Doctor Strange Review

Using my Laughs, tears, cheese and cheers rating system, here is my spoiler-free review for Marvel’s latest offering ‘Doctor Strange’, with links below if you want to find out more.

Quick Summary

Marvel have a knack of picking characters from their extensive back catalogue who will bring something different to the genre around the core universe-establishing ‘Avengers’. Ant Man is small (mostly), Guardians of the Galaxy are Sci-Fi, and now, Doctor Strange is, well, strange.

Actually, he’s not that strange at all, but his particular set of powers and the world he inhabits are, with inter-dimensional, magical, world-bending action. It’s a smart move. This is why we probably won’t see a ‘Black Widow’, ‘Hulk’ or ‘Hawkeye’ movie, because Marvel seem focussed on characters that provide something new to work with in the very construction of the world the movie is set in.

I enjoyed this after a little settling in, and look forward to a time when Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is free of his origins story to grow into the role further.

Laughs: 2/5

If you want ‘dark’ Marvel, turn to the ‘Defenders’ series building up on Netflix (Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Iron Fist). The Avengers world is slightly goofier because it has to satisfy a wider family audience. As such, our hero here once again has a wry, sarcastic sense of humour, a bit like Tony Stark, Captain America, and all the rest, really. Yes, it’s becoming a bit stereotypical, but it’s a formula that seems to work for dealing with preposterous situations and maintain a semblance of realism. If the main character can laugh at how mad everything is, so can we, and as therefore, accept it.

Benedict Cumberbatch needs a little more time with his new American accent to get his beats spot-on, however.

Tears: 1/5

Hmm. It’s a difficult one this. You need a real ‘Uncle Ben’ moment in a superhero film to raise a tear from me, and although this has got something close, it’s not massively heart-rending. It doesn’t help that Strange himself is a bit of an arrogant git to start with, so you’re not massively invested in his own losses, but do cheer with his redemption, which is another category…

Cheese: -1/-5

I’m sorry Ben C (as I’m sure you are reading this, in which case, forgive me, and please get my books made into films and star in them all if you like) but you need a little bit more time with that American accent. It’s not that it’s a bad accent, it’s just that it’s lacking the dramatic ebb and flow you are famous for (you were Smaug for goodness’ sake!).

It’s quite frustrating to see such a good actor, and I believe, thoroughly nice chap, be dulled a little by having to ‘Yank it up’ (that sounds rude, but you get what I mean). It’s very close, and only slightly distracting, but I needed to mention it somewhere.

Cheers: 3/5

This is where Marvel always hit the high notes for me. The film is full of fist-pumping, mind bending action and iconic moments that keep it building to a great climax (once the origins bit is out of the way, but I liked that too).

Yes, Strange is a bit of a git to start out with, but so was Tony Stark, and the journey is the point. Bit-of-a-git-done-good seems to be a winning combination, when combined with top-class, original visual fx and action.

Fears: 0/5

If you have a fear of kaleidoscopes and pop art, keep away, but this doesn’t set out to scare in that sense, I don’t think.

Bonus Category: + 3 Acid House

This is a trippy film and has all the fun of hallucinogens without the over-riding fear that everyone in the room is a devil come to eat your soul. The visual fx are stunning, and a welcome change from the usual barrage of explosions and collapsing buildings.

That’s not to say there aren’t explosions and collapsing buildings, but it’s the way they explode and collapse that’s so different here. I would say unique, but ‘Inception’ paved the way for this world-bending style. Doctor Strange, however, takes it to a whole new level.

Total: 8

(Check the Leader Board to see how it compares…)

Links:

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Strange_(film)

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1211837/

Agree / Disagree with my assessment? Leave a comment to let me know or submit your own scores for this or any other film listed in the leader board below to be aggregated into the ‘readers choice’ table on the main rating page.

And if you enjoy my reviews, please like/share this page link, and consider taking a look at my original science fiction books advertised in the side bar! Thanks for reading.

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X-Men: Apocalypse Review

Using my Laughs, tears, cheese and cheers rating system, here is my spoiler-free review for ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’, with links below if you want to find out more.

x-men_-_apocalypse

Quick Summary:

The freshness of this rebooted Universe is wearing a little thin and they are already retreading some old ground, but if like me you tend to leave your brain at the door for superhero movies, ‘X Men: Apocalypse’ will keep you entertained for the duration without trying too hard or getting the basics wrong.

Laughs: 1/5

Being the third film of this particular prequel incarnation of the X-Men Universe, we’ve now spent almost all the jokes about bad fashion and haircuts by this point. Evan Peters’ Quicksilver is still the most fun we get in this movie though, with his now customary set piece of fast/slow time frolics providing one of the best scenes, again.

Tears: 2/5

It’s a little contrived and forced, but without giving anything away, there is some pretty hard-hitting plot lines early on that help slot all the goodies and baddies back into their respective slots. It would have hit harder if this hadn’t felt like a plot convenience rather than character development.

Cheese: 0/-5

Nothing to say here really… move along.

Cheers: 3/5

Part of the fun of the X-Men franchise is the sheer amount of superpower variations and intrigue that comes with every character and the conflicts and combinations that leads to. You have a flaming baddy? No problem, we have an ice man… etc. This is no different in that respects, and there are plenty of intriguing conflicts and epic feeling moments to go around.

Bonus Category: City Drop -1

Given the number of interesting character skills and possibilities, it is a little disappointing to see yet another superhero film descend into City destroying finale madness. It doesn’t distract completely, as there are other aspect to the final showdown of more interest, but as usual the human impact is almost totally absent from the comic-book, cityscape playground, and previous films in this series have found better and less clichéd ways to deliver a conclusion.

Total: 5

(Check the Leader Board to see how it compares…)

Links:

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Men:_Apocalypse

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3385516/

Agree / Disagree with my assessment? Leave a comment to let me know or submit your own scores for this or any other film listed in the leader board below to be aggregated into the upcoming ‘readers choice’ table on the main rating page…