When it comes to superhero films, the simpler, the better. Not that one can’t have a reasonably complex plot, so long as everything boils down to three essential elements: good guys vs. bad guys, what’s at stake, and finally, loads of spectacle. The Indonesian film, Legend of Gatotkaca, struggles with all three.
Typical of the genre, it’s an origin story, opening with a prologue featuring a malovolent, lightning-wielding figure seeking a young boy, Yuda, and some kind of ancient heirloom. Yuda’s mother saves him, but is rendered somewhat insane from the conflict. Fast-forward to the present day, and Yuda (Rizky Nazar) is a down-on-his-luck college drop-out tasked with taking care of his ailing mother.
However, his life is turned upside down when his best friend is killed by the same hooded figure (maybe?). Later, Yuda himself is attacked, but rescued by a group of people called Padava, who’ve been waging some kind of war with their enemy, the Kaurava, for centuries. This ongoing conflict is explained - again and again - by several characters, each rendering it increasingly convoluted (at least to the viewer). Anyway, Yuda turns out to be some kind of “chosen one” who can defeat the mysterious Kaurava leader.
|"The sofa would look better over there."
130 long minutes later, the film optimistically leaves the door wide open for a sequel, along with the usual post-credits sequence that’s standard in every superhero movie. But despite obvious franchise aspirations, Legend of Gatokaca stumbles right out of the gate with dull characters, a muddled narrative and, worst of all, drab execution of the action scenes.
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