Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Doctor Strange - Familiar Fun

Every time a Marvel film comes out, non-fans clamor for it to fail, hearing things like "this is the time a Marvel movie will flop" and like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, it didn't and just made the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe a tad better.

I've seen all the Marvel films in the cinemas and this would be the first time I review one properly and try not spoil it in the process, more of that after the break.

Doctor Strange in a nutshell for our non-comic readers is Harry Potter that decided to become a superhero. He's a "magician", or as his proper title is, The Sorcerer Supreme and with his knowledge and skills, he defends Earth from the supernatural and mundane threats the planets faces.

This is an origin superhero movie  which means the first half would be Stephen Strange's backstory, motivations, and aspirations would be laid out and once the eventful occurrence happens one after the other which changes his life, he'll explore his new gifts, train and use it for the greater good.  You've might have seen the same trope one two many times but it doesn't matter because the execution of how they did it here for Doctor Strange made it feel fresh like it was the first time and Marvel have succeeded in doing this on all of their films to date.

The visual of this film are mind-bending and epilepsy inducing eye-candy that it wouldn't be as fun if you were watching this other than a big screen. Examples of these visuals are when Strange starts "opening" his mind, any scene where they battle and buildings are folding unto themselves, and the effects of their spells. This is the best Marvel movie by far visually for me. Oh, the best soundtrack goes to Guardians of the Galaxy and best story and action scenes go to Winter Soldier.

The story was properly paced and wouldn't induce any yawns, conversations between the characters are engaging and would make you laugh out loud throughout the movie. The character development of Strange is okay, they justified his unbelievable aptitude with the mystic arts by stating his natural talent and how he has a photographic memory. Mordo's character is well devised that you'd empathize with his sense of justice and make him relatable even after a certain scene. As for the rest them, I'll put it on the criticism section later.

The movie was great and had scenes that made the whole theater cheer and clapped. It followed a not so strange formula and made it work.

The film is far from perfect so here are some of my criticisms:

1. The Ancient One who uses an anti-aging cream of  forbidden source shouldn't look like a caucasian for me, she's been protecting the Earth for centuries and Kamar-Taj is in Tibet so you would think a Tibetan/Asian would've been a more appropriate cast but then they wouldn't be able to market it well in China.

2. The use of magic in fight scenes. These are the most powerful sorcerers and sorceress and they still resort to hand to hand combat, I know the artifacts they use are powerful and looks cooler on screen but if I could use my ranged spells first to incapacitate, I would or do some elemental attacks bending style, before going into melee attack.

3. The climatic battle gave off the same feeling as the Green Lantern movie where one of the main villains in the comics was shown on the first film and was defeated in such a way that it felt it was too easy. It's not how Strange did it because it was smart and original but the time allotted for it that it seems rushed.

Pro Tip:
Don't leave until the credits have done rolling, both of them.

Though the first half followed the usual tropes of Marvel movies it was outweighed by the great visuals, pacing, humor, and how they integrated Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by the end of the movie. I and my wife really enjoyed the movie and even my 14-month-year-old son who woke up in the middle of the film that has short attention span got hooked.

So if you are still on the fence if you'll watch it in the cinema or just wait for a you know what copy, then definitely go to the movie house and if you have the budget, watch it in iMax 3D and get your money's worth on the visuals alone.

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