Coming out this weekend is Doctor Strange, the 14th installment of 98 films that will make up the marvel universe. The film is like if someone gave Tony Stark a lot of Magic Mushrooms for a year. Dr. Stephan Strange is mildly arrogant, but no way as charming as Stark. This is a bummer as we get a sort of cheap knock off version of Stark but instead off firing missiles we get, the magical circle of the welder and jigsaw puzzle cities.
There is a good reason for this as the film starts of and rolls with hyper-focus with an amazing up tempo pace that is all story, foregoing character. Up tempo movies are great, look what it does for the avengers, the Transporter, and even comedy such as Neighbors. We don’t need characters in those story, we already know them, we need exploding motorcycles, exploding buildings, and jokes involving breast milk. For Dr. Strange and gang though, it seems the story is too anxious to as we are immediately introduce the audience to the psychedelic multi-verses and kaleidoscope towers. When Stephan appears to sacrifices everything to heal himself, there is no sense of disappointment, there is no sense that he is giving up or even appearing to explore other crazy options, rather there a sense of urgency to get him to be a master sorcerer. If getting into the mystic arts so I can wield global travel with the wave of finger just involves banging on a door for 5 hours in India, then I’m sold.
This is an odd state for Marvel who just 5 years ago took a huge gamble on Thor, relying on the majority of the film being set in a mystical plane of reality where Nordic Gods rule. It succeed though by giving Thor a human side, a side we can all relate to, and the secondary characters involved with the story were fleshed out. Dr. Strange should have taken a cue from his Thunder God buddy (or from dir. Kenneth Branagh, whose background with Shakespeare could’ve helped that balance between story and character). Instead the story seems like a set-up for something else like, it is a very long trailer for another movie that will eventually come out and by the end of the film the post credit and after credit eggs reveal that this is probably the case. In the world of Marvel where reality is anything they want it to be, Dr. Strange is a pure celebration of where the world of special effects can go and what top notch actors can do with sub-par roles is outstanding. Go see it if you just want something to look at and fill your gut with popcorn, but skip it if you think this a canonical film for the marvel universe.
Stay tuned for part 2