Saturday, November 5, 2016

Dr Strange

Plot: Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an arrogant New York surgeon who wrecks his hands in a car accident and then gets depressed. He goes to Katmandu to find an Eastern Medicine cure and meets The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). After a tough introduction he begins studying to be become a sorcerer, along with Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Ancient One and crew keep busy fighting off magical bad guys. Soon Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) shows up to about destroy three key temples, and let the earth be devoured by another dimension. Strange picks up some magic weapons and goes off to battle Kaecilius leading to a twist at the end.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Director Derrickson spends a lot of time setting up the Dr Strange character, the relationship with his gal pal Christine (Rachel McAdams), Mordo and Ancient One. The casting of Tilda Swinton was controversial in part because she is white, but also a non-traditional hero and not physically imposing. We see her fighting in magic battles and she believably wields her magic weapons.

The battles themselves are feasts of special effects with mirror planes and sliding objects and buildings turned into gears. Very creative and fun to watch, and a refreshing change from every other action movie.

There is a nice scene at the end between Cumberbatch and Swinton where they quietly talk about death. In other parts they talk about the right thing to do sometimes isn't the legal thing, rather like Utilitarian ethics vs Deontological ethics. Earlier in the movie we get Stan Lee's quick survey of Hinduism as Ancient One starts to tutor Strange. There is actually something in this movie for people who read books.

Highlights were the outstanding world folding special effects --just like Inception but with 6 years better technology. I liked the chemistry between Cumberbatch and McAdams especially early at the hospital. I liked Cumberbatch's acting and most of the other actors too, including Swinton. 

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams

Directed by:
Scott Derrickson

Based on the comics by: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and others 

The Music:
Interesting orchestral music with a baroque flavor by Michael Giancchino. I bought the end credit track which Jenny and I have been playing on repeat. It is harpsichord electronica. 

The Visuals:
 Top notch. Some nice art direction in the sets -- like the brickwork in the walls, or the drawer full of watches.

4.0 stars: I liked it. Fun to watch. Good chemistry between the characters and good acting. Interesting ideas too. 

More: MAJOR SPOILER: Instead of a major battle at the end Dr Strange negotiates with a deity to save the world; so unlike every other superhero movie ever made, this film does not end in a massive fight where the main villain never seems to die. It almost deserves 4 stars just for this twist ending.

Even More: Like all Marvel movies, this one ends with teasers during the credits. In the first we see Thor talking about Loki coming to earth. In the second, we see Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) taking magic powers away from a minor character and setting himself up as the villain in the next Dr. Strange movie.


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