31/10/2016

Stranger days. A Dr Strange review. (spoilers...)

Smolder smolder smolder
So i spent last night watching the latest offering Doctor Strange, based on the comic character by the same name,and right of the bat Marvel wastes no time reminding us that they have a interconnected cinematic universe as the logo now sports more movie clips than comic pages. 

But i get ahead of my self, in case you are not familiar with Dr Stephen Strange, he starts out as the less charming Tony Stark, both in this movie but also in his comic. A superstar surgeon with a ego that make Dr House look humble and a nurturing a budding god complex as he fancies him self one who holds life and death in his hands, and only the ones with a case big or difficult enough (but with a safe margin for success)get his care. It goes without saying that Dr Strange treats anyone not him self as shit. 

But fate, as it usually does in origins stories... Has other plans and send dear Stephen on a one way trip off a cliff and in to the caring arms of irony. The car accident destroys his hands 

Now with his entire life literary shattered and with no one really to blame but him self he reacts very human and lashes out at everyone. He spends his wealth on experimental surgery and consultations. But to no avail. He then hears about a mystic called the ancient one. Taking a desperate last stab Stephen seeks out this mystic. The rest is as they say history, Strange learns that there is a much bigger world beyond his science and in time ends up as the Sorcerer Supreme, the guardian of all magic.  

The movie follows this story to a beat, it is one of the most faithful translations Marvel Studios have done, Keeping strides with Captain  America. In the movie the car is a Italian supercar and it is hinted that if he was not such a huge arsehole people might have gone looking for him sooner and thus saved his hands, but beyond that the transition from surgeon Dr Strange to mystic Dr Strange follows the comics without any deviation. 

Now in the movie Strange have to find a group of mystics after learning of a man who regained the use of his destroyed spine after having studied with the Ancient one, After getting the acid trip of his life by the way of mind magic, giving a entirely new meaning to the phrase "tripping balls". Strange is unceremoniously tossed out on the street again having been deemed to vain and arrogant to handle the power the Ancient one could teach. 

This ties back in to the opening of the movie where a very angry and former student of the Ancient one Mads Mikkelsen compartmentalize the librarian of the mystic order and then steals "insert object of DOOM... (not that Doom)" and sets out to enable the overtaking of the world. Strange it would seem reminds the Ancient one of this failed pupil. 

At this point it should be obvious that the movie is not exactly breaking new ground, but it is ok, it would feel very out of place and the last time we really had a Superhero movie trying to break new ground we got Ang Lee´s Hulk movie... Not a fan. 

So the story from here on is pretty textbook, Strange get accepted, trains and fails only to triumph at the critical moment. what saves the movie is the excellent acting and comedic timing. It is a funny movie that delivers on the action and Benedict Cumberbatch get to channel some of the same sides he showed in Sherlock. 


The supporting cast is as good, starting with Mads character who manages to do surprisingly much with a script that is just a hair longer than the one for Boba Fett. He is more a catalyst for future events than an actual villain, a problem many of Marvels movie villains have had. But he is just the right amount of smug zealot that you feel very good when he gets his comeuppances. 

Tilda Swinton as the Ancient one did cause some commotion for all about... five seconds... Some allegations of whitewashing was leveled...   But seeing that this is what the Ancient one used to look like. Switching the gender and nationality was not that big of an issue, dude was not very Asian to begin with. Swinton does a really good job of playing this odd and peculiar mystic who defends the reality as it is.  


Mordo also plays a big role in this and while he is set up as the counterbalance for Strange it is not too hard to see what path he will take, and by the end of the movie he has gone full on magic fascist. But i like how they portray him and his motivations does make sense.  

Last but not least i have to mention Wong... Played by Benedict Wong... (i just fond that a little funny.) In the original portrayed as Strange´s manservant in a very stereotypical outfit. Here he is the ever important wall whom Strange can bounce jokes off. He also serves as the head librarian after the old one lost his.. well... head. 


The big-ish bad  is Dormammu and while he got a Galactus/Phalanx treatment and just becomes mostly a big head... It could have been way worse. He is the lord of a place called the dark dimention that lies outside of time and he wants to take over the world... How he is defeated i will not reveal here... But it is simply awesome. The second big thing is of course the time gem hidden inside of a relic that Strange picks up along the way. It serves a very important plot point and will be very important in the next Avenger movie. 

Verdict: I really enjoyed this movie and for what it is worth i would rank it on the same level as GotG, it is a fun and wild popcorn movie that have some really insane special effects but is a tiny bit hampered by the very classic narrative used. I say that you should go and see it while it is in theaters as it will lose some of its visual impact once it is on TV´s and monitors (unless you have a Gear.. then i would thing it is smart thing to wait. =P)

Also there is a brilliant end credit scene with Thor and a stein of beer. It also hints at the probability of Hemsworth, Hiddelston and Cumberbatch in the same scene... How they will contain that... who knows.