Saturday, November 5, 2016

A Brief Meditation on Marvel's Doctor Strange

Saw Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange last night in IMAX 3D. Totally worth the expense: this is the very rare film that makes effective use of 3D. In fact, I'd probably rate the film as one of my top three superhero picks, primarily because director Scott Derrickson actually connects the form of his film to its thematic content, playing games with sequentiality and time that gesture toward the ways that the comics page does the same. He doesn't make the valiant but doomed attempt to replicate the simultaneous spatiality of the comics page that we saw in Ang Lee's Hulk—instead Derrickson makes the linearity of cinema's temporal experience a means of exploring the plot's interest in immortality and causality.

Put another way, in Doctor Strange, this iconography:

Equals this iconography:

The bar has been raised for the filmic realization of comics, folks!

1 comment:

  1. The way that the movie's effects worked illustrates something that I think most people know already, that the people making the Marvel films get their characters, and not in a "I looked at a comic, and made it look like the comic does" kind of way.

    While none of the scenes look panel for panel like a Steve Ditko drawing, there is that same sense of complete "otherness" when dealing with alternate dimensions, and the massiveness of scope that the Doctor Strange comics, at their best, have contained.

    Also, Marvel Studios once again proves you can have a giant dude with a face look menacing without turning him into a cloud.

    If I had one thing I'd complain about, it's that I really want to hear an alliterative invocation.