Directed by Oleg Trofim, Major Grom: Plague Doctor tells the story of Major Grom (played by Tikhon Zhiznevskiy), a St. Petersburg cop who fights for a more just city.
One day, the courts let some playboy (played by Yuriy Nasonov) walk free after killing a little orphan girl while driving drunk. That’s when a Vigilante appears, dressing in a Batman-like-suit and a Plague Doctor mask. He kills the rich guy, and the population praises him like a hero.
Of course, eventually the Plague Doctor goes off the rails. So, Major Grom is the one to stop him, but he’ll have to trust his new friends Yulia (played by Lyubov Aksyonova) and Dima (played by Alexander Seteykin) if he wants to have a chance.
Beginning today, we’ll talk about some Superhero/ Comic book movies from outside Hollywood. Let’s expand our range of possibilities a little.
But if you’re fatigued of superheroes, don’t worry. After these three reviews, we’ll proceed to different things. Stay tuned.
Major Grom: Plague Doctor has a pretty standard story for the first instalment of a comic book adaptation. I mean first instalment as a full-length, because there’s a short movie that precedes this one.
Anyway, the plot is decent enough, pretty consistent and enjoyable. There are some twists and turns, nothing mind-blowing, but I have to confess I didn’t see it coming.
The film has many moods throughout, some are more hearth-warming, others thought-provoking, but the one I liked the most are the comic moments. The movie is really fun, and it made me laugh on many occasions.
I liked most of the characters, except the villains. I think they were too stereotypical. It might have served the purpose of opening a potential franchise, but I can’t say they were especially good.
Talking about a franchise, it seems there is a prequel in post-production set to be released in 2023. It’s called Major Grom: Special in IMDb, but I don’t know if it’s the movie’s official name or just a place-holder.
I guess in this prequel we’ll be able to see a little more of a character I liked, Fyodor Prokopenko (played by Aleksei Maklakov). He’s somewhat of a father figure for Grom and served as the typical role of the mentor in the Hero’s Journey.
Yulia and Dima are in Grom’s orbit along the way. However, since the man insists on being a lone-wolf, they never get to be around for long. What they have in common is that they’re both funny characters, but each one has other traits and types of intelligence that make them unique.
Last, Grom himself. He’s a little stereotypical like the villains, but what hero or cop -character isn’t? He’s also stubborn to a point it gets a little annoying, but this is a fundamental part of his development as a character. Besides, his stubbornness is a good thing to fight crime, as he never gives in until bringing the criminals to justice.
I could argue against the general nature of the crime fighting in movies and its effects in real life. However, I’m not really in the mood. I’ll leave it for another day, when talking about some mainstream Hollywood movie.
Back to Grom. He’s committed to his work and making his city a better place, and that’s something we can admire. Again, I could argue that his views on criminality and justice are shallow and naïve, but not today. He’s not my favorite, but I like the character and think it has the potential to be even better with the addition of the prequel.
The Major is not exactly a superhero, so he doesn’t have any superpowers. However, he has an idiosyncrasy: he thinks before acting, seeing the outcome of his actions, allowing him to change his course. It’s nothing crazy, but it was well-implemented and never overused.
The acting is excellent and professional. The performances were quite consistent, so no one stood out to me positively or negatively.
Every location is amazing, because it shows pleasingly both the simpler places as the fancier. We can see both sides of an apparently unequal city, and I say “apparently” because I’m talking based on the movie only, since I don’t know the actual data of St. Petersburg.
Anyway, I really appreciated the shots of the city.
The special effects are on point, all flawless, except the one after the credits.
Major Grom: Plague Doctor is good enough. It’s superior to many Hollywood Superhero movies. And with less than 2 hours and 20 minutes, it’s a time well-spent. I would usually give it a 7, but since its IMDb rating is so disproportionately low, today, I’ll give it an 8.
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