The Reviews are In: Dr. Strange

maxresdefaultThere’s a moment during Marvel’s Dr. Strange when the titular Sorcerer Supreme, while discussing the (spoiler) sometimes dubious motivations of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) with Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Mordo, thinks for a moment and says, “She’s… complicated.”

Complicated is a pretty good word for Dr. Strange, too. It’s characters are layered, it’s action set pieces are frickin breathtaking, and it boasts a level of political and social awareness and I, for one, am coming to expect from Marvel. But first things first. Let’s reign it in for a sec and talk about the Cumberbatch of it all. If you’re not a fan of England’s finest import doctor-strange-1since Posh, Scary, Baby, Sporty, and Ginger, you’re either not female or not a fan of marine mammals. If such is the case, this might not be the post for you. So… scoot. Yep. Go watch the new XXX trailer on repeat.

Are they gone? Oh good. Now that it’s just us Cumberbitches, let’s get to it.

Even as someone who expects only the very best from Benedict Cumberbatch, I found his performance impressive. His interpretation of Stephen Strange (a  Marvel Comics deep cut) is part Dr. House, part Tony Stark, and part Hilary Swank from The Next Karate Kid. It’s a zag for Cumberbatch, who’s characters tend to be varying degrees of austere. Dr. Stephen Strange is a celebrated neurosurgeon who loses everything when a car accident causes permanent nerve damage to his hands. He wanders the globe in search of a cure, only to stumble upon a secret order of sorcerer ninjas in Kathmandu who take him in and teach him their ways. He’s thrust into a world of magic, inter-dimensional evil, and Danish bad boys. That last one, of course, refers to Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), zealot follower of a malevolent force hell-bent on forcing the Earth into submission.

Dr. Strange doesn’t subvert superhero tropes by any means, but because the source doctor-strange-benedict-cumberbatch-rachel-mcadams-copertinamaterial is so unknown and the film itself so visually arresting, I sort of didn’t care. We still had an unfailingly loyal girlfriend (Rachel McAdams), a conflicted BFF (Ejiofor), and a reluctant teacher (Swinton). No, what made this movie interesting wasn’t it’s humor or complex characters or it’s new, mystical approach to superheroism, but it’s uncanny timing.

Stephen is given a choice between two opposing, but equally fanatical, factions. One is lead by a woman forced to make difficult, and often morally compromising, decisions that she believes will facilitate the greater good. The other is driven by a radical who, while claiming to be acting in the best interest of the world, actually seeks to acquire eternal life and make the human race as miserable as he is himself. Sound familiar?

giphy

And THAT is what I love about the superhero genre, and why it will never bore me. Because almost without trying, they manage to reflect our own experiences back at us, in a way that encourages and rewards bravery and self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming tyranny. Also, the muscles.

raw

I really like the muscles.

Whitney Weldon

Advertisements

The Reviews Are In: Deadpool

featured imageMom and Dad, if you’re reading this (safe bet), you should know that I went to see this movie under the falsest of pretenses. See, I thought Deadpool was about a ghost who throws a pool party for his friends. Imagine my surprise! I honestly wasn’t expecting the gratuitous violence and the foul language and the annoyingly brief glimpse of Ryan Reynolds’ junk. Suffice it to say, not my cup of tea. Anyway, I’m now going to launch into a very lengthy dissertation on how Billie Piper is, in many ways, a more well-rounded performer than her American counterpart, Britney Spears. So, you’ll probably want to leave off right here. Bye… love you… go watch Castle for a while…

Now that it’s just us non-AARP subscribers, allow me to say that Deadpool is, as expected, pretty frakking awesome–

good one

Sorry. It was a refreshing change of pace after the onslaught of superhero movies where the fate of the known universe rests in the hands of a few dudes with matching chiseled jawlines. Deadpool is about humble mercinary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) trying to get his life (and face) back after he finds himself on the wrong end of a science deadpool-gallery-05experiment gone sideways. He’s gotta get his girl (Morena Baccarin) and put the screws to some bad guys, not necessarily in that order.

Arguably, it’s a little light on story. The movie continually segues between Wade’s life before and after the experiment that made him Deadpool, and not a whole lot happens in between. It’s not unlike any other action movie where a handsome white male kicks ass and takes names–

good one

–sorry– for the sake of love. But it is, you know, a Deadpool film, so there’s plenty of violence and sex jokes and fourth wall breaking to keep you entertained. Luckily for me, I was sitting directly behind a person using a screen reader for the hearing impaired. Trust me when I say that you haven’t lived till you’ve seen the phrase “muppet farts” scroll across a tiny digital screen in a dark movie theater.

I understand that this movie is most definitely not for everyone. Specifically, it’s not for your kids. This is not an Avengers movie, as evidenced by the three minute long, full-frontal sex montage in the first act. Again I stress, don’t bring your children (I’m looking at you, lady sitting next to me with three moppets under the age of ten).

But if you are a mature, consenting adult who doesn’t mind having this image…

giphy (1)

bouncing around in your brain-box for the rest of you life, this might be the movie for you.

Whitney Weldon

Somebody Convince Me: Comic Books

Top-5-Comic-Book-Movies-1088936I think it’s safe to say that I’m not the most committed nerd. I stopped watching Doctor Who after the end of the Smith Dynasty, I’m only mildly enthusiastic about Star Wars, and I just can’t get worked up about comic books, superhero comics in particular. DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image. I live and breathe superhero films, but I just can’t seem to work myself up into the same lather over the hard copy.V-for-Vendetta

Maybe it’s the format. There’s a reason why superhero movies are so much more accessible than the cellulose version, right? Comics are a weird blend of a visual and literary medium and, maybe for some, the formula just doesn’t work.

It’s a pretty good theory, with only one massive, gaping hole. My distaste doesn’t necessarily extend to all comics. I love The Sandman, The Pride of Baghdad, V for Vendetta, Maus, Persepolis. All of those stories are great pieces of fiction in their own right. I know this because each one made me cry so hard, you’d have thought I had just watched the end of Stepmom.

prideofbaghdad2No, it seems like my aversion to comics begins and ends with superhero comics. They just seem so boring. The action, characters, stories all just seem so much more interesting and dynamic in film format. So why does something I love so much on the screen fall so short on the page? SOMEONE EXPLAIN IT TO ME!

Whitney

About Last Night: The Gotham Premiere

If the Oscars are fangirl Christmas, then Fall premiere season is definitely fangirl Hanukkah. Days and days of network gift gotham-series-cast-211e9giving, some of which are way cooler than others. In the case of Fox’s new would-be hit Gotham, I still can’t decide whether or not I should hold on to the receipt. Here’s the breakdown:

Pros

1) I am really feeling Ben McKenzie as Jim Gordon. He’s got the gravitas of Gary Oldman and the raw sex appeal of Gary Cooper (sorry, I couldn’t think of any other sexy Gary’s).

2) This show isn’t trying to cash in by being too Christpoher Nolan-esq. It’s got it’s own vibe, and I like that.

david-mazouz-1400085068

3) David Mazouz could not be cuter as The Batbaby.

4) I think Gotham will be playing a bit fast and loose with the source material, which is a good thing. This show’s target audience is probably going to be pretty familiar with Batman, and if they don’t mix it up, viewers might just opt to rewatch their Dark Knight collector’s box set inTV-Fall Season-10 Beststead

5) Jada. Pickett. Smith. Ever so fierce.

Cons

1) In one episode, we’ve met Catwoman, Poison Ivy, The Riddler, The Penguin, Carmine Falcone, and completely wizzed through pretty much all of Batman’s origin story. Too much, too soon.

2) Gotham, like almost every DC blockbuster ever, is a little short on the funny. We get it, you’ve got #Gothamproblems. But cracking jokes doesn’t make your heroes any less bad-ass. Just ask these guys.

AEc5b

Conclusion? Well, I don’t really have one yet. So far I like what I see, but like many another comic book premise, Gotham could go sideways pretty quickly. Luckily, they’ve got a sexy Penguin. I could put up with a lot for a sexy Penguin.

Whitney