Doctor Strange ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

There are a number of personal reasons why the latest entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe would not work for me. Growing up in HK on a diet of martial arts TV and films, seeing anyone who isn’t Chinese dressed as a Wushu master is simply laughable. I also have an immense dislike to the haphazard treatment of a narrative, using mystical mumble-jumble disguised as pseudo logic, to explain away what is basically unexplainable in a film. And finally: Benedict Cumberbatch with an American accent. The fact that I find myself enjoying this film in spite of all that is a major credit on the part of the filmmakers. Fast-forwarding his origins story so that Doctor Stephen Strange’s characterization and his training are all broadly established within the first 30 mins of the film means that it can cut to the chase, especially as none of this will make any sense if we stop to ponder upon it too much. The choice of Scott Derrickson, a director known for what critics have labelled “intelligent” horror films turns out to be a solid one as he is quite capable in covering up and glossing over any narrative WTF’s with fast pacing actions and spectacularly clever and insanely exciting visuals that turn the conventional chase and fight scenes on their heads which make them fresh again. Think Inception and/or MC Esher on an adrenaline boosted acid trip; but it really needs to be experienced (probably in 3D which I did not) to appreciate what it really is. At which point, either you get bogged down with the logistics or you run with it and let whatever it is wash over you. Switching to the latter mode and not caring anymore whether this make sense or not places one in a rather zen-like blissful indifference that allows one to immerse in a viscerally entertaining film that doesn’t really take itself that seriously, while managing to make something fairly conventional and formulaic, if not into something new, at least different enough for my cinematic enjoyment.


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