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *