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Every now and then, films seem to get made where the creators are in a sort of an echo chamber such that they never look beyond their own fascinations and perspectives. The most recent piece of evidence is Guhan Senniappan’s superhero flick Weapon. It does not matter that Marvel and DC have been struggling for the past 5 years, or how some Hollywood flicks have successfully dealt with growing superhero fatigue, or that there were earlier attempts in Tamil film, which taught us about the risks of not scripting a story around its setting; even if it carries an Indian title like Minnal Murali breaking conventions, we still get Weapon – two hours of every other clichéd superhero trope ever put on screen as if it were an imaginary story acted out by kids with action figures.

This movie has no flow whatsoever from beginning to end but just about 30 minutes should give you an idea how shallow are those ideas and how confused was the screenplay. In Weapon, superpowers are derived from a superhero serum (like Captain America) stolen from Nazis by an Indian soldier when Netaji Subash Chandra Bose met Hitler in 1942. When the Swastika brigade comes to India to retrieve their prized possession, he gives it to his son, Mithran; who upon reaching maturity becomes a superhuman (Sathyaraj) endowed with super strength as well as telekinesis and telepathy.

However, in the grand scheme of things in this world called “Weapon”, Mithran is nothing more than a cogwheel. A blast at a Neutrino power plant produces so many intertwined subplots that none of them can be called better than another let alone having any real depth. There is Agni (Vasanth Ravi), the YouTuber trying to protect nature using superheroes. Then there’s Black Society 9 – Hydra-like organization ruling Indian economy led by Dev Krishnav aka DK (Rajiv Menon) who is more of a Lex Luthor character with the intelligence of Kingpin and an illegal test on children using his Limb Regeneration serum from lizards (these limbs grow so fast even that Marvel’s Deadpool or Lizard would be stunned). Oh, did I mention Solomon, the superhuman beefcake killer made to go for one more assassination due to blackmail?

Some other noteworthy things in this movie are a bunch of assassins who hardly have anything in common, the concept of “Kundalini energy”, an alleged human aura, luminous flying creatures resembling bees and a potential Cyborg-esque protagonist for its sequel. Phew!

Not one of those characters or ideas actually stands out in this hodgepodge mess. Even senior actor Sathyaraj fares poorly in all this. When he has to exhibit minimal action for his superpower, you would agree that this 69-year-old looks as scary as Logan crossed with Professor X plus Jean Grey developed into one. But he is crippled by a storyline that uses him merely as a centrepiece for the narrative. If there was ever hope of emotional attachment to the tale then it lay herein – Mithran’s upbringing; but evidently such emotionality is squeezed out through slideshows structured on crappy looking AI generated images.

This means that the movie was written poorly, but what makes watching it even more difficult is its editing, concept of scenes and staging. In this very important scene, a truck heading recklessly towards a child crossing the road is saved by an “unknown figure”; thus making it serve as a plot for pivotal surveillance footages with super humans. When you watch this clip, immediately you can recognize Christopher Reeve’s Superman or Sam Raimi’s Spiderman, this gives you an idea of how superheroes have become popular in our culture today. This scene and just writing, execution and editing alone plus camera angles make it clear that while Guhan loves superhero movies; his filmmaker persona still has to come out of his filter bubble and explore other genres outside superhero movies. For now, he has failed miserably on both Marvel’s Earth-1218 and DC’s Earth 33 with none of his superhumans able to salvage the situation.

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