Doctor Strange

2016 superhero introduction

Rating: 12/20

Plot: A cocky surgeon jacks up his hands, reminding us all about the dangers of texting and driving. In his efforts to get his hands working again, he meets a mystical cult and a quirky bald woman, learns how to be a wizard, and saves the world from unruly computer graphics.

As usual, I had no real knowledge or interest in this comic book character. I'm not even sure I could have told you he was a superhero before this movie came out. I think I got him confused with that main villain in the Fantastic Four movies actually. Seeing the Inception-esque previews of this and learning a little about the character, I thought I might like it more than some of the other Marvel characters, but that wasn't the case at all.

I did like a lot of the visuals, all the twisted urban landscapes, warped worlds reminiscent of an Escher sketch, and surreal glitchery. But after a while, enough was enough. A maelstrom of CGI and special effects sorcery couldn't hide the fact that this really wasn't original at all, copying the blueprint of almost every other Marvel superhero story and nailing all of the cliches of the genre, too. I guess that has something to do with the source material, but I don't know anything about that and will blame the movie. Strange had potential to be a fascinating character, but there just wasn't enough in this to really make him all that fascinating, either as a complex and flawed human being or as a wizard or whatever the hell he's supposed to be.

Is there a difference between a wizard and a sorcerer? I think that might wind up being my blog's new crocodile/alligator. If there's ever a movie with a crocodile wizard, I'm in real trouble.

Damn, now I'm actually kind of hoping somebody is developing a movie about a crocodile wizard.

I always get a little lost when watching these superhero movies anyway, but this one really confused me. I got the basic ideas. Those were pretty easy actually. But I had trouble connecting all the dots, and that made the whole thing frustrating. Even more frustrating is that I'm not sure the writers of this thing really cared all that much about whether I understood it. My guess is that the writers of this thought that layers and layers of mystical mumbo-jumbo would just kind of blend in with all the weirdness and cause people to just assume the whole thing makes sense. You excuse a lot of it because you're dealing with alternate dimensions and the tractability of time and wizards or sorcerers, but once you try to put all those pieces together, you'll feel like a person who accidentally spilled all of his puzzles together and was missing half of the pieces anyway.

Benedict Cumberbatch, a guy who might be in too many things, is just as good--for better or worse--as you'd expect him to be. And maybe it was because he was a doctor character pretending to be American, but he sounded a lot like Hugh Laurie to me. And that was distracting, too. Once they slapped a superhero costume on him and gave him that Magic Carpet for a cape, he looked a little dopey.

I guess I like my superheros more realistic, as silly as that might sound. Doctor Strange and Thor are too mystical. But I'm going to have to keep watching their movies so that the rest of this Marvel universe will make sense.

What the heck are these Infinity Stones anyway? Are those references to Stan Lee's testicles? Is this something that comic book guys hear about and nod at each other in recognition? I'm assuming it's all building up to something big in one of these movies. I guess I'll have to try my best to live long enough to see what that's about.

Wait, does Marvel already have an alligator sorcerer? Or a crocodile wizard? Or some other combination of those words? I wish Kairow still read this blog because he'd know.

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