Doctor Strange (2016)
I’ve seen the 1970s TV movie but held off on this version due to Benedict Cumberbatch fatigue. With a grim sense of inevitability the bad guy is Mads Mikkelsen from ‘Hannibal’. This is badly lit and glowery figures wear silly outfits. ‘Ant-Man’ wasn’t an emotional experience, just fairly inconsequential. Where are the Avengers as sorcerers fight in various cities across the world? Doctor Strange (Cumberbatch) has detachment and disregard for the rest of us as well as a bizarre US accent. He never takes responsibility for his poor choices and creates a negative view of himself.
Things change dramatically for him due to a car crash. He has open distain for others and behavioural norms and shows off negative behaviours. He is a hostile and inconsistent vile bully. What does his love interest Dr Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) see in him? He’s morally repugnant and due to being disabled in a car wreck, he must lose his bourgeois comfort and icy distance and have a moral redemption through magic and face a bland homicide-threatening maniac.
Strange spits ever increasing levels of venom and spite due to his unlimited entitlement. He is morally bankrupt and one could view this as the origin story of a super-villain not a superhero. Marvel need to stave off monotony with their ineffective baddies. This was maudlin with no rollicking charm. Strange faces the catastrophic consequences and Palmer has corrosive passivity. Strange has outbreaks of fury and goes on a concerted campaign of denigration.
This was okay if clunky and not inventive. If he has nerve damage, how can he do hand waving magic? This was not cannily constructed. Strange spends all his money and heads to the East and learns magic. Cumberbatch overacts. Strange is terrifically sour and has recreational outrage. The Ancient One and her bat ears (Tilda Swinton) lurks and she teaches him magic via trippy visuals. Strange trips and this is not especially grim. An angry dude yells and the baddie has a tainted existence.
Strange gets the sentient cloak of levitation and the big bad sounds bored as he babbles about the Dark Dimension. Strange flies. The baddie has no redemptive world view. The angry sidekick (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who was once singularly upstanding becomes maliciously motivated to set up a sequel. Benjamin Bratt has a cameo. A big bunch of pixels is an implied threat. There are more trippy visuals and astral projection. Strange is sure he’s morally right and there’s no limit to what’ll he’ll do to make sure he wins. Dr Palmer is his trusted confidant or something. The ending is near incoherent but I enjoyed it.
“Bring you only sorrow.”
“I thought that was implicit in my disgust.”
“All I need is possible.”
“Thought he was dead.”
“Time to consider stopping.”
“Like what? You?”
“Filled with malice and hunger.”
“Dark places where powers older than time lie ravenous and waiting.”
“Bring ruin upon us all.”
“The source code that shapes reality.”
“Seduced by false doctrines.”
“The forbidden ritual.”
“It’s how I got my MD and PhD at the same time.”
“Places of power where great cities now stand.”
“What are you wearing?”
“You joined a cult?”
“You fed me lies.”
“I’ve prevented countless terrible futures. And after each one there’s always another.”
“Earth has wizards now huh?”
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Private Benjamin (1980)
Little Women (1994)
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Substanceless and worthless.
Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
The only plot is static.
No nihilistic tone.