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February 19, 2024

Doctor Strange: Movie Review

By Bernie and Sand Pilarski

Sand said:

Iron Man
Captain America
The Avengers
Guardians of the Galaxy
Ant-Man ...

I loved them all, couldn't wait for the next ones to come out. Marvel Comics were my favorite must-reads as a kid, and though I could only afford my Spider-Man addiction, I paged through many of the other characters' comics while standing at the comics rack in the local drugstores. When Iron Man came out in the theatre, I went to see it twice, knowing that I was seeing the next great thing: Marvel characters done right.

And so it is no surprise that when I heard that Benedict Cumberbatch had agreed to the role of Dr. Stephen Strange, I simply drooled at what might be done with the story. I'd become accustomed to Cumberbatch's skill in the Sherlock Holmes series, astounded by it when he turned into an evil action villain in Star Trek into Darkness, enthralled by it in The Imitation Game. What would he do with a Marvel character?

The answer: make the character his own. He was perfect for the role.

An extraordinary neurosurgeon and extraordinarily self-centered, arrogant, and vain man, Stephen Strange lets his concentration wander for a moment and suffers a gruesome accident that leaves his hands useless from nerve damage. Seeking desperately for some kind of healing remedy, he winds up in Tibet, encountering not physical healing, but a multiplicity of universes that he never knew existed, including one in which a being resides who wishes to eradicate all life -- especially life on Earth.

Drawn into the battle to defend Earth, Strange must confront his own shortcomings as he struggles to learn how to control the mystical forces of the multi-dimensional universe.

Oh my, it was good, the CGI deliciously echoing and enhancing Steve Ditko's artwork in the 60s, the villains so heartless, the lines between good and evil blurring and shifting, the magic and the common world mixing and clashing. Even the next morning after seeing Doctorr Strange, I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to be in this reality instead of the Marvel Multiverse.

If I had the extra money, I'd go see this movie again in a minute. And though, personally, movies in 3-D make me motion-sick, I think for many, a 3-D showing would be a mind-blowing experience.

Bernie said:

Let's see. Where to begin? Did you know that in this election there are nine states with ballot measures to legalize the use of marijuana in this year's election? These would add to the list twenty-three states in which marijuana is allowed for either medical or recreational purposes. Now personally, I never smoked pot. Well, okay, I never inhaled. Well, I mean I may have had a few contact highs from hanging around the smoke-filled rooms back in the day when party politics was conducted in such places. Boy, I'm sure glad those days are over, and that the political process is so much more civilly conducted in the fresh air of open primaries so that only highly qualified, decent individuals can make honest bids for our country's highest offices. But okay, I have to admit it: because of the heavy haze of smoke in the room, I wasn't always sure that it was a Marlboro Light that was being passed to me.

I bring up these seemingly irrelevant facts because I do not think it is coincidental that Doctor Strange was released just in time for the election. This is one serious stoner movie and may well influence the vote in those nine states. From the first moments of this film until the end, this is a kaleidoscopic, mind-bending visual experience. This movie is like a high speed trips through the minds of M.C. Escher, Salvador Dali, and H.R. Giger. Well, maybe just carefully selected parts of Giger's mind. You don't want to spend too much time in there.

And if the stunning visuals of the movie are not enough, there is the opportunity to spend an hour and a half immersed in the flawless acting of Benedict Cumberbatch. In all of Marvel's movies, the casting has been excellent, and this is no exception. Cumberbatch brings to the role the dignity that Anthony Hopkins brought to Odin and depth that Tom Hiddleston infuses into Loki. Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One is also spot on.

Yes, I'm a sucker for Marvel movies, but you never get cheated by their movies. They have maintained a very high standard in their productions, and you always get your money's worth with these films. Go see this one if you get the chance, and go see it in the theater. This one might even be worth an IMAX 3D experience.

Article © Bernie and Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2016-11-07
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