Sunday, November 13, 2016

Strange Style


Today Mr.T and I decided to catch the earliest showing of the new Doctor Strange film at Varsity Cinema on Bloor Street. We wanted to see it last week but were distracted and forgot all about it until we saw that friends went to see it on Sunday afternoon. 

The film which features Benedict Cumberbach as Stephen Strange (he seems to be in everything these days) and Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One (a really odd casting choice) is visually stunning but I found myself comparing it to the recent Avengers films which focus too much on special effects and not enough on narrative or character development. 

I know that these origin films have to pull together a lot of different elements in order to introduce the character to audiences but watching the film I never found myself engaged by the story or the overall narrative. Too much time was spent talking about background material, explaining the mystical and magical world and the remaining time on spassky special effects. I found myself not really caring about who was who and what was happening.

Maybe I am being unfair comparing all superhero films I see to the original X-Men film way back in 2000 (16 years ago) which was for me a more ironically human film. It had a really strong story that featured interaction between characters rather than depending on glitzy special effects to make the film. Hollywood films, like Doctor Strange, which want to reach ever bigger audiences play to special effects, emphasizing style instead of substance. I really wanted to like the film more than I did because I was a big Doctor Strange fan way back when I collected comics in the 1970s. I guess as I age I will pine for days past when filmmakers crafted stories rather than just glitz and glam. 

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