Doctor Strange is another entry into the ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, which follows the prideful fall and humbling rise of a prominent neuro-surgeon named Dr. Stephen Strange. Dr. Strange is an egotistical jerk who treats high profile patients, not to help them, but to increase his reputation as one of the most sought after doctors in the world. He rivals Dr. House from the television show as being the number one A-hole! One night while driving, he is talking with his aide on the phone and arrogantly dismissing potential patients, (one of whom is an Easter egg) and he becomes distracted and crashes. The injuries to his hands are so severe that he can never practice surgery again. Dr. Strange becomes a recluse and searches for ways to improve his health so he can practice medicine again. This leads him to travel East and come across the mystical arts that eventually make him Doctor Strange!
The movie itself is rather straight forward, being that it is an origin story. Doctor Strange discovers there are ways to tap into different dimensions to call up powers, that we would call magic. He struggles to master his skill while rebelling against his teacher, and then he has to use his limited skills to defend his new found community and world from a serious threat. Although it is a by the numbers Marvel origin movie, it is funny, creative and an interesting look at the magical side of the MCU. I doubt the movie will do Captain America: Winter Soldier or Civil War numbers, but it is a solid addition to the Marvel movie stable. Regardless, you will be entertained, if you are a Marvel fan or not.
Weeks ago, I went to see a limited release of Shin Godzilla, a Japanese reboot of the famous Godzilla franchise. Amazingly, I have a teacher at work who is more of a Godzilla fanatic than I am, so he told me about the film and we met up to see it. The movie is completely a Japanese remake, so there were only subtitles in English during the film, but that did not take away from the movie going experience. Now, I am a big fan of Godzilla, and I wanted to enjoy the new American Godzilla that was released a couple of years ago, but I was disappointed in the lack of Godzilla in that film. Well let me tell you, compared to Shin Godzilla, the new American Godzilla is a screen hog! They claimed this was a Godzilla film, but he must have been in this two hour plus movie for all of about 8 minutes. Yes I said 8 minutes! This film was really poking at the ineptness of the Japanese government following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The filmmakers showcased how democracy and bureaucratic red tape can stifle effective responses to a crisis. When Godzilla first arrived on the scene, the movie showed how ineffective the Japanese system was for responding to the crisis. This was good for the first twenty minutes, but the filmmakers decided to parody this for the entire film! You basically spent the movie watching a group of government workers go from one conference room to another, talking about what they can do! Boring! I dozed off a couple of times during the movie! Can you believe I slept during a Godzilla film?! That is unimaginable!
I can sum up Shin Godzilla in a nutshell. Imagine watching C-SPAN on television for two hours, and then seeing Godzilla for 8 minutes out of those two hours!