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Laramie Movie Scope:
Doctor Strange

A fabulous-looking fantasy adventure

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 5, 2016 -- Marvel Studio's latest superhero origin story is as polished and as flashy as we have come to expect from this highly successful company. It is a visual feast, especially in 3D.

The new superhero, Doctor Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch of “The Imitation Game”) is a lot like the Iron Man hero Tony Stark, a self-centered man who is almost forced to become a hero largely by circumstance.

A talented surgeon, Strange loses dexterity in his hands after an auto accident, and embarks on a obsessive pursuit of a cure for his shaky hands. After medical science fails him, he seeks a mystical cure from an ageless guru called The Ancient One (played by Tilda Swinton of “Snowpiercer”) in the Himalayas, of course.

What follows is the usual spiritual teaching and kung-fu stuff that has been a staple since the days when the late David Carradine was a TV star, playing a monk taught by a guru who called him “Grasshopper.” Since Strange is very smart and has a photographic memory, as well as a natural affinity for the mystic arts, he learns the lessons a lot faster than most.

All Strange wants to do is heal himself so he can get back to his life, but he soon finds that the earth itself is in danger because an evil man, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen of “The Hunt”) is teaming up with an evil entity from beyond time and space on a mad quest to destroy mankind.

Not surprisingly, Strange agrees to help save the earth, but he is opposed to the violence embraced by one of his teachers, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor of “12 Years a Slave”). Mordo is willing to kill, but Strange opposes killing. Mordo is a true believer in the teachings of The Ancient One, but Strange discovers she has not been entirely truthful.

This film demonstrates an impressive level of visual imagination, somewhat reminiscent of the science fiction film “Inception.” The story tries, somewhat unsuccessfully, to blend mysticism with science, as if they are one and the same. No matter how you dress up pseudoscience, it is still mumbo jumbo. Better to say it is plain magic, and don't try to legitimize it.

There is the usual cameo from Stan Lee, and the usual teaser in the credits and another teaser, post credits, tying this film firmly into the “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” of which this is already the 13th film, with no end in sight. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2016 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)