'Brahmastra' movie review: 'Love Storiyan' ruin stunning VFX

'Brahmastra' doesn't offer a wholesome experience because it forgets other key elements required to build a fantasy world
Last Updated : 09 September 2022, 16:07 IST
Last Updated : 09 September 2022, 16:07 IST
Last Updated : 09 September 2022, 16:07 IST
Last Updated : 09 September 2022, 16:07 IST

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Brahmastra Part One: Shiva
Hindi (Theatres)
Director: Ayan Mukerji
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Mouni Roy
Rating: 2.5/5

Brahmastra is, essentially, a superhero film and let's begin this review with a famous quote from another superhero movie. "Expect disappointment and you will never really get disappointed," said Michelle 'MJ' Jones-Watson, Spiderman's girlfriend, in the franchise's latest film No Way Home.

Bollywood's reputation has been in tatters this year and it's not wise to carry high hopes on much-hyped Hindi films. Thanks to this mindset, I didn't find Brahmastra Part One: Shiva insufferable. But Ayan Mukerji's dream project, despite being ambitious, has all the traits of an average Bollywood film: Caters to the stars involved and is pretentious with emotions.

In the first part of the 'Astraverse' trilogy, Ranbir Kapoor plays Shiva, a DJ who falls in love with Isha (Alia Bhatt). Soon, we see Shiva being haunted by the visuals he sees when he shuts his eyes. He is shown to be immune to fire.

He suspects he has superpowers. An encounter with Guruji (Amitabh Bachchan), after a couple of life-threatening events, puts Shiva in a secret world of the Brahmansh, which protects Astras (supernatural, energy-radiant weapons).

The Brahmastra weapon, dismantled into three pieces, is the mother of all Astras. The last time it was active, the Brahmastra had rattled the world. But a bunch of evil forces, led by Junoon (Mouni Roy), are trying to get the Brahmastra active again.

Does Shiva belong to Brahmansh? Watch the film to know how he transforms into a superhero and saves the world.

Now, there is no doubt that Ayan Mukerji understands that larger-than-life stories bank on spectacle-like visuals. Brahmastra has loads of them. The VFX is terrific and transports us completely into the film's universe. Two long action scenes - one involving a car chase in the pre-interval portion, and the pre-climax stretch - are well-imagined and stunningly choreographed.

But Brahmastra doesn't offer a wholesome experience because it forgets other key elements required to build a fantasy world. It suffers from an overload of information on the Astraverse. A key scene, in which the Guru enlightens Shiva about his powers, could put you to sleep, thanks to the wordy details.

The film draws references from Avengers, which revelled in the idea of a squad of superheroes fighting the baddies. But Ayan Mukerji hardly establishes the other characters of Brahmansh apart from Shiva and Guruji. We are left wondering about the backstories of these people, who are no less than the central characters.

In films of this genre, the dialogues must match the stature of the superhero. But Brahmastra has tame and silly dialogues. This further dents the weakly written love story, which is the film's biggest problem.

It's okay to go all out and make a visually-stunning film with zero emphasis on emotions. But Brahmastra stresses that 'love' is the biggest weapon and yet has a love story that's hard to root for. Mukerji believes in the age-old love-at-first-sight and the rich-falling-for-the-poor tropes. This shows it doesn't matter if you cast a real-life couple when you don't write an organic love story.

Ranbir outperforms the rest. He is excellent as this vulnerable orphan, curious about his past and excited about his newfound powers. Alia tries hard to lift her damsel-in-distress character. It's tough to figure out if Mouni Roy is truly terrifying or if her face just fits such characters. Shah Rukh Khan (as a scientist) and Nagarjuna (as an artiste) are menacing in their cameos.

Brahmastra is a popcorn movie that makes you marvel at its action sequences. Outside of that, Bollywood appears like the elder child struggling for good scores in the family (film industry). In that context, this is an encouraging improvement from the spoilt brat but he can do better.

Published 09 September 2022, 10:26 IST

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