Sunday, May 8, 2022

Dr. Strange on the Yellow Brick Road

The two Benedicts, Cumberbatch and Wong, face relentless supernatural peril.
Bart and I just watched the new Dr. Strange movie. We’re off to see the wizard in this one, with a powerful witch pursuing a vulnerable girl to destroy her and gain what she possesses. 

A friend becomes an implacable, seemingly omnipotent enemy in this multi-dimensional Marvel of marvels.

I particularly enjoyed Dr. Strange’s Superman turn at the beginning, when he leaps off a building into costume to save a girl from a one-eyed Lovecraftian leviathan. The cosmos-splintering action rarely relents after that. As the Master of the Mystic Arts, Benedict Cumberbatch takes it all in stride with his usual lightly aloof touch. Once again, his Cloak of Levitation provides subtle comic relief.

This movie does run into the problem that has always plagued magical comic book superheroes like Dr. Strange, Dr. Fate and the Spectre. When you can seemingly wave your hand and do anything, the audience doesn’t know what the ground rules are. Stories about super powers require definite rules imposing limitations that the audience clearly understands, or the suspense is undercut. 

Nevertheless, I had a great time at this movie. The invincible enemy is overcome in a clever, logical and yet surprising manner. This Sam Raimi-directed film delivers a series of surprises, in fact, including one right at the end. 

Marvel continues its merry march.

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