Benedict Cumberbatch starring, quirky movie name, Marvel comics, long weekend, no other good movie in town, my cousin willing to give it a try despite our last movie together being the dreadful Kingsman 🙂 …….a bunch of good reasons to go see Doctor Strange in the theatre.
Was super entertained by the advertisements in Singapore ( where I saw this movie). Heavy promotion on having more kids , using credit cards, positive image building ads on the local Police Force. Unlike in India, there were no ads on violence against women, horrifying deaths due to smoking, underwear ads and highly sexualized chocolate/ ice cream ads. I have been to a movie show in Mumbai with a theatre full of children , where the theatre manager thought it was ok to show a trailer of a movie with scenes showing a tribal woman being raped by a cop and sub titles that said ‘Your testicles are dangling like cow bells’. I had to storm off and threaten to file a police complaint against them for subjecting the children to such material ! Anyhoo…..back to Doctor Strange…….
The movie starts off well, builds the picture of an arrogant but brilliant surgeon, with a side kick female friend/ girlfriend. He behaves like Gregory House and seem to be the rule unto himself. Then we see an episode of shocking and flagrantly unsafe driving where he is going full throttle on a mountain road and trying to not only talk on the phone but also look at a CT/ MRI on the screen. This results in him careening off a cliff and then seriously damaging his hands in the accident.
Is he grateful too be alive ? No. Does he blame himself for his stupidity? No. Does he feel remorse at his idiotic carelessness? Erm…no.
He then gets obsessed with fixing himself and tracks down a mysterious patient who had a severe spinal injury and is now playing basketball in some run down part of town. Well ok……..and then this guy tells him to go to some place called Karmasha or something. With just that hint Doctor Steven Strange (yes that is his surname. That’s it. Nothing else except an odd surname), takes off to Kathmandu where he eventually ends up looking like a crazed junkie backpacker and is somehow spotted mysteriously by a black guy in a hoodie and taken to the blessed Karmasha that he is searching for.
Without going into too much detail, here is what happens next—he is rude and arrogant and disrespectful, the Ancient One who is the mystical leader of this place is a white woman (with a plucked head) and there are tons of other students of the mystic arts but somehow the new white man is the one who cracks the codes and figures out the solutions, makes pointless and obscure jokes about the overweight Chinese looking librarian they have. In this library they have extremely precious books which are kept in some random chain system on frames which anyone can unlock. Duh. Then the new white man masters EVERYTHING in a year, manages teleportation, learns Sanskrit and then reads the ancient tomes AND knows them by heart cos of his photographic memory, figures out how to go back in time, manhandles precious things he should not, is rude to the Ancient One, somehow beats off the villains with the burnt eyes makeup (who have Eastern European sounding names and look exactly like Chamunda from the fun Hindi movie for kids called Jajantaram Mamantaram !).
Lost twins ?
Then said white man goes globe hopping to London, Hong Kong and back, acquiring a red cape on the way. At one point he goes into his astral ‘body’ where he has a biffing match with some other villain’s astral ‘body’. The female surgeon ‘friend’ has two scenes where she is shown to be a hysterical jumpy woman who needs to be told by him how to do a simple pericardial aspiration. Then he finds the Dark One, with a very un-threatening name like Domomo or DoCoMo or something, makes a time loop and somehow dies again and again to save humanity. Sounds familiar?
The special effects were mainly done by connecting the camera to a kaleidoscope. The woman were totally tokenistic. The plot was a mishmash of Matrix without the intelligence, X men without the purpose and Doctor Who without the humour.
AND they set the Karmasha or whatever in Nepal and DID NOT SHOW A SINGLE NEPALI OR INDIAN FACE !!
I know this is Hollywood and ruled by men…. white men but when you do a global release of a film that you choose to SET partly IN SOUTH ASIA, WE WOULD LIKE to SEE SOME ASIANS!! And of course we would like to have a more substantial role for women and not have our intelligence insulted but hey that is expecting too much when you go to the movies 😉