Doctor Strange (2016)
Benedict Cumberbatch is so perfect a casting for Doctor Strange that it is ridiculous. He is so perfect a casting that I remember not believing it and that it was just people wanting it to be true rather than actually being true.
However, during my initial viewing, I felt they got the character a bit wrong.
I read very little Doctor Strange. The only times I really read any Doctor Strange is when Spider-Man would call him for help saving the universe or forgetting his marriage or something like that. With comparing to Spider-man, Doctor Strange is fairly humorless and out of touch.
Doctor Strange starts out basically as another Tony Stark. Rich, Cocky, and is a charming asshole. He shares the same pop culture humor that Tony does. Also up to about the halfway point, he acts like another action hero. Doctor Strange uses martial arts mixed with magic to handle most of his conflicts.
There is a clear point where Doctor Strange comes into his own and that is when he gets the Levitation Cloak(or whatever they call it). That is the moment he goes from a combat sorcerer like Mordo and becomes the Sorcerer Supreme we know and love.
Another thing that I love that we get in almost none of the other Marvel movies is a character that doesn’t want to kill and when he does, he feels remorse for his actions. Most of the other Marvel heroes, save Spider-man, kill as a matter of course. Always people that definitely have it coming, but they don’t generally try for the no kill solution. I really enjoyed seeing that played out.
Kaecillius is a bland villain. Like I’ve said in many of the origin story movies, it’s another evil version of the hero. The Ancient One even states that she didn’t want to teach Doctor Strange because of how he reminds her of Kaecillius. Mads Mikkelson does a fine job, but there is really not a whole lot there as far as interest goes.
Ah speaking of the Ancient One, when the movie was coming out, there was a HUGE contraversy about the Ancient One being played by a white woman. George Takai said this would cause the movie to fail. It clearly didn’t. I think she did a good job, because to me Tlda Swinton always seems to have an otherworldly quality to her. That’s why I really enjoyed her in Constantine.
But I do kind of agree that taking a role that was an asian character in the comics and whitewashing them for the movie is taking a step backwards. Diversifying characters in a LARGELY white male industry is taking steps in the right direction, when it makes sense. The Fantastic 4 remake kind of highlights when it doesn’t make sense. Or at least I guess it doesn’t make sense when the movie sucks, but it makes sense when the movie is good.
An argument could be made that the Ancient One being a wise old asian man is stereotypically racist in its own right. But you can’t fix the mistakes of the past by getting rid of all the roles for Asians.
Ultimately the argument was that they made the Ancient One a white female because they didn’t want to lose the China audience by casting someone from Tibet. I don’t know too much about history and political strife in other countries, but I’ve come to understand that this is an issue.
Either way, movie was made, it was a success, and not much is going to change it now. Especially since she died.
oh, uh, spoiler.
So the best part of the movie was that the finale comes down to not some final ultimate battle where Doctor Strange wins by being the better fighter, but by a battle of wills. Doctor Strange traps Dormamu in an endless loop and refuses to release him until he agrees to his terms. That is the brilliance I expect from a character like Doctor Strange.
So. . .WE’RE GOING BACK TO SPACE!