Spyder is a Tamil/Telugu bilingual action movie starring Mahesh Babu and Rakul Preet Singh in lead roles. S. J. Surya played a key role. A. R. Murugadoss directed the film. N.V.Prasad and Tagore Madhu produced it. Santosh Sivan is the cinematographer and Harris Jayaraj composed the music. Spyder released worldwide on 27 September 2017.
Shiva (Mahesh Babu) works in Intelligence Bureau office, which spies on phone calls of selected people for security reasons. Shiva is content with his job though he is over-qualified, justifying that the job helps him prevent crimes instead of enquiring later on. He spies on general public unofficially with the help of software developed by himself in order to protect the needy. A brutal murder of a teenage girl and his friend leaves him devastated. When he sets out to find the killer, more gruesome murders surface which are connected to a possible psychopath. The rest of the story is how Shiva tracks down and eliminates the unknown threat.
The story is completely based on ‘The Dark Knight’ including the characterizations of hero and villain and some scenes. A. R. Murugadoss has copied Christopher Nolan several times earlier, but he time and again fails to understand the soul of the films, Spyder is no exception. While Dark Knight has an extraordinary moral argument, it is non-existent in Spyder.
Story & Character Analysis:
Characterization of Protagonist:
The characterization of Shiva (Mahesh Babu) is half-baked. We never know if he has any work at office. He comes to office as if to use free internet without any responsibilities and roams around the city freely. He even makes his colleagues work on his personal projects in office which has nothing to do with his job profile. All these things look silly and leave many loose ends. His personal life is also not properly established in any scene.
We are told repeatedly that the hero is an intelligent guy, but the Director failed to show it on screen. The protagonist doesn’t reach villain on his own, but villain intentionally leaves clues. He doesn’t catch villain but takes the help of ladies. Moreover he depends on his friends to rescue his own family. In all these scenes, Director tried to portray hero as a smart guy through dialogues which didn’t work well. All these things helped in elevating villain’s role. So, audience leaving the theater remember villain instead of hero.
The role of villain’s brother (Bharat) is just a filler. His character has no development, no scope and no importance. It just bridges the gap between hero and villain.
The characterization of villain dwindles between anarchist and psychopath. When the tension raises, the flashback of villain comes as a speed breaker. The major flaw in this film is that villain is always suppressed to elevate hero, which reduces the stakes. Particularly during the scene where Shiva gets stabbed from iron rods on truck. This scene establishes much needed conflict, elevates villain as serious antagonist, presents the cheap nature of people recording it on mobiles instead of helping which is the central theme of the film. But everything is spoiled just with a single scene of hero shooting villain which adds no value to the story or theme except for a cheap thrill of hero elevation.
The ladies helping to arrest villain reduces the scope of hero. There should have been a serious face off between hero and villain instead of forced sub-tracks. The boulder scene looks comic and doesn’t have much needed seriousness. The fault is on VFX and Director’s end, as it looks cartoonish and is not elevated enough to provide thrills. The villain blackmailing people to do things for him repeatedly is not believable. The climax episode too is passable in comparison to rest of the film.
S. J. Surya delivered an outstanding performance as Bhairavudu, a person who takes pleasure in wailing of people. Rakul Preet Singh is good in her role. Most other characters have limited screen presence.
Mahesh Babu disappoints with his performance. The problem is certainly with Director who failed to narrate his character properly or give sufficient details. Murugadoss focused more on villain’s character, thus undermining Mahesh Babu’s role. For example, in the scene where they catch Bharath and Mahesh walks aside. There should have been a closeup shot to show that he is thinking, but entire scene has been covered in long shot, which spoils the scope for his performance. In several other scenes, where Mahesh is thinking or planning, long shots make it appear like a blank face. This is something least expected from a talented director like Murugadoss.
The Direction is mediocre and spoiled majority of the film. Cinematography is top-notch and every shot looks rich. The Editing is good. The Background music is good, but songs appear as speed breakers. The lyrics in Telugu version are cheap and makes it look like a dubbing film. VFX is cartoonish and spoiled most of the action scenes. The Production values are good.
Spyder failed at several levels, but Direction is worst of all. It seems as if Murugadoss let his assistants Direct majority or whole of the movie.