Doctor Strange
2016
After an auto accident ends his career as a neurosurgeon, Stephen Strange embarks on a quest to heal himself. His path him leads to the Ancient One, a mysterious mentor who trains Strange to defend Earth by becoming the next Sorcerer Supreme.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

It took them decades, but Marvel finally got a proper Doctor Strange movie made (not counting the weak TV-movie adaptations). Maybe it's for the best, because the real star of the movie is the elaborate CGI artistry that illustrates all of the trippy mysticism, and that would have been hard to do without modern technology. It also would have been hard to do on a tiny Netflix budget, but Strange's conversion into a sorcerer is so rushed that a 13-episode television season feels like a more appropriate scope for this story. Marvel has a winning formula and isn't about to deviate from it now, so don't expect anything radical here, but this is still very entertaining and possesses some truly inspired visual effects.

− November 4, 2016 • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

Scott Hardie: When Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as Doctor Strange, I was impressed that they were making the character British. There's nothing essentially American about him, the way that Black Widow needs to be Russian or Black Panther needs to be Wakandan. Strange seems like he would be at home in London, with New York just a portal away if he needed the Avengers. But now it's clear that the character is staying American and Cumberbatch is doing an American accent, and it's a very bad accent for him. You almost have to create your own headcanon that his jaw was broken in the car accident and he had to go through therapy to learn how to speak again in order to justify that bad American accent. − November 5, 2016 • more by Scott

Aaron Shurtleff: I am trying to arrange to see this movie soon with a friend up here. I just wanted to make a quick snarky comment based on Scott's reply:

Yeeeeeees. Scarlett Johansson really plays up the Russian vibe to Black Widow... ;)

But, seriously, more on topic, I remember when the first rumblings about this movie came out, people were either overjoyed that a woman was cast in a role that, in the comics, was portrayed as a male (The Ancient One), or they were annoyed that a role was being cast to a white actor for a role that, in the comics, was Asian (still The Ancient One). That seems to have mostly died out, although a quick peek showed a few fairly recent articles about it. Did you find it to be any sort of an issue, Scott? Do you think they missed an opportunity, or was it really no big deal? I think the fact that most people aren't as familiar with Dr. Strange made it less of an issue than it would for a franchise with more of a popular following (Ghostbusters?). − November 7, 2016 • more by Aaron

Scott Hardie: Fair enough about Black Widow. :-) They made allusions to her past in Age of Ultron that I'd like to see explored further in a solo film, but I was surprised that they mentioned her being a KGB agent. The KGB ceased to operate in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Scarlett Johansson was 7 years old at that point. Maybe I'm forgetting that the movies already hinted at some kind of anti-aging formula that would allow her to be much older, but it's still quite a stretch. They should just reinvent the character's past for a modern world.

Anyway, I would have preferred for the Ancient One to be Tibetan or other Asian, because it would have made for a better movie and for less controversy. I understand why Marvel didn't go with Tibetan (the movie might have been banned in their second-biggest market, China), and why they didn't make the character a different Asian ethnicity (the implication would have been that Americans cannot tell different Asians apart), but flipping the gender doesn't really mask flipping the race the way that they presumably intended. If they insisted on casting a white woman, I would have preferred some kind of line of dialogue about how the Ancient One has taken on many different forms over the years and has had different bodies, and maybe even a line about how she sensed that Strange was coming and assumed a white form to make it easier on him or something. That would have helped a little. It doesn't ruin the movie or anything, but it does feel strange seeing so many Western characters in a movie set in the Far East. − November 12, 2016 • more by Scott

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Erik Bates: “It ruled.”

I had zero knowledge of the character going into seeing this movie.

Coming out of it, I wonder how the hell they ever made this work as a comic. The visual imagery was fantastic, and well done on the big screen. I just can't comprehend such a universe being drawn.

− November 6, 2016 • more by Eriklog in or create an account to reply

Scott Hardie: I didn't read a lot of Doctor Strange comics, but I remember them being very cosmic in design, like this and this and this. Even when space wasn't a visual reference point, they tended to use lots of color and shapes and Dutch angles, like this. Modern comics tend to de-emphasize color, so Strange has had to adapt. None of these look like the magic in the movie; the filmmakers wisely invented their own visual language to portray magic. − November 12, 2016 • more by Scott

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Evie Totty: “It was ok.”

I know people are bitching about The Ancient One being portrayed by a Caucasian woman however I didn't read the original comics so I don't have such a sense of... betrayal. However it would make more sense that the character were more Asian at least given the context.

Regardless, the car crash that started Strange on his journey was an amazing feat of special effects.

Cumberbatch does a great job of playing arrogant men - I'll give you that haha.

I will say the movie ended too quickly for me. And the 'big bad'... well. I wasn't really scared of him. There were some really cool parts to the movie but all in all - I didn't have a burning desire to go watch it again.

− December 30, 2016 • more by Evielog in or create an account to reply

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