[personal profile] locker_monster
Saw Doctor Strange this weekend (wow, I really wanted to type Doctor Who just now). It was pretty good, but it wasn't awesome. Better than Iron Man 2 but it was no Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

I mean, the movie looked stunning. The Inception like folding of the landscapes that you glimpse in the trailers is just a small taste of what's in the actual movie. It must look crazy in 3D. But pretty effects alone can't prop up a story completely.

I think there needed to be more to Stephen's journey. He goes to Kamar-Taj for selfish reasons, but his turning point from jerk to hero isn't quite there. Why does he suddenly want to save the world? How is he humbled? Stuff happens at the end of the movie, but I never felt like there was a reason why Stephen alone had to fix everything. Yes, he does come away with another purpose besides being a showboating neurosurgeon, but the motivation is kind of fuzzy. That's the problem with origin stories. We've seen dozens of variations on the same theme so there's a lot of short hand involved. You'd think they would have honed the script a bit more since production got delayed while waiting for Benedict Cumberbatch's schedule to clear up.

And the villain's motivation is also a bit fuzzy. I never got a clear sense of why Hannibal Kaecilius wanted to summon Dormammu. Sure, he goes on why Dormammu would make everything better, but what led him to that place? More stuff about his background with his family would have helped. We spend more time with Baron Mordo, which is nice, since we get a good sense of him before he goes bad. Does his motivation necessarily make sense? I guess. He's followed the rules and teachings of the Ancient One for so long and then he finds out she was twisting those powers for her own means, so he can't be a part of the order anymore. And then the rule breaking leads back to Stephen who has no problems breaking the rules and even uses some forbidden magic to save the day. So I can see why they would clash in the future, but stealing magic (and maybe killing people) is also very no no so why is Mordo doing that?

I do wish they addressed more on Stephen having to work with others to defeat Kaecilius and his followers. Stephen was never one for teamwork and now he has all of these fellow Masters to help him. I did appreciate that Stephen is unwilling to kill since he is a doctor and he took an oath. That'd be an idea they could really develop for any future movies. The villain is always dispatched in the end, but how would you defeat the big bad without killing them?

Oh well. What we do end up with gets the job done and adds another layer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Thor kind of deals with magic, it's really just technology in the end. This is more mysticism and other dimensions and it's not easily explained. Wait, they literally handwaved it away with all of the hand wave-y spellcasting. LOL.

There was also more set-up for future movies. Thor visits Stephen in the mid-credits scene and the never ending beer stein was good for a giggle. So does this mean that Stephen will be in the next Thor movie? It will already have Thor and Bruce, so why throw in another hero? Or maybe Stephen's role isn't that huge. Meh, whatever. It will be nice to see Stephen interacting with other heroes. And hey, Hulk and Doctor Strange together; that's half of the classic line-up for the comic book Defenders. Does that mean Thor is Namor? Or the Silver Surfer? And then there was the revelation that the Eye of Agamotto contains an Infinity Stone. I guess it's the Time Stone since Stephen uses it to turn back time and create a time loop. I assume that at some point the stone will be removed from the Eye, which will mean that it won't have its time powers anymore. Sounds like a good thing to me, since reversing time is a very big cheat. So that leaves one more Infinity Stone (Soul). Either it's found during Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 or Thor: Ragnarok because I can't see it being discovered in the next Spider-Man movie.

Man, Benedict Cumberbatch was born to play this role. Stephen is like Sherlock but with a dodgy American accent and a cape. Oh god, his accent. It's better than, say, Martin Freeman's American accent in Captain America: Civil War, but it's still very nasally. Did they not hire a dialect coach for Benedict? When he had to say Dormammu several times in a row, I just had to laugh. But he got the medical jargon down in the American accent so maybe there's hope for him. Anyway, Benedict easily pulls off the arrogant asshole; I swear it's becoming his go to role. If they had given him more to do, he would have sold the whole hero's journey trope. I did enjoy that he wasn't saddled with a typical love interest. Christine and him had a go at a relationship, but they broke up, and she doesn't feel a need to get back together with him because the world is under threat nor does she provide the motivation for Stephen to have his change of heart. I also enjoyed that we got a needless shirtless scene of Benedict. :-D Thank you, Marvel, for objectifying the male characters and not having pointless ass and cleavage shots for the female characters.

Stephen's costume is just awesome, by the way. I can't wait to see people cosplaying it. And I love his Cloak of Levitation. It seems to be partly sentient, like it will pull Stephen one way when he wants to go in another, or it will strangle someone attacking Stephen. I laughed when it seemed like it was mothering him slightly. At one point, Stephen pops the collar on the Cloak, invoking his look in the comic, but there are also tears on his face from an emotional encounter with Christine and the death of the Ancient One. Well, the Cloak decides to wipe away his tears. Aw. It also adjusts the collar slightly so it's not standing straight up. It's a weird comedic element that doesn't need to be there, but somehow, it ends up making the Cloak so cute. It's like a puppy that wants to please Stephen. It's also neat that a relic with a passive power (of flight) chooses Stephen. It kind of jives with his desire not to kill people.

Random thoughts: So Stan Lee has his usual cameo, but apparently they filmed four while this movie was in production. It's supposedly to cut down on travel time for Stan Lee (since the man is into his 90s), but it's a little weird to think that they're stockpiling his appearances. For a while there, I thought they had a reference to Rhodey's accident from Captain America: Civil War, but the timeline doesn't match up. Makes more sense if the guy in the power suit accident is a reference to Iron Man 2. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is tackling magic this season, but I wonder if there will be a tie-in to Doctor Strange. It seems like the show may be visiting the Dark Dimension. I guess we'll see after the US election.

Oh, and here's a neat fact (that should please you very much [livejournal.com profile] newnumber6): Apparently Nico Minoru's mother is in the film and she wields the Staff of One. Runaways set-up! I suppose they could have just borrowed the design of the Staff of One, but I like to think that it's eventual set-up for the Runaways TV show Marvel is developing.

So next is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, then Spider-Man: Homecoming, and then Thor: Ragnarok. And then there's the Netflix side of things with Iron Fist and The Defenders. Wow, 2017 is going to be a busy year for Marvel.
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