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Movie Breakdown: Doctor Strange

November 3, 2016

Film

Pre-Screening Stance:

I’m admittedly feeling pretty ho-hum about Doctor Strange.  I like everyone involved and I’m fairly sure it’ll be fine, but at this stage in the game, the massive MCU-altering efforts (like this year’s stellar Captain America: Civil War) are far more interesting to me than an origin story … even if it is Strange’s.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Here’s the deal, I have a bone to pick with Doctor Strange (I’ll get to that later), but I did really like it.  Benedict Cumberbatch is great as the genius/mostly funny/enormously egotistical surgeon turned sorcerer, and he’ll undoubtedly fit in wonderfully with the rest of Marvel’s super bunch.  I also really dug Tilda Swinton as the peculiar Ancient One, Chiwetel Ejiofor as the goody two-shoes Mordo, and Mads Mikkelsen as the disillusioned Kaecilius.  Hell, I was even into B-movie action star Scott Adkins’s rando appearance as what IMDB describes as a “Strong Zealot”.  Then there’s director Scott Derrickson (Sinister), who with Doctor Strange has easily crafted Marvel’s most visually appealing film – a trippy, colorful, warped affair that will bend your brain.  The film – in all seriousness – is pretty damn good.

Here’s where the jaded side of me kicks in though.  SO?  Yeah, Doctor Strange is an entertaining flick, but it’s the 14th (FOURTEENTH!) entry into the MCU, and it’s difficult to not want to shrug my shoulders at another origin story with a couple of neat action sequences, a fluffy tone and a forgettable villain.  I’ve already seen this movie!  A lot!  And dammit, I want bigger and better.  Also – somehow someway – I’m nearing my “suspension of belief” limit.  For example, Strange gets trained by an order of powerful sorcerers who claim to protect the Earth from outside threats, and yet they were nowhere to be found when a MAGIC portal opened up in NYC and rained down aliens.  I mean, the wizards have a damn office there!  Come on!  It just doesn’t make much sense.  Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s starting to feel as though the MCU has gotten too big.  Nothing feels fresh or even 100% right because it’s all connected to years and years of others stories while also being cuffed by upcoming ones.  So hey Marvel, let’s just roll out Avengers: Infinity War already and rally up something new, yeah?

See Doctor Strange, of course, but maybe let me know if you’re starting to sense some of the aforementioned oddities.

One Last Thought:

Marvel clearly wants Strange to be the new Stark, but all throughout the film my brain kept lighting up with excitement over the eventual bevy of nicknames that the latter will sling at the former.  Not sure what that says about their plan.

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