Strange Affairs

Hello Dear Reader

Doctor Strange

The Marvel universe is now complete, at least for me. I have read comics since I was 4 or 5, as my granddad owned a newsagent shop and we lived there. I grew up surrounded by them, Dandy, Beano, Hotspur and more. As I understood more about comics I found Marvel and DC, their characters had something different, something more. One character stood out for me, Doctor Strange.

He first appeared back in July 1963, so technically I am almost one year older. I started reading his stories mid 70’s along with others. What drew me to him was magic. Strange controlled powers beyond what others had, like the X-Men and Ironman. He went to places in the comics that were out of this world and out of the earthly plane. His powers were both mystical and physical something that you felt you could almost obtain if you knew where to look.

Doctor Strange did not have the greatest of starts, as far as the comic book world was concerned. Going up against established characters even back then, took time to break into the mainstream. For me, he had something different. I did not quite understand it at that point but he was vulnerable, unlike other Marvel characters. You did not need money, be a brilliant engineer or have different genes in order to save the world and universe. Strange was human.

He grew in popularity within the comic world but never like others. Never reaching that real pinnacle of the top Marvel character. Yet I saw him as the one who could step in at the end and save everyone even if that meant true self-sacrifice. The problem with most of the comic characters is how to kill them off without killing them off. In comics, their lifespan is never-ending since they just don’t need to get old. You age, they don’t or can’t.

Comics faced their own enemy in the form of a rival for attention. That of television. In the past, cinema had tried and to a degree sort of won, but comics could create fantasies that movies found hard to reproduce. Also, they were mainly in black and white, whereas comics had bold colours. Enter the 70’s. Television finally started to get it’s comic heroes and picked on a few it thought it could handle. There was an attempt to produce a number of series, Doctor Strange was picked as a character that could be done. There was a TV film, I know I have a copy of it. Of course here is the link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Strange_(film). It was ok but sadly or not, picked up. The studio picked the Hulk instead.

Move forward to now and how the cinema can make comics come alive. Marvel, as I have said before, have understood how to use this medium to basically make comics grow again. They have planned, properly. When Doctor Strange was announced as a project I was keen to see how who and what they would do. It was not long before we knew who was playing the main role, that of Steven Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch. Interesting choice? That name immediately drew attention and hope that such an actor would and could pull off this role. Gone were the days that comic book characters did not attract top names. Money helps of course. But there is that global element. You get everywhere.

The movie was something I thought might never be made. It was made and I have seen it.

Strange Affairs

Spoilers, of course, come next.

Doctor Strange is brilliant. The costume, perfect. The look of Cumberbatch as Strange, perfect. The right amount of everything, perfect. At least for me. There has been some talk about a so-called gaff from another movie; Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If you really listen to the scene in question the clues are all there for it not to be a gaff. Insight sees past and future problems. Keyword – future.

Enough of that as I really don’t think it’s worth more than that. I am sure others will try and argue but I am happy.

The set design, story, music are as they have been now, just comic book and more. Now the cinema can really make the comic stories come alive. As with all these movies, you can’t spend hours going over the hundreds of comic pages to tell every element nor should they. That is the comics job. It has the time and space to do that. The movie should grab you, pull you in and make you want to read more.

The assembled cast is brilliant. The production brilliant. Even the little hints at where this takes place is cleverly done if you listen. There is a car ride and the clue is there. The story is woven from a number of the comic stories which is fine and moves the action along at the right pace.

You also need to stay until the end. Really the end. Marvel and others have been putting little end clips which are gems. The first ending is just neat. The second ending is the cliffhanger. Stay in your seat, it’s worth it.

Doctor Strange was a hit for me. My favorite Marvel character came to life. It might be my favorite movie. But then again I have to wait to the next one. And the next.

How would I rate this movie? 10 out of 10.

Tagline: ‘The Doctor will see right through you now’

 

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