TIFF’s Midnight Madness section is often filled with terror and chills from across the globe but usually packs in one bone-crunching action extravaganza. This year Joko Anwar (director of 2018’s Satan’s Slaves– the best horror film of last year) brings Gundala to TIFF and looks to launch Indonesia’s version of the MCU into the mainstream.
After a rough childhood that sees his father killed and his mother leave him, Sancaka (Abimana Aryastaya) grows up on the streets where he learns to fight and stay out of the affairs of others. As an adult, Sancaka continues his solitary life, until he decides to intervene to help his neighbor Merpati (Tara Basro). The decision puts Sancaka on a collision course with mafia boss Pengkor (Bront Palarae). Sancaka creates a costume, becoming Gundala, after discovering that lightning imbues him with power and speeds up his healing.
Based on a massively successful series of Indonesian comic books that has spawned thousands of characters, Gundala is basically the Iron Man of the upcoming ‘BCU’, the Bumilangit Cinematic Universe, with 7 more features due to arrive by 2025 under the guidance of the BCU’s version of Kevin Feige in Anwar. Gundala itself is an immensely fun film that does a great job at setting up and hinting at what’s to come in this massive undertaking.
Filled with some great action and decent performances, Basro is particularly strong here, Gundala is a hell of a fun ride best seen with a crowd ready to cheer along with you.