Doctor Strange (2016)
November 4, 2016 8:17 PM - Subscribe

A neurosurgeon with a destroyed career sets out to repair his hands only to find himself protecting the world from inter-dimensional threats.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mads Mikkelsen add some acting heft to a standard Marvel story elevated by the franchise's most impressive special effects to date.
posted by Ipsifendus (54 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't say this about every film, but Doctor Strange is worth seeing just for the sheer spectacle. It actually caused me to rethink my position on CGI--I thought I was tired of seeing big CGI-heavy monstrosities, but what I was really tired of was CGI used for nothing more than MOAR SPLOSIONS. I saw this last night, and I was comparing and contrasting it with X-Men: Apocalypse. I think where Doctor Strange succeeds and Apocalypse fails is that Apocalypse uses its special effects to cover up a thin story. Admittedly, Doctor Strange's story is a little thin, too (Lord deliver me from more origin stories), but half the point is delivering a freaked-out Ditko head trip, and it succeeds. It really is like nothing I've ever seen.

And I thought Benedict Cumberbatch was fine. He was about what I was expecting. I was behind Sticherbeast's idea one hundred percent, but I knew Marvel wasn't going to do anything that risky.
posted by MrBadExample at 12:03 AM on November 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


I thought this was pretty bad. I'd made a deal with myself to stop watching super hero movies out of a sense of obligation, but decided to see this one because it promised to be a fun non-mainline story like Guardians or Antman. Well, it wasn't. I hate the character, Cumberbatch's depiction of him is boring and facile, and the plot itself was a by the numbers origin story with an even thinner romance subplot tacked on. The visual effects were OK, I guess. It seemed like a bunch of stuff cribbed from other movies, and honestly the magic effects wouldn't have been out of place in an Elder Scrolls game. There were some clever fight scenes, but altogether I found the main draw (the mirror dimension stuff) to be confusing and tedious after the first few times.
posted by codacorolla at 6:12 AM on November 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I saw this at 9:30 this morning in IMAX 3D. This may be one the few movies worth watching in this format. There's a scene where Manhattan and the sky origami themselves into a sort of moving 3D kaleidoscope that seemed unprecedented to me.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 2:04 PM on November 5, 2016


I haven't seen it yet, but on the IMDB page I noticed that Tina Minoru was listed as a character. It's a long, long, long shot, but I'm hoping that putting Niko's mom in the MCU means that we might get a Runaways movie (or, ooooohhhhh, Netflix series) at some point.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:21 PM on November 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I enjoyed this movie quite a lot. I wouldn't put it in the top tier of MCU films like Civil War (for me), but I thought it was perfectly serviceable.

I've read a couple of reviews (tor and av club) where reviews were disappointed that the movie 'played it safe'. I do understand that; when the film flirts with truly strange is when it's at its strongest. However, it's a freaking marvel movie, produced by Disney - these is not a franchise where they will take chances, and I always feel you need to assess media based on what it is, not what it isn't. Like I would have loved a more Hellboy kind of a feel to it, and a sense of a bigger, stranger world that the sorcerors were merely one part of. But I can see why we didn't get it.

I enjoyed that they showed several different "types" of magic, leading to some very enjoyable action/fight scenes. The cape was a highlight for me, and the slightly jokey tone often employed actually worked well for me, given the inherent ridiculousness of the source material.

The race stuff was impossible to get away from, I thought. Even with the stuff that wasn't controversial pre-release. For example why are all three Sanctum Sanctorums in the northern hemisphere? Why isn't there one in Africa? South America?

I think expectations going in will play a role in enjoyment leaving this film. It's not the best Marvel film for me, but I would put in top ten, I reckon.
posted by smoke at 4:35 PM on November 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I did enjoy seeing Mads Mikkelsen in necro-glam eye makeup.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:34 PM on November 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


All was good, except that pre-crash Strange didn't have any real reason or purpose in being a surgeon. Even the driven sociopath surgeon trope gets more joy out of being an arsehole or beating death than Cumberbatch did. Oddly enough, the rest of the hospital setting was great: a few Green Wing and Scrubs callouts.

The CGI was amazing. And the superhero fights were all good. Nice choreography, not too many explosions.
posted by ambrosen at 7:37 PM on November 5, 2016


That was Cumberbatch's very best Dr House impression, right?
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 9:23 PM on November 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


I loved the sheer psychedelic/Escheresque spectacle of it all, as well. I think that the movie's main weakness is straight out of the comics: Strange is basically the Tony Stark of the spellcasting set. Rich, arrogant [inventor|neurosurgeon] gets into a [terrorist attack|car crash], injuring his [heart|hands] and both saves himself and gains a new purpose in life through the power of [technology|magic] with the help of an aged [scientist|sorceress]. Oh, and his foe is someone with roughly the same powerset, only maybe a leetle bit stronger, from the same [company|school o' the mystic arts].

Of course, these are common elements to a lot of superhero stories, and there are lots of differences as well, but still. And the funny bits are deftly placed, and although people complained about the racial casting of the Ancient One, on the other hand, Wong got a promotion, and that's good. Plus, there's a pretty good reason for not having yet another wise old mentor of color who fulfills the plot function that the Ancient One does in this story. (Not to mention that Tilda Swinton is one of the best special effects in the movie.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:54 PM on November 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


I haven't seen it yet, but on the IMDB page I noticed that Tina Minoru was listed as a character. It's a long, long, long shot, but I'm hoping that putting Niko's mom in the MCU means that we might get a Runaways movie (or, ooooohhhhh, Netflix series) at some point.

You'll notice that there's been discussion of both a (shelved) Runaways movie and of a tv series (with a pilot ordered by Hulu!)
posted by jdherg at 9:10 AM on November 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, and his foe is someone with roughly the same powerset, only maybe a leetle bit stronger, from the same [company|school o' the mystic arts].

Of course, these are common elements to a lot of superhero stories, and there are lots of differences as well, but still.


This is the #2 Most Annoying Thing about superhero movies: Wolverine fights Sabertooth, Green Lantern fights Sinestro, Hulk fights The Abomination, Iron Man fights Warmonger, Ant-Man fights Yellowjacket, etc. Once in a while it works (Thor and Loki were a sufficiently good mix to merit some encores; Superman vs Zod (1980 version) was pretty entertaining) but mostly no.

And the funny bits are deftly placed,

Indeed.

"It's Strange."

"Perhaps. Who am I to judge?"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:18 AM on November 6, 2016 [15 favorites]


This is the #2 Most Annoying Thing about superhero movies: Wolverine fights Sabertooth, Green Lantern fights Sinestro, Hulk fights The Abomination, Iron Man fights Warmonger, Ant-Man fights Yellowjacket, etc. Once in a while it works (Thor and Loki were a sufficiently good mix to merit some encores; Superman vs Zod (1980 version) was pretty entertaining) but mostly no.

It does hit a bunch of the origin beats, but one of the things I really liked about this movie is that in the end he doesn't win by fighting the evil sorcerers. Instead he dodges the big showdown entirely by using a mystic artifact he barely understands to blackmail a nigh-omnipotent cosmic being into getting rid of the threat for him, potentially breaking spacetime in the process (and definitely making an enemy of the Dread One). That's a proper ending for a Doctor Strange story if ever I've seen one. Plus it made good setup for the last minute Infinite Stone namedrop, since of course the Time Stone would be powerful enough to trap Dormammu.

Also, I thought the visual style was great, especially how it fed into the choreography of the action scenes. All the neat mirror-world effects actually impacted the way the fights played out, and the whole battle in the rewinding Hong Kong destruction was strong execution of a really neat idea. Weirdly, the work I'm looking at as its predecessor in that regard isn't Inception, although there's a lot of that DNA in here for sure, but the 2013 reboot of the Devil May Cry video game series, with its endlessly shifting shadow/mirror of the real world.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:03 PM on November 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


For example why are all three Sanctum Sanctorums in the northern hemisphere? Why isn't there one in Africa? South America?

Well, to start with, most of Earth's land is in the northern hemisphere. This is why, if you are conversant with any of the global warming stuff, you know the Earth's CO2 levels do an annual heavy breathe. This is because most of the land, and therefore most of the vegetation, is in the northern hemisphere, and thus northern summer is when most of the CO2 gets scrubbed.

I suppose the authors would also say that this is a story of an old discipline which has its roots in old civilizations, and civilization began in both the East and the West in the northern hemisphere. You could of course counter that there's nothing old at all in the New World, including very New York, but NYC is still one of the first beachheads those old civilizations made on these newly discovered continents.

If you wanted to put one of the sanctums somewhere south of the equator, in a great city with an at least relatively ancient past, where would you put it?
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:45 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also: If you have normal depth perception (I realize about ten percent of us don't) and you never see another 3D movie in your life, see this movie in 3D. The effect is handled perfectly both in CGI and live action and unlike most movies where "in real life" really depth perception wouldn't be that big of a deal, the Dr. Strange close-in magic effects really pop in 3D.
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:50 PM on November 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


There are so many interesting places with ancient histories much more impressive than New York and London. Macchu Picchu? Petra? Timbuktu? Angkor Wat? Kyoto? Lima? Zimbabwe? Alexandria? Zanzibar?

I'm looking forward to seeing Tilda Swinton be bizarre, though!
posted by ChuraChura at 6:17 PM on November 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


All was good, except that pre-crash Strange didn't have any real reason or purpose in being a surgeon. Even the driven sociopath surgeon trope gets more joy out of being an arsehole or beating death than Cumberbatch did.

Well, yes, but I thought that was pretty effectively handled during the astral body conversation between Strange and the Ancient One. She tells him that he was driven by a combination of ego and fear of failure. That's why he only took difficult cases, but never impossible ones, and that's why his career was relatively purposeless. He wanted to be impressive while never taking real risks. He even said at the beginning--during the phone call in the car--that he wouldn't take that case that might ruin his perfect record. Part of his transformation into a sorcerer is learning to take actual risks that could fail. He goes from only taking sure bets to screwing with the space-time continuum for a shot at saving the world. That's a decent bit of character development.

On the topic of the visuals, I never see movies in 3D, but a friend convinced me that IMAX 3D was the way to go for this one, and he was right. I don't regret that choice at all.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:43 PM on November 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


The"just Wong?" joke. I realized that it was a meta-joke when I saw the actor's first name in the end credits.
posted by I-baLL at 9:12 PM on November 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Well, to start with, most of Earth's land is in the northern hemisphere.

Yeah, but that's not why they're there, dude. They're there because they were written decades ago by white american dudes. And there was an opportunity to change that for the better, and the filmmakers didn't. There was an opportunity to make Rachel MacAdams less than wasted, and it wasn't taken.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the flick, but the text was problematic on several levels.
posted by smoke at 1:59 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


The NY-HK-London thing stuck out to me, too. Not just the northern hemisphere cities, but three cities that are either in England or formerly controlled by England. Okay, fine, keep New York because of the Avengers, but it would have been nice to have sites like Macchu Pichu, Angkor Wat, Iraq (ancient Babylon), or heck, since we're in the Avengers universe, some mystical spot in Wakanda. That the three sanctums are all in places very friendly to English speaking tourists stretches credulity.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:20 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Sanctums are the equivalent of shield generators - they are the primary targets for attack. You don't want them at your most sacred of sites, so you stick'em on Endor or whatever.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:38 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


That's a proper ending for a Doctor Strange story if ever I've seen one

I had the same feeling. Strange often wins by turning the situation inside-out; "that makes you my prisoner" was a perfect example of that.

Overall I think this was my favorite of the MCU movies so far. It was relatively true to the comics without being slavishly so. It was funny, and visually incredible, and didn't have any really stupid moments or extremely goofy villains.

My minor gripes: they maybe loved the architecture-scrambling spell visuals a bit too much and better tactics (as well as a hunger for cool visual effects) would call for more variety (though I *loved* how it was used in the scene where Mads was chasing Strange and Mordo). There was a bit less otherworldly travel than I'd expect from Dr. Strange (maybe explained by his relative inexperience), but the Mirror and Dark dimensions were pretty amazing. And one of the usual threats against Strange is blocking him from returning to his body, which wasn't employed in the film at all -- maybe in the future, as it seems like something Evil Mordo might use against him.

Early in the movie, my spouse whispered that they'd made the character too likeable. He was kind of a rockstar surgeon stereotype, but not the stuck-up-his-own-ass jerkface like in the comics, until a certain point when suddenly he was.

Tony Stark is an asshole right from the start, and his own pain causes him to change his ways (while remaining fundamentally arrogant). With Strange, he's supposed to be an asshole whose pain doesn't immediately change him, but his awakening to the weirder cosmic crap out there kind of turns him around.
posted by Foosnark at 7:57 AM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I hated the cloak.

It was basically the talking-animal-sidekick in Disney movies.

Overall, a fun enough movie, but not among the best of the Marvel lot.
posted by Windigo at 8:28 AM on November 7, 2016


I could watch Mads Mikkelsen attempting to threaten someone in a reasonable sounding voice while in a festishy magic constraining device that covers his mouth but he keeps talking anyway all day.
posted by maxsparber at 9:44 AM on November 7, 2016 [16 favorites]


Except for the end, it was pretty much a bog-standard origin flick, which it pretty much had to be, since it was introducing magic to the MCU and required massive exposition dumps. I wish I had two functional eyeballs because I'm sure the 3D version was breathtaking.

Highlights for me:
  • The Cloak of Levitation
  • Wong
  • The usual Marvelesque banter, i.e. "wifi."
  • Strange defeating the dread Dormannu using his wits.
  • Strange's journey through some decidedly Kirbyesque dimensions.
I would have liked some Kirby dots or a "By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!" though. Maybe they're saving it for the sequel.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:11 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I thought it was a C+ or B- effort.

I *love* the comic book character Dr. Strange, and I love Benedict, but this characterization struck me more as Dr. House. Honestly, if I closed my eyes, I would have thought it was Hugh Laurie. Surely there must be more than one dialect coach for British actors to speak American. Having said that, it wasn't just the dialect, but the writing of the character, IMO. The real Dr. Strange was arrogant and haughty, not petty and snarky.

I thought Tilda Swinton was fine, but not special enough to merit white washing what is CLEARLY an Asian role. The whole Celtic thing seemed like such an afterthought. After all, she's in Kathmandu, for crissake!

Once again, I thought the special effects were magnificent, but too magnificent l- they were distracting. They didn't help move the story forward other than, hey, here's yet another fight! The one effect I did enjoy was the cloak.

Best acting in the movie in my opinion goes to Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo.
posted by jasper411 at 11:59 AM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I would have liked some Kirby dots

Not to be that guy but I think you mean Steve Ditko. Kirby did draw Strange occasionally but Ditko is the iconic original artist and those are his dimensions.
posted by Ashwagandha at 4:41 PM on November 7, 2016


The"just Wong?" joke. I realized that it was a meta-joke when I saw the actor's first name in the end credits.

Unfortunately, although the cast of stunt performers also included a Travis Wong, he was not, in fact, the stunt double for Benedict Wong in the role of Wong. (Tsuyoshi Abe was the stunt performer for that role.) On the drive home from seeing this I had commented to the rest of my household how it would have been perfect if he had been. When we got home and I had a chance to look it up and report to everyone how disappointed I was to find out that it was not the case, my roommate simply said, "Sorry, but you should know two Wongs don't make a right."

Also on the subject of Wong, I do like that they were able to elevate the character with respect to how he was portrayed in the comics. MCU Wong is on a much more even footing with Strange, instead of simply being a servant.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:18 PM on November 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


"Unfortunately, although the cast of stunt performers also included a Travis Wong, he was not, in fact, the stunt double for Benedict Wong in the role of Wong. (Tsuyoshi Abe was the stunt performer for that role.)"

The joke I was referring to was "Just Wong?" which seems to be a joke how the actor, Wong, and Cumberbatch both share the first name of Benedict.
posted by I-baLL at 5:24 PM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


My bad! I haven't really read much Dr. Strange. His car crash origin + trippy visuals is pretty much all I really know.

Here's my explanation for why this isn't really a mistake: I come from an alternate timeline where Jumpin' Jack Kirby created Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, and Steve Ditko created the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the New Gods. I'll expect my No-Prize forthwith.
posted by entropicamericana at 6:14 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I thought this was fine. It was funnier than I expected, the 3D was worth it, Wong and Mordo were both good, and it has a novel resolution of the big bad battle.

But I was sort of ... bored? I don't know. It was fine.
posted by minsies at 5:26 PM on November 8, 2016


I enjoyed it, although it's not going to stand as one of the top tier MCU movies. The comparisons between Strange and Stark are obvious, but that scene with Strange in his apartment yelling at Christine was a lot more brutal than anything Stark ever did, I think. He went for the jugular in a way that was really a good character moment - this man has his good points but at his core is all arrogant narcissism. I think we probably could have seen some of that getting beaten out of him a little more, too. The Strange-Christine relationship was actually fairly nuanced for me - I was expecting it to be really sketched in but I think there were enough layers there to make it interesting. Not much room for her character to do much, though.

The special effects were as dazzling as advertised, and I liked the light touch with a lot of the humor. And the ending really worked for me.

I've only read a few of his comics, so I don't know if they missed a lot of his character, but yeah, there was a lot of Dr. House DNA in there.
posted by PussKillian at 9:41 AM on November 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


There are limits to how much you can do to fix a movie about a archetypal White Savior, Orientalism Flavor(tm) character, so I wasn't expecting much on that front.
posted by Karmakaze at 1:38 PM on November 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'd put this in the top third of the marvel movies on the basis of a strong script and good actors across the board. The visuals were cool, but I wasn't quite sure what Escher-izing the environment was meant to accomplish and I would have liked to see a wider variety of spellcraft. The movie also made Strange's journey to magical competency seem pretty easy compared to what we've seen in Harry Potter or the Magicians.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:45 PM on November 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I liked it. I really needed some escapism today, so I might not be the most rational judge, but this was a fine way to spend a couple of hours.

Visuals were amazing, see it in 3D on the biggest screen possible. Cumberbatch was adequate, even if everyone else was acting circles around him.
posted by figurant at 8:40 PM on November 9, 2016


Oh, and since I hate, absolutely hate, the requisite city-getting-destroyed climax of superhero movies, the literal opposite of that ending here was extremely appreciated.
posted by figurant at 8:44 PM on November 9, 2016 [15 favorites]


I enjoyed it very much, and certainly much better than Star Trek II: The Neutering of Khan

I kept hearing BC as Harrison Ford.
posted by bq at 11:36 AM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


On another note entirely, how great was that Thor tag that Waititi directed? God(s), I can't wait for that movie.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:29 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I kept thinking Strange sounded like Anthony Bourdain.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:12 PM on November 10, 2016


I saw it last weekend (which now feels like a lifetime ago), and overall I liked it more than I was imagining I would. The story itself was so obvious that despite the fact that I've never taken a scriptwriting class I was still thinking to myself "ah, yes, this is when we are leaving act one and going into act two", but most of the jokes landed and the visuals were amazing and hey, when they went to alternate dimensions I could tell that I was watching Doctor Strange and not some other Phase 2/Phase 3 movie.

I do still wish that they'd gone with something other than an origin story - especially since explaining Strange can be easily summed up as 'Tony Stark with magic'. If needed, spend fifteen minutes on that at the beginning of the film with the origin story, maybe even have a character call him Tony Stark with magic, and then go on with the rest of the film on a plotline that is truly, deeply weird - because Strange does lend himself to being truly, deeply weird. But the people I was seeing it with pointed out that maybe the narrative being so simplistic gave the audience something to hold on to while the visuals went odd (in which case, I think they should have gone even weirder, but hey).

I didn't know what to make of the Rachel McAdams relationship - when they showed the close up of the watch engraving I didn't immediately recognize it referring to her since I don't think I'd even heard her first name at that point. Also, while Cumberbatch and McAdams aren't actually that different in age, the gray in Cumberbatch's hair and whatever they did to McAdams' face means that she looked so much younger than him that the relationship felt kind of creepy, because it feels like it much have started with him being in a position of power. I recognize the need to have a connection in the normal world, but I wish that they had taken out the (semi) romantic angle and kept it as a mentor/mentee close relationship.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:20 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Definitely a 3D IMAX film. I actually only accidentally saw it in that format (the IMAX is the nearest cinema and I didn't realise that I'd bought tickets to a 3D show until afterwards), but the 3D even makes perfectly ordinary things look interesting, so I was never bored. The IMAX is really good for tiny-Strange-in-a-gigantic-world shots. The spectacle alone was worth the price of admission.

By the time I saw it earlier this evening I'd seen the story and the characterisation talked down so much that I wasn't really bothered by it. It's perfectly fine, and I enjoyed the actors in even the most perfunctory roles. This kind of movie is essentially a narrative machine, and the story and characterisation are basically determined by function. The job of the actor is to embody the function with some kind of grace, and I thought all the actors did that very well, and perfectly proportionately. It would have been nicer for an actor of Rachel McAdams' capacity to have more to do, for example, but it would have unbalanced this movie for that character to do more. I'm not up on huge parts of the mythos - does she become Clea?

Similarly, the gang of sorcerers is a bit of a boys' club, but I couldn't say which I would have replaced with a woman, and I don't know whether they could have added a character.

Have they acknowledged the obvious debt they owe Cyriak anywhere? (Hand Fingers, Cycles for example).

I suspect they need Dr Strange in their universe, as they need the patrician leader type, Robert Downey Jr is keen to retire and Reed Richards is stuck in Fox's parallel universe.
posted by Grangousier at 1:23 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


They need Strange in the MCU because he has personally dealt with an Infinity Stone and lived to tell the tale. Important as Tony Stark is, he hasn't done anything like that, and they're recasting him anyway.

If Guardians of the Galaxy wasn't a clue, then Strange should be the 2x4 over our heads that phase 3 of the MCU is going to be a lot more comic-booky than anything ever done before by the film industry. Iron Man and the Avengers seduced us non comic-nerds into the fold by being almost normal action-adventure tales with a bit of comic glow, but now they are opening the doors wide and the air is good. No other studio would ever have made a movie like GotG or Strange or even Ant Man as it was filmed. And if Marvel's project had failed those movies wouldn't have been different; they would never have been made at all. But it succeeded, and those movies were made, and they succeeded. And now Marvel seems about ready to dump a truckload of comic-book WOWZERS on us and I personally can't wait.

Meanwhile, DC is still making their movies like regular Hollywood movies. Please at least don't let them fuck up Wonder Woman, 'k comic-book God?
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:30 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite things is British people speaking American badly, and Cumberbatch entered the pantheon with this one. Bravo!
posted by chrchr at 1:47 PM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Didn't get to see it in Imax or 3D, but I enjoyed it. I liked the Thor stinger/promo, but I was hoping for Awesome Facial Hair Bros... maybe in Infinity War?
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 9:01 PM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Awesome Facial Hair Bros will happen. You can just hear the writers salivating over the chance to have Tony and Stephen in the same room so that they can have the good Doctor make an observation on something so Stark can toss out "No shit, Sherlock" in response.

As for the "boys club" angle mentioned upthread, I can see it to a point, but I do recall seeing a decent amount of female representation in some of the courtyard training group shots, as well as a decent portion of Kaecilius' disciples. Would be better if more of them had dialogue, but there's always next time.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:17 PM on November 16, 2016


My favorite part
"Mr. Strange?"
"It's Doctor"
"You're The Doctor?"
"No. Strange."
"You're Jonathan Strange?!"
*sighs, rolls eyes*
posted by bleep at 11:43 PM on November 18, 2016


If you wanted to put one of the sanctums somewhere south of the equator, in a great city with an at least relatively ancient past, where would you put it?

Buenos Aires is older than NYC.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:54 AM on November 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Just saw this a couple days ago.

There are limits to how much you can do to fix a movie about a archetypal White Savior, Orientalism Flavor(tm) character, so I wasn't expecting much on that front.

I was hoping Marvel would create a switcheroo along the lines of Iron Man 3. Disappointed they didn't take that approach.

Dr. Strange is the anti-Captain America: a jerk who never stops being a jerk, has an origin story entirely based on recklessness, entitlement, and selfishness, is taught and helped by nurturing women but is often an asshole toward them, and is terrible at teamwork.

What happens to the other driver in the car collision?

Incredibly pedantic nitpick: isn't the physical therapist breaking HIPAA privacy rules by giving Strange Pangborn's medical file? (Since Pangborn had previously come to Strange's office to try to get treatment, Strange would have had access to Pangborn's record in his capacity as a doctor, but the therapist probably doesn't know that at the moment that he promises to dig up the file.)

It's ridiculous that, in an ancient mystic school in Kathmandu, only 1 of the main characters (Wong) looks like someone from that region.

Similarly, the gang of sorcerers is a bit of a boys' club, but I couldn't say which I would have replaced with a woman...

How about all of them? This would have been a much less by-the-numbers movie if every single main character were a woman. (Including Dr. Strange and including Strange's love interest.)

The wifi password joke made me laugh aloud! And the "I've come to bargain" sequence was clever.
posted by brainwane at 5:46 AM on November 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


The 3d and subsequent 3d scenes in this movie were fantastic.

Never read the comics. I enjoyed that the love story & typical happy ending didn't happen. And the "you're trapped here with me" twist was delightful - such a clever turn, and a beautiful bit of character building. Here is this completely selfish character, ready to take on eternity of pain for others. I thought it was a great twist.
posted by olya at 7:15 PM on December 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Seconding olya: great twist, good job.

I liked it well enough. The special effects were spectacular. By the time my friend and I got around to seeing it the IMAX was gone (waaaaah) so we had to find the one theater still showing 3D out in the boonies. Still good though. I was expecting I'd just see it for special effects and have no idea what the plot was on about, but I pretty much got it, so yay.

Kinda feel sorry for Rachel McAdams in that role, but eh, money must have been nice and Strange had to have one person that was willing to deal with him. I did really enjoy the scene where he came in stabbed and astrally projected and she SAW it (how?), that was a hoot. Also the cult argument, followed by, "I have to go to my cult meeting." Though they didn't seem THAT romantically entangled enough for her to give him a fancy engraved watch ("we were BARELY lovers").

That scene with all the fancy revolving watches followed by the tux and the car driving made me think Strange was auditioning for James Bond.

My favorite moment was "Put a ring on it." Heh heh heh. I liked how they worked subtle humor in there that came from the situation even if it's not necessarily what I'd call a quotable movie.

I want that cloak. I loved that cloak. I loved that cloak making him run in place until he got the hint to grab the armor, and I especially loved that cloak beating the shit out of that guy. I want it to be my friend.

I also enjoyed the visit from Thor and his refilling beer.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:23 PM on December 3, 2016


I went because I love Escher and it was November 9th, 2016.

Cumberbatch can't do an American accent; I accept this. But I watch Cumberbatch for how he physically inhabits his characters. He's agile & swoopy (when called for) or uptight & WASPy (when that's in the script). I was looking forward to how he'd move in Dr Strange. His body language highly resembled a refrigerator.

The only time he seemed to enroll his body in the movie were during cloak interactions, which improved my attitude about the cloak 100%.
posted by Jesse the K at 11:17 AM on December 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Not to be that guy but I think you mean Steve Ditko. Kirby did draw Strange occasionally but Ditko is the iconic original artist and those are his dimensions.

The Ditko hand positioning was practically beating us upside the head when Strange is setting up his trap in the dark dimension. I snickered.
posted by phearlez at 11:37 AM on December 6, 2016


What happens to the other driver in the car collision?

I don't think he hit the other car. I think he swerved out of its way.

Isn't the physical therapist breaking HIPAA privacy rules by giving Strange Pangborn's medical file?

Oh yes.
posted by maxsparber at 11:41 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


So, I remember reading about the Tilda Swinton casting and the justification behind it, and the stated excuse made sense, even though I thought it was a bit cowardly...

I thought Tilda Swinton was fine, but not special enough to merit white washing what is CLEARLY an Asian role. The whole Celtic thing seemed like such an afterthought. After all, she's in Kathmandu, for crissake!

And then tonight I actually saw the movie. And yeah. What a crock of shit. They didn't do a damned thing to challenge the Orientalist premise, they just stole a role from an Asian actor. I was profoundly, profoundly disappointed.

The visuals were cool, though, and it wound up being a Marvel movie where the hero manages to win by doing something clever instead of killing people. So there's that.

The Orientalist shit is still garbage, though.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:14 PM on December 6, 2016


Sorry to necromance this thread but I just saw this movie and wanted to point out my own special insight, which is that the time manipulation thing that's the major plot device in the end is almost exactly like the mechanic from the computer game Braid. Specifically not just the ability to rewind/pause/forward time, but also to selectively pull specific people out of your manipulation so they move forward with you. Not a criticism btw, just praise for what I think is a very interesting spin on the usual time travel trope. Also Braid is an excellent puzzle game so I will leap at the chance to praise it.

I was cautiously ok with the Orientalism of it because it's so authentically American. I mean in no way is this film a legitimate portrayal of Asian religions and Himalayan culture, it's not even trying. But it is a portrayal of the bizarro view of Eastern culture that's a hallmark of Europe and America in the late 19th / early 20th century, the mystical version thereof. Even down to the visual language of the special effect mandalas. I'll look to films coming from China, Hong Kong, India, etc for authenticity.
posted by Nelson at 10:14 AM on March 20


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