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I just hope we get this:  

So this is a great trailer.  

I would also like this: http://i.imgur.com/HutMbix.jpeg

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And how is a ego driven surgeon a threat to Hydra? Because at the time of The Winter Soldier, that's all he was. In the grand scheme it doesn't really matter one way or the other. It's something that's easily overlooked and forgotten.

My guess is simply because he was the best surgeon in the world. Top of his field globally, and influenced heavily by money. So potentially that could mean a lot of things when you have an enemy like Tony Stark. It's a flimsy explanation, but I'm guessing it's the one they'll go with "officially" if/when pressed.

 

The Cloak of Levitation was probably my favorite part of this movie. (Aside from the incredibleness that is Benedict Cumberbatch in his entirety.) I definitely think it's a descendant of the Magic Carpet from Aladdin. They have the same attitude.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

 

I think they dropped the ball on the timeline stuff (ironic). I'm sure some of the awards in his cabinet were dated 2016 yet the movie features Avenger Tower in the NY skyline.

 

Speaking of timeline, this goes quite a bit beyond Civil War, doesn't it? Just before he crashed, he turned down Rhodey as a patient. The bit about a colonel who crushed his lower spine in an experimental armor. I took that to mean that the movie started pretty much at the same time as Civil War.

 

Well, after the crash, Strange went through seven different surgeries and all that rehab before even beginning his mystical studies. All this had to take years didn't it?

 

 

 

I definitely think it's a descendant of the Magic Carpet from Aladdin.

 

That was exactly my thought.

 

 

 

Liked it a lot! Thought Strange was a little too jokey for me, but it's MCU, that's just how they do it. And Dormammu definitely did not look how I pictured.

 

It wouldn't be a Marvel movie if it wasn't good despite an underwhelming villain.

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I think they dropped the ball on the timeline stuff (ironic). I'm sure some of the awards in his cabinet were dated 2016 yet the movie features Avenger Tower in the NY skyline.

Speaking of timeline, this goes quite a bit beyond Civil War, doesn't it? Just before he crashed, he turned down Rhodey as a patient. The bit about a colonel who crushed his lower spine in an experimental armor. I took that to mean that the movie started pretty much at the same time as Civil War.

 

According to the director, it's not meant to be Rhodey. He clarified this in a Reddit AMA last month. Maybe it was meant to be one of the soldiers shown injured in the IM 2 courtroom scenes? But I think that Avengers Tower is shown a couple times in Dr. Strange, I just don't remember if it is shown at the beginning or later on.

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According to the director, it's not meant to be Rhodey.

 

That's weirdly specific a reference to be coincidental.

 

Anyway, looking at the background and it seems that continuity just wasn't that big of a priority. Apparently the whole movie is supposed to have taken place within the space of 2016. The accident, healing from the accident, seven surgeries, healing from seven surgeries, seven failed rehab attempts, finding the Ancient One, and going from a complete skeptic to novice to the most powerful sorcerer on Earth in the space of about a year...

 

Yeah, they just didn't care. Which is odd because it would have been fairly easy to spread it out over a few years and maintain continuity.

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I think it would have worked a lot better if they had it start earlier, too. Maybe 2008, around the time Stark became Iron Man? They could have even had a scene with a tv on in the background showing Tony announcing he was Iron Man. That way, they could have established he had been training for years and came back to New York recently. That would have made the name drop in Winter Soldier make a lot more sense.

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I think they dropped the ball on the timeline stuff (ironic). I'm sure some of the awards in his cabinet were dated 2016 yet the movie features Avenger Tower in the NY skyline.

Speaking of timeline, this goes quite a bit beyond Civil War, doesn't it? Just before he crashed, he turned down Rhodey as a patient. The bit about a colonel who crushed his lower spine in an experimental armor. I took that to mean that the movie started pretty much at the same time as Civil War.
According to the director, it's not meant to be Rhodey. He clarified this in a Reddit AMA last month. Maybe it was meant to be one of the soldiers shown injured in the IM 2 courtroom scenes? But I think that Avengers Tower is shown a couple times in Dr. Strange, I just don't remember if it is shown at the beginning or later on.
Except that they mention the Avengers. Who weren't around for IM2. Not to mention the post credit scene with Thor is defenitely post Ultron and Dark World.

Anything they tell you now is meant to get you go "whatever". Which is what it is. Whatever.

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That's what I'm saying, they show Avengers Tower during the movie, so it has to take place after the first Avengers movie. So I guess the experimental armor line is just a throwaway thing and not meant to tie into anything from the other movies. I guess the government would still be trying to build their own, anyways.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Saw it yesterday! And still kind of mad (well, not really, but, yes, sort of) about it.

 

 

 

 

Not ... good ? Like, really, not good at all.

 

Only a few very occasional moments of visual interest (fewer than expected, actually, considering what they're working with here) and the handful of strong performances from a stable of actors who haven't ever and may never let the audience down (I mean, come on, these guys and girls are everybody's favourites, right, who doesn't want to see a movie with them in it, not me, that's for sure, I was even super excited to see Michael Stuhlbarg in it, and then he popped up in Arrival too, super special treat day at the movies for me, a Stuhlbarg double feature) but the plot was stupid and formulaic and the dialogue was stupid and formulaic and the fight scenes were, oh boy, the fight scenes were rough.

 

The fight scenes were at their best at the very beginning and went steadily downhill from there, scratch that, the only good fight scene was the prologue's with maybe maybe the sparring practice between Chiwetel and Benedict squeaking in as a second best. Everything else was just the usual blockbuster mishmash, my eyes couldn't follow who was doing what to who where, and the why of it was often muddled, as well.

 

I mean, I am super sure that the guys who did this were convinced that because of their handful of tricks this time around their fight scenes wouldn't register as the usual blockbuster mishmash, and they may have been right, for some people, the fact that this usual blockbuster mishmash is taking place in a kaleidoscopic shifting landscape or in an isolated pocket of temporal rewinding meant that it would be better than the aforementioned UBM but it really wasn't. At least not for me.

 

So, any time they brought the SFX outside of that context was good for me (psychedelic induction into the secrets of the universe by Tilda Swinton, good, demonstration of luminous arcane spells, good, even the final negotiation with Dormammu, good) but any time two or more (how many more? Whooo knows? Mads Mikkelsen apparently just has this squad of dispensable disciples who tag along with him for fun and games, sometimes there's a lot of them, sometimes there's just one or two, I mean, for all I know he starts out with a concrete number of them and slowly loses them over the course of the movie, it might have made sense, but it felt like the number of them fluctuated, likewise for Strange's fellow yeshiva bochurim in Kamartaj, none of whom talk, nobody talks in this movie except for our main cast and Stan Lee) people had to fight the disorientation ceased to feel like a deliberate choice and started to feel like either incompetence on behalf of the filmmakers or me, maybe I'm to blame, who knows, they managed to do this stuff in the second Thor movie's climax no problem so I think it is on them more than on me, but then again ultimately I am to blame for these movies, it's people like me who help keep them in business, if we had all decided to stay home from the movie theatres from about 1999 until 2002 then perhaps none of us would be in this mess, we could have stopped this from the get go, we could have strangled this evil demon baby in its crib.

 

But instead now for our sins there's going to be another Wolverine, the Wolverines will continue until morale improves, and another Guardians of the Galaxy (if I wanted to watch more of people I don't care about and generic looking spaceships having fights paired with pop music then I would just go onto YouTube and see that stuff for free, I don't understand it, James Gunn made one (1) perfect superhero film and then somehow this is what's happening) and plenty more. It's just going to be demon babies non-stop, from now until the end of civilization as we know it.

 

  • Okay. When I say "The plot was formulaic and stupid" then what do I mean by that? I'm glad you asked. It was a generic superhero origin story with some of the edges trimmed off, that's what. They just cut out the childhood flashbacks and weirdly truncated the expected romance (I mean, Cumberbatch and McAdams just sort of grab each other's heads towards the end and then it's over, he looks out the window all sad and lonely, are they even friends anymore, is she going to help him fight magic crime in the future or what) but everything else followed the anticipatable beats of every one of these. And if there's one superhero out there who you can just cut out the rigmarole and have him show up and do stuff it's a guy like Doctor Strange, you don't need the origin story, the origin story is the least interesting thing about him. The most interesting thing about him is him doing magic, not him learning about the existence of magic, not him learning to do magic, and certainly not him deciding that everyone else's magical pedagogical practices are flawed and need to be argued over ad nauseam. Most superhero stories aren't origin stories, most truly don't even need origin stories, a reliable rule of thumb is if the very first appearance of that superhero was his/her origin story then that's not a story that ever needs to be re-told (the ones that weren't, your Supermans and Batmans, their origin stories came about because of that lack needing to be addressed and so there's some real juice there) and most of the ones that are popular enough to inspire multi-million dollar adaptation have enough strength as collections of concepts that they can live or die on their own two feet without being buttressed by a standard paint-by-numbers plot about who they are and how they came to be. If this movie had started with Doctor Strange rushing to defend 177A Bleecker Street from Kaecilius, then, as my people say, dayenu, it would have been enough. Die Hard doesn't start with John McClane changing his mind about a successful career in animal husbandry and then joining up with the NYPD, come on, superhero movies, you can do better. Superheroes are static creatures, they don't change in the exact way big blockbuster movies want characters to change, the best way to move them from their native comic medium is to recognize this and have the axis of change they undergo oriented in a different direction, so pretending to be Spider-Man makes Peter Parker's life worse and worse until it makes it so bad that he eventually emerges out of it realizing that Peter Parker has to truly be Spider-Man, you do it sort of like the Raimi movies, that's the formula to follow, you don't tell the story of how Spider-Man happened, you show him being Spider-Man wrong until he learns the hard lesson and is Spider-Man the right way, that's how you do a superhero movie. Don't have him learn to be Doctor Strange, have him be who he is, who he's always been, and decide to focus on the one day he got really better at it. Most people's very first superhero story wasn't an origin story, and most people's very first exposure to any particular individual superhero story wasn't that superhero's origin story, the things that appeal to us as an audience about them have very little to do with the rote sets of factual circumstances delineating how they got from an uninteresting or potentially auspicious Point A to a thrilling and fulfilling Point B, you show Spider-Man torn between the choice of fighting off bank robbers or getting Aunt May her medicine, that's the beginning of a Spider-Man story, the story of how he got bit by a spider isn't ultimately that good in comparison. Spider-Man doesn't make a lot of his famous quips, he lets his uncle die, there are no wheatcakes, there's no J. Jonah Jameson, come on. Stop worshipping at the false altar of the origin story and just show us the superhero being superheroic, that's all I ask.

But they don't even do that!

 

What is the appeal of Doctor Strange in the comics? I would say it's probably mostly how, for the initial classic run, how it perfectly pairs its two creators particular strengths in a way not seen since Ben Grimm. You've got the intensity of Ditko's visuals (both his psychedelic vistas and the strange, concentrated, ferocious intelligence evidenced by his approach to the human form, the furrowed brow, the outstretched hands twisted into arcane shapes) and the bombast of Lee's verbiage (every magickal exclamation and invocation of a plethora of mystical beings, planes, planets, etceteras) really working together.

 

But this time around Doctor Strange just moves his hands about and there's a little bit of a light show, he doesn't say the words, why would they dump the magic words? Why did they hire Benedict Cumberbatch if not to have him yell something about the Seven Rings of Raggadorr or the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth? Was his American accent that good on its own that they decided, nah, let's just have him keep quiet while he does the magic? I don't get it. When he's just being a medical doctor they make sure to have him say plenty of medical gobbledygook while he's medicining! Where was my mystical gobbledygook while he's mystic artsing?

 

Oh, and if he did the classic Ditko finger pose (same one as Spider-Mans shooting web, you know, the hook'em horns, the heavy metal devil sign, surely you know of what I speak) then I missed it completely; as near as I could tell he only did stuff that was occasionally reminiscent of that.

 

So the two ingredients never go together and both are kind of not truly there in the first place (I mean, sometimes Chiwetel would say stuff about the Wands of Watoomb and the Living Tribunal in that one scene) and there's precious little of the good stuff, Doctor Strange don't fight no monster, Doctor Strange don't bust no ghost, Doctor Strange don't get no loving, Doctor Strange mostly just fights (and argues with!) other sorcerers and runs around a lot, still, there was some good fighting in the astral plane, that was fun.

 

And, uch, how he beats the bad guy. Look, I'm glad you figured out a fun way to do this and then decided to retroactively go back through the movie and sprinkle throughout it light touches of reference to the theme of time, very nice, I appreciated that. Not being sarcastic, him telling Michael Stuhlbarg to cover his ticking watch was a good moment, worked on both levels, very nice. But it doesn't quite work, at all, the movie's bad guy is Mads Mikkelsen, him having a conversation with Mikkelsen's boss (although I did like that visual, v. neat, not something you can really do in the comics so it was cool to see on screen) doesn't quite defeat Mikkelsen in the way one would expect, does Mikkelsen even know how he got beat, does it really register with him how he was wrong and Cumberbatch was right, he just gets dragged into a greenscreen while his flesh melts into sand, that's no way to defeat a bad guy.

 

Also, umm, the fate of the world wasn't at stake, it was only maybe two thirds on the line there, Mikkelsen blows up the London Sanctum, Strange saves the classic Greenwich Village Sanctum Sanctorum, Kamartaj sends reinforcements there, then they gotta go to Hong Kong to save that Sanctum, so even if they fail to save it then Mikkelsen still has to go back to NYC again.

 

Plus, I also didn't get how if the movie decides almost at the end that the purpose of the Sorcerer Supreme is to protect these Sanctums why the movie hasn't been about protecting them from the beginning, what's more interesting, watching these guys practice magic, or watching these guys use magic for a reason, come on.

 

I also kind of think Wong should have been Mordo and may even have been intended to be from the beginning (certainly that post-credits stinger would have a lot more power if he were), I think they chickened out of it because of the racial angle of an already pretty offensive stereotype, I do like the idea of Wong secretly plotting to betray his master, I mean, if you swapped Kaecilius out for Mordo and combined Wong and Mordo's role then the whole movie would probably work a lot smoother, but we'd lose Chiwetel being all Chiwetel, being a strong morally compromised servant of a corrupt order whose flaws he recognizes even while striving toward the greater good which would mean his own eventual destruction, kind of his whole deal, that's what he is in Serenity, that's what he is in The Shadow Line, that's what he is here (or rather in the next one of these).

 

  • When I say "the dialogue was stupid and formulaic" here's what I mean. You remember Mad Magazine's Snappy Answers To Stupid Questions? That's about the level of what this was here, right? Just quick off-the-cuff simulations of banter, just little improvised riffs, no real rhyme or reason to it, everyone talks the same way to each other all the time, everybody just doing the quips, not even anything truly funny, just vaguely humorous-ish sound shapes pipping out of their mouths with every outtake of breath, he's all like "I can get that at the gift shop" to her, she's all like "Can you get that at the gift shop?" to him, he's all "Who's laughing now, ***hole?" to him, and then he's all "Actually, I am" back, just keep that almost-snappy almost-banter almost-coming in an almost-natural almost-way. It's a real movie if the people talk real words in a real order, right? And, to be fair, it wasn't exactly that bad for its entirety, sure, there were some bright moments amidst the dull gloom of someone trying to make me laugh and just constantly failing to do that. And, I bet, there was a reason for that. I bet whatever draft of their screenplay or edit of the final film which didn't have this stuff in it felt like there was something vital missing, and this sort of approach papers over the cracks, covers up the holes, keeps things moving right along. This is a movie about a guy getting gruesomely injured and then deciding, by the end, that he's actually okay with it (and which chooses to make him realize this fact by having him fight for the right of every living thing on our planet to die and decay) so it makes sense that you want to slide a spoonful of sugar down with that medicine. But I think they kinda mismatched their sugars and their medicines. Or, I don't know, spend some more time on the sugar. Don't just write the sugar in literally one day, first thought best thought. Write down three sugars and throw out the two which don't work, then make sure not to recycle those two sugars later down the line, also decide which one of your characters will be ... eating (?) (okay, just bear with me awhile the metaphors get mixed and muddy) the sugar and stick with him, he's your sugar supplier, not everyone can be your sugar daddy, if everyone in the movie is the sugar (except for maybe Chiwetel, I think almost everyone in this movie was doling out the sugar pretty much non-stop, even the guy who used magic to help heal his horrible spinal fractures had some sugar to offer Benedict in their one scene, you think that maybe Wong won't be a sugar dealer because his predecessor has just died and he takes his important job seriously but oh no, by the end, Wong is laughing and tossing out that sugar to the crowd, the Beyoncé gag was great but everything else was a toe over the line for me). Even inanimate objects are sugaring all over the place, the Cloak of Levitation is the sugar, I was expecting the Eye of Agomotto to slowly wink at the audience by the end, also, it's an Infinity Stone now!?! Is everything an Infinity Stone? Marvel, come on, the Infinity Gems are a distinct set of magical lore in the universe with their own power and purpose, you don't have to smoosh every other trinket out there so it fits into the fourchettes of the Infinity Glove, okay, I guess you kinda have to if you want to tie everything together for the big Avengers movie in a few years or whatever dumb reason Marvel has to do all this. (Actual dumb reason is, of course and as always, $$$)

 

Look.

 

I get it that it's a mug's game to be all "this movie was bad, it should have been a different movie" but that's kind of how I feel about this movie.

 

It was bad.

 

It should have been different.

 

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  • 11 months later...

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