So let’s tick off that box in this year’s comic book movies list – or better: ANT🐜 off this part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ANThology🐜.
I didn’t ANTicipate🐜 much and «Ant-Man and the Wasp» wouldn’t disappoint. It made me laugh (not as much as the first one though) and left me fully satisfied. All in all it’s pure and solid Marvel Studios ANTertainment🐜 as good as it can be for one of their «smaller» side-projects while still hinting at some bigger role for Scott Lang to play in the grand MCU scheme of things.
I won’t even address the elephANT🐜 in the room that «Ant-Man and the Wasp» is…, it’s… I got nothing there, just wANTed🐜 to put one more «ANT🐜» in there. It’s too hot to be clever today, I cAN’T🐜 even bother to give too much ANTtention🐜 to spelling in this climANTe🐜.
All I have is: Go see it, watch the two mid- and after credit scenes and let’s leave it at that ANTiclimactic🐜 review, ok?
Fine. Thank you. ANT🐜 have a nice day…
🐜) Warning: This review may contain some bad insect-related puns.
…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».
Just re-watching me some Marvel movie goodness and realized that one of the few nods to Tony Stark’s alcoholism (a feature I’d always considered to be central to the character) in the current MCU will probably be Stark’s shitfaced appearance in the nineties flashback at the beginning of «Iron Man 3».
Not to be complaining, I think his daddy issues work just fine as a character trait/motivation,… maybe even better considering his role in «Captain America 3: Civil War», without being too dark.
Nonetheless I can’t shake off the thought that almost 10 years ago, the powers that where considered Robert Downey Jr.’s drug-related history might be a suitable association for the well-informed comic book fan waiting for the next superhero movie to come (of which there weren’t that many around at the time).
Of course, that was before we all learned how truly, perfectly Robert Downey Jr. IS IRON MAN and, even without the booze, was defining Tony Stark for the big screen, clearing the path for a franchise we all learned to enjoy in a way we thought we never could.
(Now that I think of it, there was some heavy drinking in Iron Man part 2, but that didn’t lead anywhere either.)
PS: This is getting better and better: I think I just spotted a «The Silence of the Lambs» easter egg in «Iron Man 3» (in which the US-president is strung up in the «Iron Patriot» suit. I think the sound given at that moment supports that theory.)