Intelligence Bureau officer Shiva (Mahesh Babu) lands on the track of a roller-coaster that's running in full speed. He flings himself into it and proceeds to fight an evil villain.
One can't be blamed for wondering if this is Spyder or Spiderman and how an ordinary man can do these spectacular things without a skintight bodysuit or cape.
But then, this is an AR Murugadoss film. If at all the filmmaker catches you having such thoughts about human potential, he will destroy your arguments with a blistering monologue that blames MNCs somehow. Your best option is to stop complaining and buy the fantasy.
Spyder is about a young Intelligence Bureau officer, Shiva, who believes in stopping any kind of crime before it happens. He's so convinced about this that he's developed a special software which will alert him whenever someone displays fear in a conversation. Whether that's failing an exam because one's distracted by porn videos or a powercut.
If the idea of a stranger illegally listening in to your conversations just because you expressed fear at something sounds completely creepy, don't worry - the guy is doing it for your own good. No, do not murmur about Right to Privacy and all that. This is of national importance and if the jawan at the border is standing two feet in snow, you can tolerate an Intelligence Officer listening to your timepass conversations. It makes for an interesting premise anyway.
We eventually get to the central conflict in the film after a bit of tomfoolery in the name of romance. SJ Suryah delivers as Bairavudu, the main antagonist, but his performance is limited to the cliched portrayals of "psychos" that we've seen over the years. This isn't the actor's fault but the poor writing which doesn't keep up with what he's capable of bringing to the table. He, at any rate, has more variations in mood and expression than the one-note Shiva. I'd have liked to see more of him than what the film offers.
To Murugadoss's credit, he does give us a bit of history to the villain and what drives him (the child actor who plays Bairavudu is pretty chilling.) This piques our interest but then, the narrative ruins it by giving us completely unreal scenes that would sit better in spoof videos titled "Medical Miracles".
If in Kaththi, Murugadoss gave us old men who could take on a formidable enemy and an inspired "coin" fight, in Spyder, he does it with middle-aged women. While the heart soars at the thought that a mainstream filmmaker believes women can do more than display their navel, the sequence ends up looking funny because it defies logic and is unconvincing.
Rakul, named Charlie (Charlie's Angels?), is the prime comedian in the film, with Priyadarshi Pullikonda and RJ Balaji functioning as smartly dressed sidekicks for Shiva. She has little to do but wave her hands around excitedly and make big eyes behind her glasses. It's refreshing, nevertheless, to have a heroine who wants sex without love even if Murugadoss seems to have written her character in the time it takes to make Maggi.
While the songs are fun enough, they come in the way of building the dread that we're supposed to feel when there's a dangerous criminal on the loose. The high action climax left me wondering if iron rods have morality - good men who are impaled survive while bad men don't.
Spyder lacks the punch of a Thuppaki or the emotional appeal of a Kaththi. These were template Murugadoss films, too, with a good dose of "message", but they verged on the convincing in important junctions. Spyder, however, is let down by too much ambition. Incy wince-y it is.