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Friday, November 11

Haiku Revieu | Doctor Strange

Friday, November 11
Doctor Strange

Benedict is Strange
Marvel meets mysticism
"I've come to bargain"

A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Y'all know how I feel about Marvel movies (click if you're new here), so it should come as no surprise that I was excited about Doctor Strange. I'm also a fan of Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch, so the combination of the two was definitely enticing.

But before we get into my thoughts on the movie, I want to recognize the discussion that surrounded some of the casting in Doctor Strange. Many people called Marvel out for casting white actors—specifically Tilda Swinton—in roles that should have been given to an actor of color. I understand and respect the cries of cultural appropriation. (Read more about the situation here.) As a white woman, I can't empathize with this situation, but I can and do certainly sympathize with it. And I'm sorry that this continues to be an issue in Hollywood.

Casting issues aside, I thought Doctor Strange was a fun experience. It's very different from previous Marvel movies, but I love that Marvel is taking chances on such "out there" material. As Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) said in the movie, the Avengers protect the physical parts of Earth, and they (Mordo, etc.) protect the "other" parts.

I'm not familiar with any Doctor Strange comics, so I have no clue how the movie was in comparison to comic storylines, but the casting team did get one thing right: Benedict Cumberbatch looks so much like all versions of Stephen Strange I've seen (even the more emo/Criss Angel-looking ones from recent animated series). His performance, too, was great. It wasn't the most nuanced thing I've ever seen him do, but Strange's transition from self-centered surgeon to hero was wholly believable, and Benedict did well at both the more serious parts and the humorous ones.

I liked the rest of the cast too; issues aside, I loved Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One (but I love her particular brand of kooky in general); Chiwetel was intriguing as Mordo, and I'm very interested to see where his character goes from here; and Mads Mikkelson was fantastically maniacal as Kaecilius. (I'm sure he's tired of being typecast as a villain, but he's just so good at that sort of role!)

I really dug the Inception-like weirdness of the movie's graphics, but at times, the CG was really, distractedly bad. Thankfully, those moments weren't many, and didn't really detract from the plot as a whole. The plot itself wasn't overly complex, but served as a good introduction/origin story to the characters and how they intertwine with the rest of the Marvel characters we already know and love.

And I really loved the first post credits scene, which (highlight to reveal spoilers) has me thinking that we'll see Doctor Strange team up with Thor and Loki in Thor: Ragnarok. I am all about Benedict and Tom Hiddleston acting opposite one another.

All in all, a fun movie, and a good addition to the Marvel franchise. Definitely one to see in theaters, too, if only for the graphics.

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