Marvel continues to add characters to its ever growing character pool. But Doctor Strange reaches past space, and reality and pulls in something spiritual.
Stephen Strange is annoying jerk who is a genius with medical injuries. When his arrogance break his body he must find a way to return to level of perfection he once was. He travels vast distances thinking he will be magically healed but he learns from The Ancient One about how to manipulate space and reality. Strange starts to see that is an integral part into the survival of humanity especially when a former students steals spells about affecting time, the only taboo to these people have. Along with the few survivors of his dojo, he must save the world from being absorbed into a dark dimensions.
Doctor Strange is a lot like Deadpool in the fact that it is highly overrated by critics. It has a decent story but it fails to really delve into any true motivations and character development. While Benedict Cumberbatch plays a great intellectual, he is no action hero. The movie works because The Ancient One, played marvelously by Tilda Swinton kicks, major ass and is truly the action star of the film. Mads Mikkelsen works well with the action but he can’t keep his accent straight. I’m not sure why they didn’t just let him speak in his normal voice.
Doctor Strange is up in your face about changing time and realities. Critics love these overly CGI sequences saying it’s visually beautiful. But halfway into the movie, it spends more time trying to dazzle us with CGI instead of the story. It starts to do what I had feared Inception would do by letting special effects over take the story. The good news is that by the end, sequences start to find a good balance between spectral and meaning. Strange ends strong after a sagging middle.
Strange adds a metaphysical layer to the Marvel universe but it needs tweaking to truly break unto the cerebral.
Arrival is cerebral and doesn’t depend on the typical alien bang, bang shot ’em up to carry the story. It’s the actual idea of using an alien language to communicate with the aliens that propels the story
Louise Banks (Amy Adams) lives alone with wine and memories but when an alien spacecraft lands, she is asked to help unravel the mystery of their language. With the help of a team of scientist including Ian Donnely (Jeremy Renner), she must decode the alien’s purpose for coming to Earth. Their language is not like the human language at all so the team must not only translate the language they must learn the vocabulary all while world military leaders breathe down their neck.
Arrival is more subtle with its time manipulation than Doctor Strange. Louise is lost in her own personal time loop and each memory she recalls has direct connection with something said or done in the present. By the end of the movie, each scene makes sense and is it tied (almost) neatly with a bow. Plus the conclusion packs an emotional wallop.
Arrival also acts as a modern day fable about global community. The movie looks at the violence and fear that breaks out when countries start keeping scientific knowledge from each other. The answer lies in working together to solve, not just the mystery of the aliens, but also the issue that plaque humanity.
Arrival is well written, well directed and well acted. It’s a quality movie film that makes you think and gets your emotions flowing.