Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Now Let's Have A Fight With Dracula In The Sequel

Got to see Doctor Strange two weekends ago. It was fine. I see what people meant about it being a typical Marvel movie and knowing what you're going to get going in. Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, if you can set aside whitewashing the character, not to mention the fact that each time I saw her I'd think, "Moondragon?!", I thought she did well. I didn't understand why she seemed so nonplussed when Kaecillius escaped at the beginning. She went to the trouble of chasing him and his followers, but once he escapes through the portal, she kind of shrugs and gives up. Although the revelation she'd foreseen her end suggests maybe she was going through the motions? It's always hard to tell with characters with precognition. At any rate, her mixture of amusement, concern, and frustration with Strange was well played.

I wasn't sure if I was going to like Cumberbatch at Strange. It seemed within his range, but I'm not any huge fan of his, so I wasn't sure if I'd dig it. But yes, arrogant and conceited is definitely within his range, and he did fine at conveying someone basically out of his depth and mostly winging it. He's smart enough to read the books and grasp the ideas in theory, but the reality of using or confronting them under stress is something else entirely. And the back-and-forth between him and Wong (played by Benedict Wong) was good for some laughs. Strange tries his charm and it basically bounces off like a tennis ball off a brick wall, so he tries to cover for glib, and Wong no-sells that, too. But the part when Stephen finally makes Wong laugh worked really well for me.

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo could end up being a good character. It's nothing against Ejiofor's performance, I'm just not sure how much he had to work with right now. If he is the antagonist in a sequel, we'll see how it works. Because there's a decent potential arc there. He isn't the student seduced by the power I think Mordo was in the comics (Kaecilius got that role). He's the loyal follower crushed to learn his master had feet of clay. He can't see the Ancient One as being another other than perfectly wise and virtuous, and proof this isn't the case, regardless of justification, shakes his belief. That Strange wins through what is a clever plan (I appreciated that the film makes clear Strange can't even begin to match Dormammu's power), but still breaks natural laws, and almost certainly will result in consequences down the line (and I'd be curious to see what those are) is the last straw. Now Mordo is convinced magic users are the problem, too many people with the power but no respect for the consequences or responsibility. How that's played out could be pretty interesting, depending on what his endgame is. He's drawing power for a purpose, what's the purpose going to be ultimately?

The way magic bending reality was presented with the folding buildings was not how I would have pictured it, but I guess it worked. I preferred the representation of the Dark Dimension personally, just for looking like an alien dimension like you'd see in the comics. I wasn't really expecting all the martial arts, either, but Strange does have a history of surprising opponents by opting for a more physical approach. I don't know if it was the TV or the film itself, but the music's volume was way off compared to the dialogue. To hear the latter, we had to crank the volume up to a level that made the former deafening.

I liked it overall. Felt longer than it needed to be, much of which I'd put at the feet of Kaecilius. He failed to make much of an impression, since he's kind of a chump/henchgoon villain. Maybe that fits for a Dr. Strange at the very beginning of his career, but most of the scenes with him dragged.


SallyP said...

I really do need to see this.

CalvinPitt said...

It's worth a watch if you've got the time. There are some good gags in there at Steven's expense, kind of like how the movies tend to lampoon Tony Stark for his ego and whatnot. Very much like that, actually.