If there is any worthwhile takeaway from Krrish 3, it is simply this: the titular masked messiah is an ‘idea’ and there is a superhero in each one of us.
While the idea takes some time to crystallize and make sense, the superhero is ubiquitous and invincible right from the very outset.
As for the rest of the film, the audience is confronted with unending claptrap about a chosen disease-resistant bloodline, muddled up DNAs, and virulent viral strains.
Fusion is the future, the arch-villain intones, explaining his obsession with creating vicious mutants with rope-like tongues.
A little later in the film, he declares to his minions that there is no business like the business of fear.
Along the way, Krrish 3 alludes to Mumbai’s never-say-die spirit in the face of the worst challenges and invokes Hindu theology’s pivotal notions on death and rebirth – all in a very pat and predictable manner.
But notwithstanding the fusty tropes that it employs in order to generate its complement of thrills, Krrish 3 is, for the most part, impressively ambitious and dazzlingly competent, if not always riveting.
The special effects are jaw-dropping all right and some of the action sequences are superbly well executed. Especially exciting is the very first rescue stunt that Krrish pulls off.
The front wheels of a commercial jetliner get jammed on the approach to the Mumbai runway. Many lives are in danger.
The superhero swings into action, uses the city’s skyscrapers as stepping stones to propel himself forward and upwards as he guides the aircraft to safety.
The sequence sets the tone for the film and there is much more of the same as the action heats up.
It is quite another matter that Krrish 3 remains largely soulless, devoid of emotional energy and hopelessly trapped in excess.
The superhero is called upon to save Mumbai and mankind from malefic mutants unleashed by a wheelchair-bound megalomaniac called Kaal (Vivek Oberoi).
Among these unstoppable cretins is the form-shifting Kaya (Kangana Ranaut), born in an incubator following the union of human blood and remains of a chameleon.
The evil genius owns a laboratory perched atop the Jungfrau. He conducts his business with an iron fist although the only parts of his body that he can move are his head, a whiplash of a tongue and two deadly fingers.
What Kaal is looking for is the bone marrow that can help him stand on his own feet. But he is continuously thwarted in his quest.
So, to keep his spirits up, he generates a deadly virus that spreads as quickly as the fear that it whips up.
His pharmaceutical firm then makes a killing by selling the antidote against the germ, using his own blood and DNA.
Needless to say, Kaal meets his nemesis in Krrish but not before he wreaks havoc on the world in general and in the life of the superhero in particular.
Krrish 3 opens with a narrative update in Amitabh Bachchan’s voice that brings up to speed those that might have missed Koi Mil Gaya and the sequel.
Krishna Mehra (Hrithik Roshan) is now married to his lady love, Priya (Priyanka Chopra), and is on the verge of starting a family.
His dad, Rohit Mehra (Hrithik again), is working on a breakthrough contraption that can channelize the energy of the rays of the sun to breathe new life into the dead. Light gives life, he says, announcing his intention to show the world exactly how it all works.
So, like all superhero flicks, Krrish 3 addresses the pet concerns of the genre – life, death, good, evil and the human desire to play God.
What Krrish 3 gets absolutely right are the characters of the principal antagonist and his female trouble-shooter, who together create the grand context for Krrish’s war.
Both Vivek Oberoi and Kangna Ranaut measure up to the demands of their respective roles. The duo often seems to tower over the material.
Kangana, in fact, completely upstages the film’s lead actress. Her presence is far sharper and more impactful.
Priyanka Chopra, in contrast, is saddled with a sketchily written role and is reduced to the status of a hanger-on waiting for things to unfold.
Hrithik Roshan, on his part, breezes through the multiple personas with the requisite zest and conviction.
The overlong and showy climactic duel between the superhero and the villain weighs down the last 30 minutes of Krrish 3.
The two final actions scenes of the film – one in the villain’s lab, the other over the city of Mumbai – leave behind loads of rubble, emotional and physical.
Mercifully, the film doesn’t. It passes muster because of the consistently high quality of its CGI and the undeniable power of a known franchise.
In Krrish 3, familiarity breeds an easy connect.