Nov 16 2017


Published by at 10:38 pm under Tamil Cinema


In most of our masala movies, particularly those starring a big star, the biggest problem is usually the absence of a strong villain who can go head-to-head with the hero. The need to showcase and amplify the hero’s heroism usually results in weak, neutered villains who are little more than sounding boards for the hero’s punch dialogs and punching bags for the hero’s punches. Spyder has the reverse problem. It has a fantastic, larger-than-life villain but a weak hero and so the battle between them fails to enthuse.

Sudalai(S.J.Suryah, playing the bad guy in another high-profile movie after Mersal) is not after the usual bad guy goals of money or revenge. His affliction is more deep-rooted and psychological since he simply thrives on other people’s grief. The flashback that shows his birth, the reasons behind his abnormal desire, the beginnings of these psychological stirrings and the slowly worsening consequences of their gradual development is probably the film’s best sequence. Without any of the polish that usually characterizes Murugadoss’ filmmaking, it is grim and unsettling and wouldn’t be out of place in a Bala film. Suryah too plays the character with the required manic rage.

After dreaming up such a terrific villain, its sad that Murugadoss couldn’t deliver a hero who is even half as interesting. Almost everything about Shiva(Mahesh Babu) feels wishy washy. As an Intelligence Bureau employee, his job is to listen in on people’s conversations to identify threats but unofficially, he has written a software that hones in on the word ‘help’ in conversations. The sheer magnitude of this task, considering the prevalence of a common word like “help”, is mind-boggling and he is supposed to do this single-handedly. The completely misplaced hero introduction song(part of a terrible Harris Jayaraj soundtrack) and the sight of Shiva taking on bad guys on a boat in regular masala fashion don’t help matters either.

But the film doesn’t feel like hero worship all the time and is a good mix of smarts and action. Shiva’s chase of Sudalai proceeds with some logic even if the initial red herring and subsequent twist are easily foreseen(Bharath has a rather inconsequential role). Their first face-to-face meeting is staged well(it involves a good shock) and also ends on a surprising note. The way Shiva remotely saves his family from Sudalai is another clever scene.

Shiva’s “help” fixation also leads to the romance with Shalini(Rakul Preet Singh), a girl who is looking for a one-night-stand the first time Shiva – and we – hear her. That seems mildly progressive at first but there’s nothing progressive about her role which suffers the same fate as the heroines in star vehicles.

Murugadoss draws up some interesting scenarios but goes overboard with the execution. So we start off being interested but then begin to roll our eyes as things quicky become over-the-top. A chase/fight aboard a roller coaster is the first example. A unique setting, it is nicely done initially but soon becomes too unbelievable. A longer sequence where Shiva employs some housewives to engineer an escape is another such scene. It is interesting to see housewives as action heroes but as their actions become too cinematic, the realism of the scene fades and it becomes silly. The climactic fight between Shiva and Sudalai amidst a crumbling hospital is done well though. The special effects are seamless and the action choreography as huge blocks keep falling around is impressive.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Spyder”

  1. Jordan says:

    I actually enjoyed the movie. The buildup to Sudalai got me hooked, and his flashback was interesting. Didn’t expect this from ARM, thinking he would go into typical social message mode. The kid who played the young Sudalai was good, he got me scared for a bit. However, I didn’t think the hero was too weak, he’s a smart guy who makes mistakes, but keeps his mind set on snatching the enemy. But, I find that Mahesh didn’t bring enough punch in his performance, lacking strong emotion. SJ Suryah was brilliant!

  2. Reza says:

    Like Jordan enjoyed the movie except an irritating heroine, terrible climax and the vfx of huge rock sliding into city. Other than that thot the movie was very good. Always enjoy watching murugadoss movie due to hes screenplay and hes ability TO SURPRISE ME AS A VIEWER. the greatest surprise was the climax and the charactor buildup of sj suryah, the amazing young suryah.

    Never thot Mahesh Babu was a weak hero, when the 1st time when i watched the movie didnt like hes acting that much but 2nd 3rd time started to enjoy expressionless acting with minimum show off. We are so used to irritating over acting of sivaji srk vijay n ajith, its a welcome relief to see mahesh babu being plain n simple. Ex: mahesh babu plays chess on pc n balaji ask if culprit found n mahesh quickly shows the video footage without much antics.