Written by / 6/12/2017 / No comments / , , , , , ,

MARVEL GROUNDS THE TRULY BIZARRE OF DOCTOR STRANGE

Dragon image in one of many Strange posters YEAR: 2016
How a comic book adaption like this could be so... well... strange and still make enough sense... at least while you're watching.... is nothing short of miraculous. Or maybe we want it to be clear enough to remain on track this multi-level, cerebral rollercoaster...

Nuther Filler Pic
Benedict Cumberbatch plays the title character with a dash of Robert Downey Jr. style sarcasm. Perhaps any superhero, before taking on a Marvel lead, crams for the Tony Stark 101 test since wry, glib humor helps ground a bizarre, otherworldly situation...
Before Downey, Bill Murray did it in GHOSTBUSTERS. Jeff Goldblum in JURASSIC PARK. And many films beforehand allowing the audience to not only laugh during intense moments, but to take random breaks from the pandemonium (basically, the main star becomes his own sidekick). 

And in the case of DOCTOR STRANGE, Cumberbatch does have a style all his own. An intellectual countenance makes for a realistically brilliant surgeon who thinks too highly of himself  with a reason, sort of. The only doctor who can pull off nearly inconceivable  operations, his life is as perfect as his sleek, expensive car. That's until listening Pink Floyd's INTERSTELLAR OVERDRIVE (early Syd Barrett era instrumental) and crashing down a mountainside, which is too quick and seems forced to get our man to the point where the origin story needs boundless desperation to ignite...

Teaser promo poster for Doc Strange
When things get under way without too much exposition dialogue, he travels to a busy Asian ghetto where crazy stuff occurs in a random location — what could be a curio shop with a patio is an inner-dimensional dojo where the rushed prologue is made up for. Strange's training... a cross between KUNG FU and HARRY POTTER... takes its time, allowing the once egotistical doc, whose hands shake because of the accident and can no longer operate, to learn the ins and outs of traveling from one dimension to the next: From vainly seeking a cure to preparing to a selfless battle a formidable rogue who, like every villain in STAR WARS and straight from the Biblical story of a greedy angel named Lucifer, went from being The Ancient One's best pupil to an envious mastermind who wants everlasting life, and everything else, all for himself...

StrangeScore MarvelCurve: ****
How Strange goes from Asia back to New York is but a spark of what makes the movie work as a whole. A flowing, step-by-step process that's otherwise basic and involving against such a complicated maze of events: having to protect another realm... that most humans aren't aware of, like in THE MATRIX... from being taken over and destroyed — like every James Bond flick, it'll be the end of the world if our beguiled hero doesn't pull off the impossible, and then some...

Which invokes nicely balanced suspense: the character is novice, witty and (perhaps too soon) powerful against the odds, which becomes a bit much: heading to where the anticipated climax occurs. It's those smaller fights in-between, and the reasons for each... leading to the next strategic goal... that makes DOCTOR STRANGE fly — literally with a cape with a mind all its own: The Doctor has a couple of cool human sidekicks, yet they pale in comparison. 
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