Didn’t expect to see ME again, did ya?
Well, I told you I’d be back.
And now I am….
ANYHOW, how’ve you been? I’ve been good. Did a few plays. Went to America. Things seem pretty chill over there right now.
But apart from the impending nuclear winter, and losing my beret in Las Vegas, what FILMS have I seen lately?
Well, a whole bunch. To make up for lost time I will be reviewing one main film but will also give you all a series of mini-reviews of the films I watched on my 13 hour long flight into the abyss of Trump’s America.
“But what’s that main review about?” , I hear you bellow.
Didn’t you read the title, friends?
Jesus, that’s a big poster.
Anyhow, Doctor Strange is the five-millionth entry in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, of which we are all aware thanks to the additives in our cereal.
Honestly, you can probably go and see Strange standalone, as it has very little crossovery nonsense mentioned in full or in passing, mainly because it has a bigger fish to fry.
It has to bring “Magic” to the MCU.
Yes, the MCU’s only real deficit in the past few years was either “Well it’s no Star Wars”.
Or “It’s not Harry Potter”
And now it is.
Now the MCU has every genre you want. Bank Heist? Done. Space Opera? Done. Political Thriller? Yarp. Magic Monks? Too late, it’s in your eyeholes.
But is it any GOOD?
It’s grand, like.
Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch (No I don’t do the “haha I misspelt his name” joke that isn’t a joke anymore let’s just let that one die huh?) as Stephen Strange, who has a stupid name, a stupid goatee and the worst accent you’ve ever heard.
Seriously. He’s like Constantine in Muppets Most Wanted tried to learn an accent from Hugh Laurie in House.
Benedict Cumberbatch (Yes Auto-correct, that is actually his name stop asking) is something of a sex symbol these days, which is strange as he looks like a lizard got some kind of chemical peel done to his face.
Anyhow, it’s a bit depressing that he is the gaping charisma hole at the centre of what is otherwise a fairly inventive chapter in this cookie-cutter universe.
It does him no favours that the script is intent on following Iron Man’s “Dickish Man learns Humility” lesson beat for beat, but with none of the charisma inherent in being Robert Downey Jr. But at least Downey Jr. could sell that in his sleep. Cumberbatch is just an asshole who gets powers and continues to be an asshole. He beats the big bad by being an asshole. It’s actually quite funny. But in a really dickish way. We’ll get to that, anyway…
Surrounding Stephen Strange are an incredible array of talented actors. Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, and the guy from A Serious Man wearing a terrible wig all do very good work with the pure nonsense dialogue/disposable friend (or lover)/eventual big bad but not just yet… (delete as applicable) that they are handed.
Speaking of hands, that’s what the crux of the plot is. Stephen Strange is a … hotshot… doctor?
Yeah… he’s a really good surgeon…. who has, like, a penthouse and a fast car and thinks he’s deadly and competes with other surgeons at… surgery… I guess.
Honestly, I don’t know a lot of doctors, so I don’t know how accurate this is but this whole section was pretty weird for me, tonally. This guy is like the Donald Trump of Doctors – he’s trashing his co-workers and underlings despite his job being LITERALLY TO SAVE PEOPLE’S LIVES? I mean, I know it’s a comic book movie, but I expect the billionaire tech genius to do some peacocking but…. a surgeon?
He literally struts around the hospital. It’s bizarre.
Just a note from this – if you meet a doctor who acts like Stephen Strange, seek a second opinion.
Anyway, while going to a black-tie Doctor Gala , he crashes his car and ruins his hands… that do the surgery. He’s very upset about this and spends ten minutes yelling at Rachel McAdams and she ditches his ass completely justifiably. He ends up turning to the mystic arts in an attempt to heal himself, after much scoffing and scolding that is only reversed when Tilda Swinton KNOCKS HIM INTO THE 3-D ACID JAZZ NONSENSE HOLE.
There is one major major reason to go see Doctor Strange in cinemas – the visuals.
The special effects in this film are some of the best that I have ever seen, and that is no joke. It looks great, and the series of setpieces that open, punctuate, and close the film are the best that Marvel have mounted. From Magic hand-shields, to city-warping, to time-looping, the film is endlessly inventive and fun to look at.
It even has a magic carpe…. cape. It has a magic cape.
It even does the bit from Aladdin where the carpet grabs the bad guy by the face and… wait no I’m thinking of the mop in Beauty and the Beast, amn’t I?
Anyway, it gets terribly old, really fast.
With his magical cape, Strange must fight MR. ANGRY EYES.
Mads Mikkelson plays I LITERALLY DON’T REMEMBER HIS NAME.
Jesus, that’s…. I mean… that’s how disposable these Marvel villains have got.
Anyhow, Mr. Angry Eyes is played by the endlessly charismatic Mikkelson, who has to deliver truly turgid MCU “jokes” like confusing the words “Mister” with “Doctor” and all the various hilarious permutations that combination of words suggests.
Spoiler : there aren’t any.
In the end he must be defeated, as must the GIANT CGI THREAT, a Marvel mainstay – here it is some kind of interdimensional being that is NOT Galactus, and is played by…
BENEDICT FUCKING CUMBERBATCH?
Ah sure, why not? Saves time and money.
The defeat of the villain in this film is pretty funny, time-twisty death loop. It’s a real “What is this, Rick and Morty” moment? Hell, Did Dan Harmon get hired to do re-writes on this thing or –
He actually did ! That makes a lot of sense.
Anyway, Doctor Strange is good craic if you can stomach No-Nose McMeltyFace for 2 hours. The rest of it is a grand aul time. See it in 3-D.
Frog Verdict : Sure, what else would you be doing?
By way of ap-ologee.
What did I watch on my plane journey?
Here, in mega-short review format, I give verdicts on whatever cinema and TV treats British Airways tossed my way.
FROG OUT, SEE YA NEXT WEEK.
Look, I don’t want to be negative, but… well, maybe that’s part of the problem. Maybe it’s just me being tired of negativity. But when I read this review it really felt like you hated the movie. It was so full of harsh criticism and snide remarks that I was genuinely shocked to hear you conclude it was fun at the end. A lot of Unshaved Mouse’s reviews have seemed more biting than his scores would suggest, and I guess that is just the style of humor here. But it feels like things have gotten really sarcastic and bitter since the early reviews, and it is kind of tiring to read. I guess I just miss positive humor and people talking about the f*cking GOOD POINTS of movies they enjoyed.
Not just in reviews. I feel that current popular entertainment in general could do with less snark and more sincerity.
So, I guess I’m gonna watch me some more Steven Universe.
I feel I should add, after my last comment, that I don’t dislike the Bald Frog reviews or want them to stop; you have a different voice from the Unshaved Mouse, and that’s fine. But this whole site seems to be sinking more and more into the easy ‘snark and snipe’ humor. Or maybe I’m getting old.
Agreed. But he has been reviewing movies for like 5 years now, ever since he wasted our time reviewing Snow White.
If you hate it so much, aren’t you the one wasting your time?
I think he means because I said that Snow White was technically an RKO film and therefore I had just wasted everyone’s time.
A Randy Keith Orton film? Snow White was a *wrestling* movie?
RKO Studios was one of the Big Five production studios during the Hollywood Golden Age. They’re the ones with the radio tower as the logo. Citizen Kane and It’s a Wonderful Life were both made by them
“That’s right. Disney made it, but it’s technically an RKO film. Which means it’s not really a Disney film. Which means I just wasted my time and yours. Well. This is off to a great start.”
Just the quote for you paper alchemist. I have the audio review on my thumb drive and listen to it occasionally at work, along with the other early reviews.
Ooh, sorry. Tone is a bitch.
Ain’t it though?
Not gonna read this until I actually see Dr. Strange (should be later this week).
Moana report: just got home from seeing it and it’s great. Smurges animation (holy god the water looks so good), great characters, solid story. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s songs are all very good, the “I want” song, How Far I’ll Go, might be the best “I want” song since Out There from Hunchback. It’s real good. Highly recommend.
Good to hear!
Gotta say Frog, seems like you missed a lot of the details in this movie.
Strange doesn’t defeat *SPOILERS* Dormammu *SPOILERS* by being an asshole, he defeats him by being smart.
Strange isn’t a hotshot because he’s a doctor, but because he’s a REALLY GOOD Doctor.
I’ve been meaning to talk about this, and this is a good a place as any to say it: Strange and Stark are nothing alike. True, they’re both kind of arrogant dicks but that’s where the similarities begin and end. People generally seem to like Stark, or at least tolerate him enough to pretend they do. Stark’s character arc ends with him becoming more responsible, not less of a dick. He’s still a dick in his later films, just a bit more adult. Strange conversely, starts the film as an arrogant dick and ends it…as a humble man who’s willing to die over and over again in obscurity in order to save the earth. Strange also isn’t really liked, as shown by his interactions with Wong. Nobody really seems to like him, its only after he develops that he becomes friends with Mordo and Wong.
Also, the bad guy’s name is Kaecilius.
This came off a lot more whiny than I intended it too.
Tough crowd, Frog. Things have got a bit more hostile around here lately. For what it’s worth, my sister agrees with you. I don’t think I’ll see this movie until 20 years in the future, because it looks like it would make a great ‘look how cheesy 2016 was’ movie that’s not too unbearable.
This has been said before on the Internet, but it bears repeating: When we get to Infinity War, and all the heroes are together to run about some grand plan or whatever, one character should say “No shit, Sherlock”, then cut to Dr. Strange and Iron Man sharing an awkward glance with one another really quickly.
In terms of your handful of quick reviews Frog, I actually did rent Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates recently, and I pretty much agree with nearly all your points. The only times where I did audibly laugh were the outtakes at the end-credits.
Like most people, I was hoping Strange’s name drop in Winter Soldier was going to imply his forthcoming origin story would have taken place out of continuity, or at least catch up to it by the end of its running time. One of the more prevalent nitpicks is just how quickly Strange seems to acclimate to the mystic arts, though he doesn’t go so far as to become the outright Sorcerer Supreme by the end. A common defense, one that I can partially agree with, is that he is able to put in his 10,000 hours by doubling down in his sleep, using his astral projection to continue his studies constantly.
I did enjoy his method to thwart Dormammu, though I do wish there was something to reinforce what I feel they were alluding to with his character in that sequence, that Strange’s biggest fear is revealing his mortal weakness in failure, which he had to overcome in order to bring this Lovecraftian deity to a stalemate. The direct-to-video animated film, which is also an origin story, had a sub-plot that could have been supplemented to the live-action version and his fear of failure, revealing that Strange’s callousness and obsession with perfection had stemmed from a prior failure to save his own sister’s life from a brain aneurysm.
On a minor note, I greatly enjoyed the end-credits teasers in this film; the first one has actually made me excited over Thor: Ragnarok, and the second has given me hope that Mordo can potentially become the next best recurring villain, next to Loki.
A surgeon being a prima donna asshole is not unusual by any measure. That’s how the field works; ask any American nurse.
My dear Frog one enjoyed this review of DOCTOR STRANGE, though I must say that once again we must agree to disagree – I thoroughly enjoyed this film (although I have a fondness for Mister Cumberbatch’s work so that automatically gave me a leg up), though the lead villain is quite as understated as most cinematic Marvel Villains.
Now admittedly Mr Mads Mikkelsen was BORN to sell “understated menace” but as the Mouse put it “we need a better class of criminal” (especially when it comes to this sort of Special Effects Epics) and Loki alone is NOT ENOUGH Magnificent B——. On the other hand we WILL be getting Cate Blanchett herself as a HEAVY METAL WITCH QUEEN in THOR: RAGNAROK so at least we may hold out some Hope of deliciously Epic Villainy.
… oh and I absolutely adore the tune that plays over the end credits of DOCTOR STRANGE; it’s as though Journey of the Sorcerer made a beautiful baby with the DOCTOR WHO theme and it is right up my alley, so far up my alley indeed that it’s almost at Main Street already.
Oh and so far as your review of the HOLLOW CROWN is concerned – fie on thee thou canting mooncalf for in sooth ’tis a most splendid series and well worthy of a groundling’s time!