For the first time in a long time, I was able to take my birthday off from work. Of course, my birthday was actually on a Saturday, so I took the Friday before off instead. In celebration, my family took me to see Doctor Strange. (Well, my wife and son. My daughter has issues with the movie regarding the Ancient One character. I respect her position, even if I don’t agree.)
Anyway, so I got to see Doctor Strange for my Birthday. My opinion? Well, I was pretty happy with it. Overall, it was very entertaining. I was curious as to how deep the writers were going to take the idea of the magical forces behind Dr. Strange’s powers, and I’m happy to say that I thought they did a good job with it. The writers kept the explanations fairly cursory, hitting on a few key Eastern and metaphysical buzz words like chakra and astral projection. All in all, though, they kept the film mainly about the action and the story.
If you’re not familiar with Dr. Strange, here’s his story in short (not really spoilery, since it’s very common knowledge.) Dr. Stephen Strange starts out as a brilliant surgeon, has an accident and his hands are ruined. No longer able to hold a scalpel steady, he turns to Eastern medicine. And… he gets introduced to far more than he expected. That’s pretty much all you need to know to be caught up, in general, for the movie.
Of course, Doctor Strange is an origin story, but since we haven’t seen his origin on the big screen, I was okay with it. Not to mention, I thought they did a good job of tying his origin into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. They come right out and mention the Avengers and such. An even deeper connection for me was the potential relationship to the Asgardians. So far in the MCU, they’ve pitched Asgard as more or less just another planet out there floating in space. However, based on some of the visuals, it felt more like Asgard was on another plane of existence or a parallel universe. That idea, of course, is a little more in line with the traditional idea of Asgard.
Personally, I think Dr. Strange makes a fantastic character addition to the MCU. He allows the writers to deepen an already massive universe, which is as it should be. The comic Marvel universe has been incredibly wide and deep for a very long time and usually does a great job of weaving stories in and out of the various story modes (science, magic, space, Earth, New York), so why shouldn’t the MCU do the same? I actually think this lets the writers have a broader range of stories to tell, allowing them to hold off the reportedly inevitable super-hero fatigue that moviegoers will surely feel at any moment.
Any moment now.
Okay, well, anyway, I’m excited to see how the good doctor will fit into in and how the stories will interlace. The movie itself was good. I’ve rewatched almost all of the Marvel movies at least once, some four or five times (looking at you Guardians of the Galaxy). Doctor Strange is no exception. I’d even pay to see it again, though only at a matinee price. I’m not made of money, for Pete’s sake.
What you? Have you had a chance to go see Doctor Strange? What did you like, or not, as the case may be? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
*Side note: I’m aware of the issues surrounding the white-washing of the Ancient One. That is actually my daughter’s issue with the movie. While I see the point, I felt as though the studio did a modest job of restructuring the story to compensate. Also, I think that if they hadn’t, some would have complained about the “stereotyping” of the Asian monk-martial-artist-mystic. Marvel has said they made the change for economic/political reasons, to make the movie more acceptable to the Chinese oligarchy. While I may find that a little distasteful, I do find it a legitimate business decision. Though, to avoid the white-washing moniker, they could have actually made the Ancient One of a different, non-white descent. Like, maybe African, or an American Native.