Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ending on a Strange Note.

I wonder if film studios are ever going to stop making comic-book films at the pace which they are currently? You would think that at some point people are going to grow tired of them or the phase will be over, but perhaps not. I have to say that I wasn't expecting much of Doctor Strange but I have to say that after recently watching it, I wasn't annoyed or bored as I had anticipated. Now granted, I didn't see it in 3-D which I would have loved to, but you work with what you have. Obviously the story follows a phenomenal surgeon who damages his hands to the point where he can't really use them again and he embarks on a crusade to correct the issue which leads him to a group of mystics that teach him to essentially harness magic and find the inner peace for his troubled soul. However, along the way a bad sorcerer seeks to release the ultimate evil Dormammu which will destroy the earth and thus they set out to stop him. Kind of your routine plot line for comic-book films these days. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the good doctor, and I have to say that he of course performed masterfully with the title character. He was empathetic, humorous, and vulnerable in a way that made him believable as opposed to ridiculous (which was what unfortunately happened to Ryan Reynolds in The Green Lantern). The role worked for him and he did well with it; I actually believe the next Doctor Strange film will be better than the first because he knows his character so well. Chiwetel Eijofor plays Mordo (who becomes a pretty big baddie in the Marvel world) and his character was boring and typical of the type often cast in that position. Rachel McAdams plays the love interest of the good doctor, Christine Palmer, and she's a good fold for him. Hopefully that get's played out a little more in the next film. Benedict Wong plays the character Wong, a sort of what I thought was a sidekick to the good doctor, but he plays a librarian that knows a lot. The two men when they have scenes together are quite good; lot's of good on-screen chemistry, and got me to laugh a number of times. Mads Mikkelsen continues to showcase his talent in big name movies and franchises (James Bond, Star Wars, Marvel) and of course he was great; a bit flat and boring, but a good villain as always. Perhaps the most ridiculous of all casting decisions was to make Tilda Swinton the Ancient One; the Sorcerer Supreme. While I have to say that they could have cast other people that might have worked and definitely looked the part, the actress did a fantastic job herself with the character and shouldn't be castigated for taking the role. She came off with all of the necessary elements of a mystical Yoda type character, but definitely not as wise or relatable. All in all it was a great cast.
The technical elements of the film were of course pretty good. Director Scott Derrickson did a fine job and the writers as well, Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill. Michael Giacchino composed the music and did a fairly good job as well, although I don't know if he really came up with a very distinctive motif or theme for the good doctor unfortunately. The actions sequences were very dynamic and new, which I believe was a credit to all of the magic that was being used as it gave the creators a lot of good material to work with and shape into something cool. The only thing I thought that was over the top and rather ridiculous most of the time was the red cape that he wore which seemed to have a personality and will of its own. I think it would have been just fine had it been simply a cool, magical cape; there was no need to make it cognizant. Overall I would have to say that it was a good and entertaining film; it's not the best comic-book film, but it balances the dark and light humored very well without coming off too serious, but just serious enough. In that regard the director deserves a very loud round of applause. It's a film that would work well for date night, watching it with your family of any age (except for very young children), or if you simply want to forget how much reality sucks. Well the end of April is here, and the USA along with the rest of the world is still around without anything apocalyptic occurring. I hope the next one hundred days only gets better and better, oh and while I am at it, God be with the French people as they choose a new direction in which to take their own destinies.

Doctor Strange clip 1

Doctor Strange clip 2

Doctor Strange interviews

Thor: Ragnarok trailer (looks good...I think).

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