‘Doctor Strange’ Review

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Let me just start off by saying unlike all the other heroes who’ve gotten their own films in the MCU, I knew very little about Doctor Strange before going into it. All I knew was that he was way more mythical than the other characters we’ve seen so far and that he was kind of an asshole, and after seeing the film, I really only came out only gathering one of those things.

It’s clear that Marvel is shepherding Doctor Strange to become the next “Iron Man”, given they have similar character traits – or at least that’s what they’d want you to think. In fact, I felt like the film told us he was an asshole more than it actually showed us that. Don’t get me wrong, we see Strange be an ass to Rachel McAdams (in the most useless supporting role I’ve seen in quite some time, by the way), but that’s pretty much it the extent of it. He’s sort of an asshole before, out of the blue, he isn’t anymore.

When we do see Strange’s nasty ego come out, Benedict Cumberbatch nails it. But unlike what Jon Faverau did with the first Iron Man film and take his time to show us Tony progress from being a “bad” person into being a hero, Scott Derrickson is much more fixated on speeding by these small nuances in favor of the trippy action sequences. By trying to “wow” us instead of focusing on the story, we end up getting a (basic) origin story that doesn’t quite have a second act to show this transition in his character, as well as actually showing him train for these kick-ass fights. In fact, many times throughout it feels like learning about the main character was the least important aspect of the film.

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But, the film’s main selling point were the insane visuals – the only thing that saved Marvel’s ass when it came to marketing this film. The good news for Derrickson is that visuals are by far the best that we’ve ever seen in any MCU movie and I love how inventive the action scenes turned out to be, especially with the whole idea of “opening your mind”. This ultimately allowed us as audiences members to not be sure how it all was going to turn out, which was fun in the moment. However, the two issues with that are A.) It’s a Marvel movie, so in the end it can only turn out a few different ways and B.) this lack of “rules” leaves much of the world building unexplained or confusing, forcing viewers just to accept it and move on.

In fact, a lot of the film is just accepting the plot progression and moving on from it, which, as someone who isn’t quite familiar with the character, was quite odd. I always felt like I was on the outside looking in with this film, as if it were “too nerdy” for me to fully understand. Tilda Swinton is a bald, ancient wizard who loves folding buildings on top of each other, a cape has a mind of it’s own and murders a man, and spells are used to access dark universes and to stop/reverse time. It’s all crazy nonsense that never really has any logicĀ (or depth) behind it, but man, if it doesn’t look cool as shit on the big screen. And yet after all these strange elements added in (pun intended), it still felt so familiar in the end, from the generic villain to the goofy resolution to a world-threatening problem.

Doctor Strange is a surface-level blockbuster that many will accept and probably love because, visually, it’s fantastic and it’s a ton of fun. That being said, the film is rushed, void of any depth and lacks any set of rules or guidelines for the character or world it sets itself in, something I fear Marvel will have to work around when Strange is introduced to other characters in this cinematic universe (which seems to be sooner than later). It’s undeniably entertaining, but as an introduction to the character, it really could have been better.

2.5/5

(-1/2 star for that horrendous Beyonce gag)

“Zoolander 2” Offically Set For Release in 2016

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At Paris Fashion Week, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson offically announced the release of Zoolander 2. It will be released on February 12, 2016. That date doesn’t necessarily give me confidence in the film’s quality, as there have been quite a few stinkers that have been released in February, but I loved the original Zoolander, so here’s to hoping this turns out similar to how Anchorman 2 did. Yes, I really liked Anchorman 2.

Here are some more pictures of Stiller and Wilson making the announcement:

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As I said earlier, Zoolander 2 will be released on February 12, 2016 with Justin Theoroux (Dedication) directing this time around.

Is “Captain America 3” Really Going Up Against “Batman Vs. Superman”?

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This is just a mess. Apparently rumor has it that the untitled Marvel film slotted for May 6, 2016 is Captain America 3, and Marvel has no plans whatsoever to move it. Obviously one will move, but who, and how far away?

Personally, I think it’s idiotic that Marvel (mainly Kevin Feige) thinks his sequel to a modestly popular hero can match up against Batman and Superman. Yeah, Captain America is a lot more popular now than he was a few years ago, and he’ll be even more popular after The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but seriously? Batman Vs. Superman will be an event, similar to what The Avengers was.

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Granted, Man of Steel did have it’s share of haters, but at this point, you know BvS will deliever with it’s action and special effects. Oh, and the team-up of two of the biggest superhero characters ever. Just saying. Sadly, there are already rumors that BvS might move back a week to April 29, to avoid competition. But, if you live outside the U.S., you would know that Marvel usually releases their films a week ahead the U.S. release date. So, internationally, it’d still be facing Captain America 3 head-on.

If Captain America: The Winter Solider does well in it’s April slot this year, I don’t know why I’d be bad to move Cap 3 to the same date in 2016. That way, I’d be out of BvS’ way, and they’ll have a head start on them as well. However, not only is Marvel is being cocky, but they as a combined company (wether it’s Sony, Fox, or Disney) have released one of their movies on the first week of May every year since Spider-Man back in 2002. That might be one of the reasons why Feige and Marvel aren’t budging.

If Batman Vs. Superman does flinch and move to April, it’d only hurt it’s prospects. April is not usually a blockbuster month, at least not for the numbers BvS aim to hit. If they really want to move it (which would be embarrassing for a movie of this scale), they should move it somewhere in June or July. Your move, Warner Bros.

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As of right now, both Captain America 3 and Batman Vs. Superman will open May 6th, 2016.