#REVIEW: DOCTOR STRANGE

…because I’m not ready to talk about the election just yet.

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Here’s the deal about this movie, guys:  when I walked out, my wife said to me that she had no complaints about it at all.  And I agreed with her.  You will enjoy watching Doctor Strange, and you will see some shit you haven’t seen on screen before, and you’ll see a movie where the good guy wins not by winning a big fight but by outsmarting the bad guy at the end.  This movie is fun to watch.  But now, six days later, I’m finding that while it’s not the worst Marvel movie (that would be Iron Man 2) it’s definitely held up more poorly than any of them.  I knew IM2 had problems when I saw it.

In no particular order, a list of complaints:

  • Okay, I get why this sorta had to be an origin movie.  But goddammit it’s damn near the same origin movie that Iron Man had, only Iron Man’s transition to heroism stretched out over a few movies and Bangledoof Climberbunch’s takes like ten minutes.  Is there any reason, really, that we couldn’t have had a movie where Doctor Strange is already the Sorcerer Supreme and we just do like a five-minute flashback to his origin, a la every Batman appearance in the last twenty years?
  • Speaking of Binglethump Clammerplatch, I spent the whole movie wanting him to say “Carl.”  His American accent is basically exactly the same as Hugh Laurie’s.  He certainly looks the part, though.
  • Although, that said, there’s no reason a white guy had to play this part.  None at all.  There was supposedly going to be a story-based reason why the Ancient One was a white woman; that boiled down to Baron Mordo saying “She’s Celtic” at one point.  Not that she sounded Irish or anything either, mind you.
  • The fight scenes are kind of cool because of the reality-folding stuff and gravity-bending that happens, only it’s not really entirely clear why reality-folding and gravity-bending follows from the rest of the stuff that magic can do, which mostly involves generating weird glowy things out of one’s hands.  Magic is boring in the Marvel universe.
  • Also boring: learning magic.  If we’re going to waste a big chunk of the movie on Bufflepuff Cummerdammerung training to use magic and not being a big old dumb empiricist anymore, maybe we could have seen the moment where he first succeeds at something?  Maybe.  It really seems like doing magic in the Marvel Universe basically just involves waving your hands around, and sometimes wearing a weird two-finger ring for some reason.  I have a few years’ worth of Doctor Strange comics, by the way, and the ring has made no appearance.  We spent a lot of time watching him train, but never saw him learn.  There’s no Word and the Way conversation here, no indication at all of how magic actually works, or why him waving his hands in a way does something but me waving my hands the same way in front of my computer wouldn’t.
  • Oh, and he also learns karate, because of course he does.
  • This isn’t a complaint: Kaecilius, the villain, makes more sense than any other Marvel villain so far.  His role is criminally underwritten, but his evil plan makes sense.  Especially this fucking week.  This movie was loaded with acting talent– it may have the best cast of any Marvel movie, with the possible exception of Thor.  It just wasn’t interesting.
  • The Female Love Interest had no reason to be there, at all.  None.  They shoulda had Strange working out of Night Nurse’s hospital and brought Rosario Dawson in.

There’s probably more, but I think you get the idea.  I’m not actually recommending not seeing this; my wife liked it a lot, and again, all these problems came up later, not while I was watching it.  But the ultimate assessment?  Meh.  If I write much more, it’ll just be so I can find more ways to say Blimpledimp Clinkypunch’s name, and that’s gonna get old eventually.

(No it won’t.  Bumplemump Carrybrinks.  Buzzawump Clubberpick.  Bonklesnuzz Clippersmell.  It will never get old.)

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