Shah Rukh wanted RA.One to be Bollywood's reply to Hollywood superhero films. In one of his pre-release interviews, Shah Rukh talks about how we are good at doing romance, action, comedy but somehow we fall short when it comes to doing a slick superhero film compared to the Supermans and the Batmans of Hollywood. RA.One was his attempt at a production that would bridge this gap.
If we are to go by Rajeev Masand's review, Shah Rukh seems to have achieved his objective:
Once again, it's Shah Rukh Khan's sheer presence and energy, coupled with the narrative's don't-stop-to-think pace that makes 'Ra.One' watchable despite its flaws. This is an event movie, a spectacle, not really a film. It's 2 hours 35 minutes of special effects, action sequences and superficial romantic and emotional entanglements. You can see the ambition and imagination that the makers have poured into this movie…
Khalid Mohamed calls RA.One a thrill ride and seems to agree with Masand:
The Anubhav Sinha-directed Ra-One revels in being a zippy, zany, zowie ride. And the upbeat news is that the special effects fandango actually works, the closest yet to international standards: in particular a spectacular turvy-topsy car chase through London's streets, thrilling acrobatic stunts on a Mumbai local train, the collapse of Mumbai's CST terminal, and a gothic climax that's dot-on with its micro-chips syntax. So if you're in a feel-thrill mood, go right ahead and chillax.
Other than the special effects, is RA.One a compelling watch? Nikhat Kazmi seems to agree:
Ra-One works on several accounts. First because it has some interesting clashes betwen G-One, the good robot(Shah Rukh Khan) and Ra-One, the bad robot, who can take the form of anyone he wants. Secondly, the bond that G-One develops with the family he is supposed to protect, Kareena and her young son Prateik, is warm and winsome. There is also a lot of wit thrown in here and there in the screenplay, specially when the film concentrates on the geeky and loving Subramaniam's family dinners. And finally it is the excellently sung and choreographed Chammak-Challo number which keeps the mercury rising to unprecendented heights.
Just when you thought that Shah Rukh had managed to pull this one off, some critics have completely dissed the film. Raja Sen says the film is a complete letdown:
There are people who will let this film slide. Who will say it's not bad "for a Hindi film." That if we make a superhero film we'll have to add in lots of Bollywood to make it commercially feasible, and this is as good as it gets. Hogwash. For those doubters I have two words: Mister and India. I'm glad Khan stuck his neck out and gave us a project of this magnitude, one other genuinely inventive superhero movies will doubtless use to create truly special films. Ra.One, of course, is far from it.
But die-hard Shah Rukh fans are commending his effort and hailing it as a success. Taran Adarsh is all praises, calling SRK "The Supreme Gambler of the year":
What's at stake, beside the big money invested in RA.ONE of course, is a dream, a vision, an aspiration to make a film which appeals to kids and kids at heart. In short, attempt a film that appeals to the universal audience. At the same time, it ought to raise the bar for Hindi films. Also at stake is SRK's once-unchallenged supremacy as the reigning idol of Bollywood and that elusive thing called reputation. When you invest your repute in your dream project and stick your neck out, you expect nothing short of a mega-success.
More on RA.One on Yahoo! Movies