Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange ★★★½

Watched with Laurie. Enjoyed this considerably more than the first time. It has some sustained sequences where beautiful special effects are deployed with a certain amount of style and humor, and whereas the first time around I didn't feel like those "counted," because of fatigue with the MCU machine I suppose, I now see them as modest but substantive achievements. I still feel like the arc-building around Stephen Strange is ham-fisted and not especially satisfying, but the final resolution — it's a memorable one, because it doesn't have to do with who can punch more punches or harder punches — is pretty cool. It's the rare plot resolution which feels like the actual discovery of a solution to a problem, rather than just hitting the problem realllly hard until it goes away.

Addendum: for a while during this watch, I was thinking, "We already have Tony Stark, why do we need another rich arrogant snarky genius with a goatee?" But I realized that the Ancient One says to Strange what no one (including the producers and directors of these movies) ever said to Tony, namely, "It's not about you!" And it seems like he hears it. That was kind of cool. Shortly after that he tells Palmer he has to leave, because he has all these important things to do, but before he can go, she gets a call, because she has important things to do. Palmer's a terrible placeholder character not remotely worthy of Rachel McAdams, but that was a nice "It's not about you!" moment.

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