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I’m not even mad…
…not even mad that «Doctor Strange’s» script is a bit shallow and the characters are not as rich as I’d hoped them to be.
I’m not even disappointed that this time, Marvel can’t quite pull it off: At least not as masterfully as they’ve done before in «Thor» and «Guardians of the Galaxy», when they obliterated any doubt that without any question, a norse god or a talking, dancing tree weren’t just a good idea, but just belonged on that screen, in that movie, in that story, at that time.
So yes, compared to other movies in the MCU, «Doctor Strange» might be on the weaker side, but it sure looks pretty. And sometimes, (given a solid, but not great structure) that’s enough. Yeah, I know, form follows function, blablabla… but just look at it, it’s so shiny!
This is the moment where I have to admit that my brain’s probably still numbed by the film’s orgasmic kaleidoscopic visual bombardment:
While I may have gotten used to Marvel’s almost perfect, nearly unperceivable visual effects (e.g. «Civil War’s» airport battle), in «Doctor Strange» you really SEE the visuals at work, doing the heavy lifting – in a good way, even artful. There were hints of this kind of imagery in «Ant-Man» but never before where they used to create such an abstract, rich and layered world as in «Doctor Strange». We were promised a psychedelic trip – the Doctor’s universe sure delivers. The magic realm just looks fantastic, and for once, even the 3D almost seems justified.
Although the movie is by far neither as funny nor as clever as «Civil War» and kinda feels like the introvert cousin of «Iron Man», it’s still a most entertaining, highly recommendable and enjoyable ride.
And not to forget: The Cumberbatch is strong in this one! He’s all the Doctor Strange I could wish for… and more: As I remember reading the comics back in the day, Strange was quite the earnest, even stiff dandy. But Cumberbatch does his magic and nails it: He makes the character his own while staying true to the source material. Grounded, but surreal. Tragic (a bit), but funny (very).
Seeing the glass half full, maybe I’m even grateful that this time, Marvel did themselves a favour by lowering their own high bar a tiny little bit, bringing the audience’s expectations back to a reasonable level for the coming last bits of Marvel’s phase three, especially the unfathomable «Infinity War».
And yes, there are TWO post-credit scenes.
How can a movie feel so classic (almost basic) as this one, and at the same time, get to be so ingenious, clever and funny?
I don’t know, but with «The Nice Guys» Shane Black surely gets the job done. After «Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang» and «Iron Man 3» he proofs that his witty but concise no-bullshit writing (and directing) still works and is more than welcome in a cinematic «climate» defined by prequels, sequels and paint-by-numbers productions.
Russel Crowe’s and Ryan Gosling’s superb portrayal of their hilarious bromance completes this blissful watching experience and makes «The Nice Guys» feel like an instant must-see classic.