Sometimes I feel like all Marvel movies follow the exact recipe; this is why I found Major Grom: Plague Doctor a breath of fresh air. After all, I think this movie can be considered another Netflix hidden gem.
Don’t get me wrong, Major Grom: Plague Doctor still uses the same clichés and tropes that you might have in every (super)hero movie but for me, this movie uniquely tells the story. Maybe it is the fact that the scenography was not focused on showing the beautiful and amazing city in which the hero lives (while New York or other American cities are gorgeous, they tend to feel fake on the screen by not showing the ugly parts).
The action of Major Grom: Plague Doctor takes place in Saint Petersburg and while it is a beautiful city (Venice of the North), the movie tries to capture the poorness and the ugliness that also exists.
Or maybe I liked the hero, Igor Grom. He does not fight evil because it is his duty as the local superhero, or because he just happens to live here. He is a cop and sees the injustice, he realises that sometimes his good deeds are not enough, but he will not stop trying to make the city a better place.
Or maybe I just liked the effects. (PS: the fire was real)
The plot of Major Grom: Plague Doctor
Even when he’s not working, Igor Grom tries to save the city, which almost makes him unemployed (let’s just say that his methods are unorthodox). While he stops thieves and tries to save one person at a time, someone else appears on the crime-fighting stage, someone that makes Grom look like a saint: Doctor Plague.
This new character wears a plague mask (duh) and for his first act, he kills the son of a rich man. You see, the son killed an orphan girl. Maybe Doctor Plague would have let the young man live if his father didn’t pay the judge to say that his son was not guilty. Or maybe, just maybe, if the son pretended to fake being remorseful.
Justice failed in this case, so Doctor Plague suited up and burned him.
Grom saw the grotesque spectacle and realised that he must stop this psychopath. But the Moscow authorities took this case away from him. Can Major Grom save his city when Doctor Plague continues to kill people who have wronged Saint Petersburg?
The characters of Major Grom: Plague Doctor
I already have spoken a bit about the main character of Major Grom: Plague Doctor, Igor Grom. What’s more to say about him? He dresses funny (he wears a beret), has no money (he has no door in his bathroom), and his favourite food seems to be shawarma. He is a cop but turns a blind eye when a small crime happens if that means he can solve a bigger crime, he beats people for information, and will not stop for anything in catching Doctor Plague.
In many movies, the identity of the villain is shown at the end of the movie. Not in Major Grom: Plague Doctor – Doctor Plague enters Sergey’s office to show his suit. Doctor Plague is none other than Sergey’s best friend, Oleg, an ex-military that grew up in an orphanage. He is cocky, compares himself to Batman (only he’s better because he kills bad people). He knows that Sergey will not reveal his identity.
But who’s Sergey? Sergey is a billionaire that grew up in the same orphanage as Oleg. He went to college and swore to make people’s lives better: he donates money (especially to the orphanage where he grew up) and made the app Vmeste (=Together). Oleg is his only friend, but he made the special suit out of his money and uses his app to become famous.
The story will be incomplete without the “girlfriend”, the journalist Yulia that tricks Igor into helping her (and then he breaks all her gadgets). Yulia does not believe that the city has heroes (even Sergey is not a hero in her eyes) and is determined to discover the real identity of Doctor Plague.
And, of course, the sidekick with the golden heart, Dima Dubin, the new cop at the precinct that helps Grom continue his investigation, even if he rebels against his methods.
If you want to watch (another) superhero movie then I strongly recommend Major Grom: Doctor Plague. If not for the story, then watch it for the beautiful effects that have been used. As I said, the fire from this movie is not CGI-ed.