All those creative heads around him, all that money too, but Atlee still won’t come up with a half-decent or even original hero introduction shot. He is content with merely enabling Vijay’s present mass appeal and terrific screen presence. Theri worked for GVP’s score and Vijay’s attitude, Mersal solely for the energy Vijay brought to Thalapathy. Now with Bigil he’s tried to do something that seems like more of an effort with Rayappan. But the journey his protagonists have had in his Vijay trilogy have been the same – a death of a loved one and then retribution in some way or the other. He hasn’t risen above this thread, but has worked overtime to drill in many other issues into his severely insufficient stories. It didn’t work for me in the first two films, but there’s some semblance of a flow this time around.

For starters, the reason why Vijay gets to coach this team has a fair logic and a neat emotion behind it. The flashback, and then getting the team together, them not warming up to him, and him overcoming that conflict, and the girls’ story – all of this has good progression, unlike the meandering in the first half, (and the entire of Mersal). I couldn’t bother enough about the football or the logic behind the girls not knowing of Bigil, but the arc that they go through as a team is adequate as far as engagement is concerned. Vijay saves the day yet again with the energy in his dialogue delivery, which is also well-suited to such a context of coaching a team. But of course, Atlee hasn’t written lines that weigh heavy enough to capitalise on the same. There are also grand servings of corny and regressive humour, but I guess we should just sigh and acknowledge that there are at least a few nobler things being said out louder.

When I say this is a better film than the director’s previous two films, it still doesn’t account for much. For what the film sets out to do, it does the bare minimum. It is baffling how this guy makes big-budget filmmaking look like mere management of resources.


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