Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Strange Days Indeed

A rich, arrogant genius with intimacy issues suffers a life-altering medical trauma and emerges as a better man by applying his innate skills to open up amazing new possibilities, step past his own selfishness and change the world for the better. Along the way he faces a forgettable villain who betrayed his own people and joins a wider community of fellow heroes. Yes, it's Iron Man all over again, except this time the hero is a doctor instead of an arms dealer and he solves problems with magic instead of technology.

There's a reason why the Marvel movies are accused of relying too heavily on formula, and Doctor Strange exemplifies the reasons why doing so can significantly hamper the meaning and impact of each successive film in the series. Yes, Doctor Strange offers amazing visuals, witty tongue-in-cheek humour and fine performances; it's a perfectly well-crafted film. But we've seen all this before. How difficult would it have been to join Strange in medias rez, facing a truly mind-bending magical problem? Why not tell the story through the eyes of Wong, presenting Strange as a truly strange and dangerous force of nature, a man ruthless enough to pursue a truly utilitarian worldview, sacrificing what he must for the greater good?

That's just one suggestion out of endless storytelling avenues. Surely with a canvas as rich as the entire Marvel universe, the various creators behind these films can do better.

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