Doctor Strange (USA, 2016)

doctor_strange_movie_poster_by_guhndoi-d9qu85hDirected by: Scott Derrickson. Here we go again. For some reason, I thought this one would be different, and to a certain extent, I was right. Structurally of course, this is the exact same thing that we’ve seen in every other superhero film (down to the criminally light use of an actor who’s way more talented than the leading male because they happen to be a women, and women only get “supportive love interest” roles in these fucking films, the latest casualty being Rachel McAdams for god’s sake). Even that gender gripe, though, is tempered a bit with the presence of Tilda Swinton, who generally rules. But then again, oh wait, her role is only there because they bumped the opportunity to cast an Asian person in the role where the comic book character was already Asian. It’s been well documented, but for a genre so lacking in characters of colour, it probably wouldn’t kill them to cast some actors of colour when the opportunity presents itself (or god forbid, when it doesn’t present itself too).  And sure, they get Chiwetel Ejiofor in there, but holy shit, talk about overqualified! One of the best actors in decades, fresh off his Oscar-nominated turn in 12 Years a Slave, and the best he can do when he hitches onto the superhero gravy train is a supporting role that literally anyone could have done. He gets that good one-liner about the wifi password, but otherwise he’s basically playing the wet blanket to Cumberbatch’s “adventurous renegade” leading hero. (It’s worth noting how this is also structurally the same kind of thing we’ve seen in a million other places—Strange’s boyish contempt for the danger and sanctity of the mystical artifacts turns out to be his actual superpower, the thing that makes him different enough to overcome the bad guy and save the day.) And speaking of overqualified, Mads fucking Mikkelsen to play basically…stock Marvel supervillain #37, like Colm Feore in Thor, and Chris Eccleston in Thor 2, and Jeff Bridges in Iron Man, and Guy Pearce in Iron Man 3, and Josh Brolin in the upcoming Avengers, and Oscar Isaac in X-Men: Apocalypse…I guess I was wrong before:  this film is just like all the others, in the sense that everyone in this could totally be doing something way more valuable with their time and their careers than this movie—what amounts to the Matrix/Inception angle of the same bloated, CGI-fest superhero universe. And when I started this review, the gist of it was going to be that, even though the structure is the same, the content is definitely more fun to watch; as far spectacles go, this is a pretty great spectacle, especially on the big screen, and really what more do we want? Now that it’s over, I don’t know. Somehow, the knowledge that there always has to be 3 of these fucking things is kind of a bummer because all of these actors probably have something better to do. But of course, they’re big girls and boys, and this superhero gravy boat is definitely a fucking $gravy$boat$ so I guess I should just make peace with it and let it roll. Which brings me to my next post…

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One response to “Doctor Strange (USA, 2016)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2016 | Offhand Reviews·

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