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Sep. 5th, 2017 @ 10:04 am Doctor Strange
Orientalism

People have commented on this much better than I can and I didn't have much to add. I avoided seeing it in the cinema, but after some debate decided I was interested to see what it was like.

I thought that overall it was less fail-tastic than I expected, despite the big failures right in the middle.

Good things

Many people got over-Cumberbatched, but "arrogant ass who becomes worthwhile arrogant ass" is a good role for him.

The reality bending stuff was very well done, it looked very natural as a "we have weird power of reality but the fighting is somehow a mix of sorcery and martial arts".

And the other-dimension stuff was psychedelic and quite freaky.

I actually got invested in his journey from arrogant doctor to desperate drop-out to apprentice to equal with the masters. Some of the medical scenes were legitimately tense.

The learning scenes were good too, it really captured the feel of learning sorcery/martial arts.

Bad things

There are still some lines that made me cringe.

The first 3/4 was very good, the last 1/4 was ok but more mixed.

Drawing power from the dark dimension is bad? Messing with the nature of reality is bad? Those definitely sound bad, but is there any context? Like, are they morally bad? Or are they risky? How big is the risk? Is it ameliorated by skill, or not?

ghoti-mhic-uait summed it up as "it's not worth the risk, except in the last ten minutes of the movie, when it is", which is a reasonable summary. But it feels like everything would have been a lot more interesting if we'd had any idea of the pros and cons of dealing with the dark dimension or turning back time, not just "A says it's ok and B says it's a bad idea, so um, I guess we just pick one?" Presumably antagonist dude got the idea that immortality in the dark dimension was a good idea from somewhere, where? How?

If you discover the ancient one is drawing power from the dark dimension, don't go straight to "no she isn't" or "well that's ok then", maybe try "that's not good but she's been pretty reliable so far, maybe ask if she's been keeping something from you, but also consider whether there might be a good reason".

Aah! Aah! Aah! Benedict Cumberbatch stayed good and Chiwetel Ejiofor went bad? How did you get that the wrong way round? I mean, I admit Chiwetel Ejiofor is really good at the zealous idealistic antagonist (cf. Serenity). And I assume these are pre-existing characters they couldn't easily mess with. But I'm getting sick of MCU "oh, here's a really interesting black character SURPRISE THEY'RE A VILLAIN".

Dormammu gave up really quickly, didn't he? You'd think he'd hold out a few millennia before giving in, just in case Strange gives up more quickly than it looked like.

And it's lucky he was a malevolent dark extradimensional entity of his word, wasn't it? Strange would have looked really stupid if Dormammu had promised to leave the Earth alone and he'd broken the time loop and then Dormammu had pulled a Harrison Ford and shot him just then.

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