sturgeonslawyer (sturgeonslawyer) wrote,

Seen: Doctor Strange (2016)

I am not the first, I am sure, to call this the best Marvel CU movie since the first _Avengers_ -- though I've missed a couple along the way, so for all I know _Deadpool_ may be better, though I kind of doubt it.

Dr. Stephen Strange (Bandersnatch Cummerbund) is one of the world's leading neurosurgeons. An auto accident, caused by his own carelessness, costs him the use of his hands. Well, not entirely, but they are shaky and weak and quite incapable of operating on patients; and a series of surgeries fails to restore them. In desperation, he seeks out a former patient who sends him in search of Kamar-Taj, a secret place in Kathmandu.

Here he meets Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who guides him to Kamar-Taj, and becomes his champion with the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who is the Sorcerer Supreme. The Ancient One rejects him at first, but eventually takes him on as a student sorcerer. His mind rejects sorcery at first; but he is led to become a promising student. He also meets Wong (Benedict Wong), an ass-kicking librarian.

In the meanwhile... The Ancient One's former protege, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), and his followers, are attacking the Sanctums that protect Earth from the Dark Dimension. (Yes, it sounds cheesy...) There are Sanctums in London, Hong Kong, and New York, and the London sanctum falls. Strange, having activated the artifact known as the Eye of Agamotto, finds himself unexpectedly defending the New York sanctum, and barely succeeds (and, even more barely, survives) due in large part to the Cloak of Levitation, the best bit of seemingly-sentient fabric since the carpet in Disney's _Aladdin_.

Well, of course things get worse, and the Ancient One dies without an heir, and Strange eventually faces the god-thing of the Dark Dimension, the dread Dormammu (motion capture of Brandywine Camelot). Naturally he wins, earning Dormammu's eternal enmity and all that, causing the defeat of Kaecilius along the way. And naturally the final and post-final scenes set up not one, not two, but _three_ forthcoming Marvel movies.

Breadfruit Cucumber is superb as Stephen Strange, playing him with a subdued quirkiness a little (but not exceedingly) remniscent of Robert Downey's Tony Stark. His biggest enemy in this film is not Dormammu or Kaecilius, but his own ego, and he plays to that very well.

Then there's the special effects. They are so over the top that they come back again the other side and produce a very pleasant experience - except that, as in most action/adventure films that use heavy sfx these days, things go so fast and are so flashcutty that, at times, it's difficult to follow the action, though the general gist always gets across.

So. I enjoyed it and will, no doubt, happily pony up my (by then) $15 for the sequel. Good times.
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