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11.25.2016

Let's Go To The Movies - Dr. Strange

Bill has a handful of movies he actually wants to see in the theater, and Doctor Strange was one of them. So, we sneaked out to the movies earlier this week while my Mother-in-law watched the kids for us.

Brilliant and arrogant neurosurgeon, Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), struggles after a car accident damages his hands beyond medical repair. Unable to accept his operating days are over, he goes on a journey to find the mysterious Kamar-Taj and soon becomes engrossed in mastering the mystical arts and fighting dangers to this world he never even knew existed.

Bill wasn't the only one excited to see Dr. Strange, and although I was unfamiliar with the character, I'm always up for a fun super hero flick and Benedict Cumberbatch has become a favorite of mine over the years as well (hello, Sherlock!).

So, how'd I like it?

Spoiler Alert:  I fell asleep!

Which is not to say it was a bad or boring film necessarily, mostly, I think I was just overly tired.  It has a good story concept and the visual effects are pretty amazing. However, it brings up a more interesting topic which is that I used to love these Marvel movies, but as I've grown, and Marvel's saturated the market with their comic book character films; I'm starting to watch them with a much more critical eye. And I don't necessarily like what I'm seeing.  There's been a trend in these films to have these amazing and talented actresses continually play small supporting roles to their "Superhero" male counterparts. Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man. Natalie Portman in Thor. Evangeline Lilly in Ant Man. Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy. Scarlett Johansson in every single Avengers movie. And now, Rachel McAdams in Dr. Strange. They occasionally have their action moments, but their primary purpose in these films has always been to love and support their hero. I know these films are based on established comic book characters that, in most cases, are decades old, but maybe it's time to change the narrative?

Or at least, don't cast award caliber actresses to play these two-bit parts. Rachel McAdams was nominated for an Oscar for Spotlight last year and follows that up with the tiniest of tiny parts in Dr. Strange? I don't get it. I don't get why they cast her and I don't get why she'd take the part (other than they hopefully threw millions and millions of dollars at her and she laughed all the way to the bank).

Thank goodness for Tilda Swinton. Her role as the Ancient One in Dr. Strange was the most interesting character of the film. I would have loved to see her character's origin story versus that of Doctor Strange. I mean, she totally kicked ass; and she was completely bald! No resting on pretty for her, thank you very much.

Superhero films have a much broader audience now than just those that read the comics, and I think it's time Marvel stepped up in their portrayal of women in these films accordingly. Seriously, why hasn't Black Widow gotten her own movie by now?

And since I'm asking questions: Why would I want to take my daughter to see any of these films? What message do they send my son?

I know I've strayed a bit from reviewing Doctor Strange (which ultimately I think was just okay), but I do feel quite strongly Marvel studios needs to make some changes, or they'll be left behind (at least by me).  DC Comics has their Wonder Woman feature coming next year (which looks amazing), and the Star Wars reboot has done a great job featuring women in both starring and/or equal screen time roles; so it can be done and done really well. It's hard not to see it as a conscious choice Marvel is making, and I'm afraid I can't support that choice anymore.

Also, Benedict Cumberbatch is not nearly as appealing with an American accent.

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