Comic Book Review: Doctor Strange (2015) Issues 1 through 20

Details: Published by Marvel Comics. Mostly written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Chris Bachalo.

I’ve never been a big fan of Doctor Strange. I’ve enjoyed watching him interact with other characters in the Marvel Universe, like when he was in the Illuminati or when he was god Doom’s sheriff. That changed with this series. They invoked one of my comic book weaknesses; they got Bachalo to do art.

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Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Details: Released in 2016. Runs for about two hours. Stars Eddie Redmayne.

I’ve never thought the Harry Potter movies were great. I never thought they were good. They were just satisfactory, tolerable even. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find is, in my opinion, the same sort of movie. It’s not a bad movie. It’s not great. It’s just satisfactory.

The premise is this: Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a member of the ministry of magic who specializes in magical animals. He comes to America to relocate a magical animal and send it home when he comes across a plot that puts all the wizards in 1920’s New York City in danger.

The first thing you should know is that this is not Harry Potter. Anyone coming to watch this film will obviously be a Harry Potter fan, and they will be undoubtedly disappointed by what they find. With that said, if you have no familiarity with the Harry Potter Universe, again, you will be disappointed if not completely lost. So we reach this conclusion: the only people who should watch this movie are Harry Potter fans and they will most likely be disappointed by the film.

It’s not all bad though. Eddie Redmayne delivers another believable performance, as do the rest of the cast. It’s unfortunate then that the plot of this film is so bare bones and establishes so little. If you’ve read other reviews, you’d be familiar with the opinion that this film merely sets up the inevitable sequels that will follow. Those opinions are right. Nothing happens here other than a shallow exploration of Newt Scamander and the American magical community. It’s all just set up for the next money grubbing sequels.

Score: 4.5/10 It’s sad to me that I know this film will make a ton of money simply by being tangentially related to Harry Potter. As a stand alone film, this movie is pretty shit. However, if you stamp something with the Harry Potter logo, the sheep-like masses will likely throw money at it. I do not recommend this movie for Harry Potter fans and especially for those who are not fans.┬áDo yourself a favor and watch something else.

Movie Review: Doctor Strange

Details: About an hour an fifteen minutes long. Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelson and Rachel McAdams.

The feeling I had after watching this movie was… disappointment. What a waste of an opportunity. I walked into this movie expecting something along the lines of Antman; I was expecting a modernized, original twist on the old Doctor Strange origin story. I was expecting an introduction to the mystic arts. What I got was a retelling of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man movie, except with magic. This is an entertaining movie, I just wasn’t surprised or wowed to the level I was in Ant-Man. There is just very little original ideas in this movie that haven’t been done in other films, and what is done just doesn’t deliver.

The premise is this: Doctor Stephen Strange is a brilliant, arrogant neurosurgeon that gets into a car accident and destroys the nerves in his hands, ending his career as a surgeon. Strange starts looking for a cure for his ailment and in his search, he meets the Ancient One, a powerful sorcerer. The Ancient one teaches Strange magic and Strange takes on the responsibility of protecting the Earth from mystical threats.

There’s a lot about this movie that I didn’t like, so we may as well start with the acting. This isn’t Cumberbatch’s best performance, but he is adequate. I will say that I quickly forgot about his English accent after a few minutes into the film. Mads Mikkelson and Rachel McAdams are underused and just a waste of good talent. Chiwetel Ejiofor has a surprisingly involved role, which is great considering the caliber of actor he is. The acting is still pretty unimpressive here despite all these big names.

The writing is disappointing. As I wrote earlier, this is just an attempt at retelling the old Doctor Strange origin with no twist or modernization. Ant-Man was a heist movie mixed into a superhero movie. Captain America: Winter Soldier was a political-spy thriller mixed into a superhero movie. You’d think Marvel would recognize these successes and try something new with the tone and style of this film. Unfortunately, they don’t. They have the same jokey, jolly, not serious style from Iron Man, Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy, which really doesn’t support this subject matter. Some of the jokes in this film are so bad they just kind of ruin the moment and make the film look like that dorky kid in class who tries too hard to be funny, who can’t read the mood. I think Doctor Strange could have been an incredible supernatural or horror film, something along the lines of Constantine. Unfortunately, what we get is a movie tonally similar to Iron Man, but with magic.

What I did like about this movie were the visuals. There is some really trippy imagery going on. Unfortunately, a corny, unsatisfactory story made it hard for me to immerse myself into this movie.

Score: 5.8/10 Okay movie. Not great. Had high expectations and was disappointed. Felt very derivative to the other Marvel movies and increased my superhero movie fatigue. You can tell there were a lot of good ideas here, the execution just wasn’t exemplary.