Sunday, November 6, 2016

Marvel Still Has That Old Black Magic

I concur with what Matt Mattingly said: “ ‘Doctor Strange’ was brilliant. Equal parts wit, charm, Eastern mysticism, and absolutely amazing graphic effects. While waiting for the end credits scene, we noticed Charleston’s own Tanner Bartlett had a screen credit as a digital compositor. Especially neat for Dan and Paul since he grew up next door to them.”
It’s a first-rank Marvel film like Iron Man, one that also uses wit to enhance rather than undermine the melodramatic action. Tilda Swinton is a perfect Ancient One, subtly otherworldly, wise and imperious. Benedict Cumberbatch’s skill at playing brilliant, arrogant figures like Sherlock Holmes and Alan Turing fits this role like the proverbial glove.
The movie also overcame the plotting problem inherent in super-magician stories, where the characters can just wave their hands and seemingly make anything happen. The extent of their powers being undefined tends to kill suspense, because they can always pull some deus ex machina spell out of their ass at the last minute. But here, all the magical battles had clever and logical solutions. And martial arts kinetic action was combined with the spell-hurling fireworks of the comic books to vary the action. The supernatural vistas both turn our own world inside out and upside down, and send us into artist Steve Ditko’s, where Dormammu dwells. 

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