Jakarta. Joko Anwar’s new superhero movie “Gundala” hit Indonesian cinemas on Thursday, the first super off the ranks from the Bumilangit Cinematic Universe. In homage to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe, Bumilangit will bring our favorite local superheroes to the screens.
The eponymous superhero is a mashup between DC Comics’ “fastest man alive” The Flash and thunderbolt-wielding Javanese mythical hero Ki Ageng Selo.
The original comic character was created by Harya Suraminata, better known as Hasmi, in 1969.
Its first movie adaptation came out in 1981 with Teddy Purba playing the titular hero. Joko’s Gundala will be played by Abimana Aryasatya. The film will also have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.
The film begins predictably with an origin story featuring Gundala’s alter ego Sancaka, a rough-hewn street kid abandoned by his parents. Forced to scrap to survive the urban desolation of his city, he could only watch as rising crime and injustice dominate his life.
Cue in the superhero transformation: Sancaka gained the power to wield fiery thunderbolts to fight and defeat villains, including his arch enemy Pengkor the mobster, played by Malaysian actor Bront Palarae.
Having harnessed his new superpower, Sancaka faces the classic superhero dilemma: should he fight crime as a vigilante or try to live a normal – The Incredibles-like – life as a common man?
Joko has made a few changes from the original comic series, including having the adult Sancaka work as a security guard in a printing factory rather than in a laboratory as a genius scientist.
The director said he wants his Gundala to be seen as a down-to-earth hero the audience can relate to.
“Gundala is not a superhero who can do everything. He’s a fragile superhero,” Joko said before he began filming. To make them more realistic, all the scenes in the movie were shot on location, with Joko eschewing the use of the usually ubiquitous green screen. Joko also wanted the actors to do the fight scenes themselves and kept CGI use to a minimum.
What’s, and Who’s, Next?
More superheroes from the Bumilangit Cinematic Universe will hit the screen soon.
Superheroine Sri Asih will get her own title and the first installment is already in talks, according to Wicky V. Olindo, the producer of Screenplay Pictures.
“After Gundala, we want a female superhero, and Sri Asih is the one.
We don’t want to go straight to Godam [another male superhero] after Gundala. The audience wants variety,” Wicky said. Sri Asih is going to be played by Pevita Pearce and scheduled to be released next year.
Here is the full list of the superheroes in the Bumilangit Cinematic Universe and the actors set to play them: Aquanus (Nicholas Saputra), Cempaka (Vanesha Prescilla), Nila Umaya (Della Dartyan), Ghani Zulham (Ario Bayu), Ridwan Bahri (Lukman Sardi), Dewi Api aka Goddess of Fire (Dian Sastro), Virgo (Zara JKT48), Mustika Sang Kolektor aka Mustika the Collector (Tatjana Saphira), Godam (Chico Jerikho), Tira (Chelsea Islan), Merpati (Tara Basro), Desti Nikita (Asmara Abigail), Camar aka Seagull (Hannah Al Rashid), Tanto Ginanjar (Daniel Adnan), Bidadari Mata Elang aka Eagle Eye Angel (Kelly Tandiono), and Mandala (Joe Taslim).
Gundala fan-art poster by @awedope.arts. (Photo courtesy of @gundalaofficial on Instagram)