Evacuate immediately to our opinion on the film itself.
Like everything in the world, at least as “the press“, we have seen nothing original in the structure screenplay of DOCTOR STRANGE, telling without any risk-taking a classic origin story where a character of great-selfish-arrogant Tony Stark becomes, with the acquisition of the status of a super-hero, an “altruistic” capable of “saving the world”.
Great powers entail great responsibilities and so on: we know by heart what the tube was, and failing to surprise us it will remain effective. We will not return it because finally, the film has other attributes that are exciting to observe and dissect as, for example, the imagery that appears to impose no limit – at least other than that of its influences. We will therefore give an explanation for this artistic achievement.
We will be interested also in methods of author in the work behind the film; that of its director, Scott Derrickson, and that of the MCU and, by extension, its creator Kevin Feige – president of the [Disney] Marvel Studios. We as well as exploring from there, and their impact on the franchise, on the public, on this particular film.
Summary of the article
- The MCU
- Kevin Feige
- disadvantages of the MCU : the overdose of films of great
- disadvantages of the MCU : the freedom of authors
- Scott Derrickson
- Influences of Doctor Strange : Interstellar (and Inception)
- Influences of Doctor Strange : Contact, Robert Zemeckis
As a reminder, the MCU , or Universe Cinématographique of Marvel, this is the long programme of film development of the franchise of Marvel comics slots, multiple licenses themselves interconnected. We will subtract the following definition, series, Netflix, and ABC, which we will discuss elsewhere.
The MCU is thus made up of many films (14 so far, 9 to come), each focusing on a specific figure: Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant Man, Doctor Strange… Characters evolve as much as the confines of the universe that on our good old earth, a red wire is scalable and maintained off-field, the links between them. Nick Fury & Shield, Thanos, and now the stones of Infinity. This MCU is divided into phases – 3 up here, completed, or initiated by an episode cliffangher bringing together the characters that have previously been developed against an antagonist in common (like the Avengers) or converge different slopes plot (Civil War). By this definition, the MCU is to be considered as a TV series on the big screen, made up of seasons, episodes.
The MCU, in reality it is a simple transposition of the formula of the production and operations of the comics, to film.
By multiplying characters, super powers and their symbolic, universe, possibilities, scenarios and their convergences, themes, and sensibilities… the comics were sure to reach any audience through identification with the reader. As explained by Thomas in his article on the Civil War, the problems inherent in adolescence faces its own developments, to maturity and to the world, were in this fabulous media illustration. Building on several decades, a number of authors, technology and developments in the real world to develop the universe of a same character (or a set of characters), comic books exploited by a formal work without a constantly renewed range of different themes – from simple combat manichean allegory of our society, through the representation of a war, the ecology, or policy. The comic book intended to accompany the reader through the adult age, through entertainment that is accessible, regular, and multi-faceted.
Thanks to a mechanical perfectly oiled, the comic book has become a standard in terms of manufacture and operation of icons of pop-culture.
Using that formula and applying it to the seventh art, Feige holds with its MCU a reflection on this pop-culture that is self-fueling and then eventually to transcend, while redefining the contours of the entertainment industry. It was aware from the beginning ? the MCU has always been thought of as an INCREDIBLE MONEY MACHINE (more than $ 10 billion in revenue in 13 films – not to mention Doctor Strange) ? The two are not incompatible, we will keep the theory to a Kevin Feige – producer-author omniscient beyond the businessman cynical, who like Walt Disney, Kathlyn Kennedy (producer of Spielberg and his many offspring) or even David Heyman (Harry Potter, Paddington, Fantastic Animals), has succeeded in placing all his trust and his money in a new long-term vision of the cinema, and then searched for and managed to give him an unwavering overall coherence – those that, for better and for worse, shape the collective unconscious.
Worse, because of course, the operating system serial port selected by the MCU as well that the author defines, generate inevitable counterparties – as interconnected as the films themselves.
The pace half-yearly output of feature films for example.
Kevin Feige was immediately thought of as necessary, to literally prevent the public from forgetting the franchise. However, 8 years and 14 films later, as well as a brand new trend of the film industry to develop the universe expanded (Warner and its DCU, 20th Century Fox and its X-Men/Deadpool/fantastic 4, Sony and its Spider-Man), a saturation of the market of film of super-hero begins to emerge. This saturation influence the channels of communication are overwhelmed by the promotional material dedicated to the product Marvel and other. In the case of the MCU, for example, there is upstream of a movie 3 months of trailers and promotion by the actors, a buzz of critical and public to the release of the film, and the beginning of the promo of the next film in the downstream, as well as the beginning of the promotion of the video output of the previous movie – sometimes both at the same time as HERE.
Consequences of bipolar this overdose: theopinion starts to get tired of these appearance products interchangeable, while the public moves in mass to see these films that, with experience and competition, are becoming ever more spectacular, effective, and aguicheurs;
the opinion identifies the signs of shortness of breath artistic with each new iteration, while the infatuation of the public – positive or negative – is systematic.
The system itself is caught in his own trap, being forced to stay in this area of accessibility for the public, when thepublic opinion calls for changes – all output of the artistic route that is too steep seeing sanctioned, either by a misunderstanding that is critical and/or public, either by bad results at the box office.
Speaking elsewhere of artistic qualities, the pace bi-annual (soon to be tri-annual !) imposed by Feige obstacle course, the freedom of creative directors and writers being forced to write a film and then complete pre-production, filming and post-production to a maximum of two years, justifying it by saving time the use of the famous “model Marvel”, the specifications in which it is enough in theory to fill the boxes all made, regarding characters, situations, and issues. If this model is obviously perceptible not only by critics but also by the general public, it is here that comes the need to create interest by offering something other than a simple 1.5 version of a film seen six months earlier.
The solution to this problem is to involve authors in the MCU. What is expected of them, it is to tap into the long work of thematic and formal that they have developed throughout their own filmography, to give their personality with the different characters of the franchise.
However, if the omniscience artistic Feige on its MCU ensures overall consistency is quite insane as well as an undeniable accessibility, it is in addition, for each director-author, to adapt to this dark matter, absorbing a great part of their work and their personality – with more or less success. Some, like Edgar Wright did not survive the steamroller Feige, squeezing out a project yet developed for two years, for “different art”. Others, such as Patty Jenkins (Thor 2) and Ava Duvernay (Black Panther) did not come to this stage of involvement, going to quickly realize that time + specifications Marvel would restrict too much the domain of their expression. Kenneth Brannagh (Thor 1) and Josh Whedon (Avengers 1 & 2), had not managed the two-year period between the two opus, the first leaving Thor 2 during its production phase, when the second, yet basking in the considerable success of a first film to 1.5 billion $ in revenue, lives forced to make a sequel truncated, whose ambition, however, is evident in the final result.
“The omniscience artistic Kevin Feige absorbs a large part of the work and the personality of the authors involved in the MCU. “
That said, all the writers on the “survivors” have made this essential element in the image and the universe of each super-hero. Kenneth Brannagh, importa, logically, his fascination for the intrigue shakespeare or the imagery kitsch, in the world of Thor, the giving by the same, her presence tragico-theatre at the famous Loki; Joe Johnston, offspring of the generation Spielberg, gave life to a character highly empathic (Captain America), organizing a parallel reflection enough meta on the figure of the super-heroes, the why of their existence, their importance; Joss Whedon and his management choir of intrigue & complex characters inherited from Buffy and Firefly, dynamitait the (first) meeting of great, Shane Black and his science buddy-movie, the punchline and the script is twisted did honor to Robert Downey Jr. while massacring the universe of Iron Man; The brothers Russo, the only directors of the MCU to truly be turned to the effectiveness of the action, convoquaient the 90’s (we think a lot about McTiernan just) with this account of intrigue in solid or convoluted, and action, is dry and sharp; James Gunn brought a dirty mind kid but inconsistent to the franchise with Guardians of the Galaxy, and we will not, unfortunately, ever what a great movie could have been the Ant-Man directed by Edgar Wright, probably himself too prone to re-readings of modern & personal pop-culture to embrace those of another author. As to Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Louis Letterrier (the Hulk), honest “doers” with no personality, they are paid with efficiency of the task to initiate the MCU thanks to excellent scripts.
The deep obsessions of film of all these authors, Feige did not leave float to the top of the iceberg; just the right amount of risk-taking for the public to remember the qualities (or even defects) in an episode that he will all ways be forgotten as soon as the arrival of the next.
“Doctor Strange is the kind of film whose audio-visual performance total alone is worth to be seen in the theatres, but that might be fantastic, none the less forgettable. “
As for Scott Derrickson, it was hoped very strongly that it is important his vision shifted by the genre film, DOCTOR STRANGE… Because the man is responsible for the excellent The exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister, whose particularity was, as in Wright , but in the first degree, without humor, to be proofreading, modern and personal in a genre, horror here. The singular narrative logic ( Emily Rose) and formal (for Sinister) for her long-feature films, bringing the spectator to question his own relationship to the image, all with the exact same emotions that one is entitled to expect of this kind of movie… And it is finally exactly what it happens to be relatively negative, with the DOCTOR STRANGE;
Again, Derrickson seems to want to take over the key elements of the genre (genre refers to here : movie super-heroes and blockbuster fantastic), and reshape them to better transcend them. If we would have preferred that he devoted himself to a re-reading of a logical plot and narrative of the MCU, this is not the case. No doubt influenced by the approach of Kevin Feige, DOCTOR STRANGE n’ “innovates” as a formal point of view, visual to be even more specific. And this “inventiveness” is based according to us, on the exploitation of the ideas of two authors in mind: to Christopher Nolan, and Robert Zemeckis.
DOCTOR STRANGE returns to d’Inception, the idea of cities flexible by thinking, and leverages this concept to 200% to make it the heart of the super-powers of the protagonists. By accessing a dimension beyond our own, the characters can use the scenery as a weapon or as defense. However, this idea seems to have a origin deeper, we may choose to explain via another reference also Nolan-ienna: Interstellar. At the end of it, Nolan was the picture, the irreprésentables concepts of variables, temporal, or gravitational. For this, it showed us a place, or five dimensions (time, gravity, space) co-existed in three dimensions. If 2h40min as well as a complex script or the emotion was a huge place were necessary for Interstellar to make the film this theory, however, very mathematical, Derrickson takes in DOCTOR STRANGE the background and the imagery, without ever justify it otherwise than by way of a dialogue gloubiboulguesque as well as by our own ability to tap into our unconscious cultural and, in particular, the films of Nolan, to explain these dimension mystical beyond our conception of the world, in which the heroes and villains draw their power.
It is here that Contact, Robert Zemeckis can explain it a little more, the approach of Derrickson, and even imaging crazy but if familiar with DOCTOR STRANGE. In Contact, clues scattered throughout the film indicate that the incredible journey in the space that the protagonist Ellie accomplish in the end of the film (which you can see HERE the obvious similarities with delusions, visual, DOCTOR STRANGE) can quite see himself as a pure creation of his imagination, nourished by his own memories and traumas. This is all the more impressive as Zemeckis gives this trip quite spiritual, a film form that is concrete, visual, sensory, and extraordinary, felt as much by us as by the heroine, and passing through an imaging succeeded in immersing us in spite of its appearance openly digital.
It is exactly this concept of remodeling of the unconscious in a trip-visual-sensory-and-extraordinary Derrickson resumes, to introduce them to Stephen Strange’s own possibilities, super-heroic. The difference is that, in contrast to Contact (or Interstellar), the indices used to create the imagery for this trip there are not in the film, but in our own collective memory. Archetypes (heroes, villains), situations (conquer the world by destroying it), objects (stone of infinity), and places (New York, London), concrete elements, all have already been exploited in the MCU, while the imaging mystic used to deform these concrete elements, convenes optical effects and concepts mythological already cinematically seen elsewhere – and this brings us back among other things, Christopher Nolan.
If there are other visual references, these two seem to be the most striking. There is something of the personality of the film, and where is the obsession of an author of Scott Derrickson: re-assemble these references, and transcend them. If this seems to us to be relevant in itself, and if the visual result is a force absolutely insane, there was no denying that DOCTOR STRANGE, considered without any contextualization, fishing to justify narrativement or give issues to its “originality”, appearing to finally fantastic, but in vain. Thread a needle, and this inability is reflected in the inscription of the film stack hair in the “mould Marvel” (or “mould Kevin Feige”, it is according to), containing the exact codes of creation of the super-hero as we have already seen 6 or 7 times in the MCU. A simple critical comparison of the many points developed in this article, but which is ultimately more damaging than all of the qualities of the film, when reported to the entire production super-heroic some ambitions story like Civil War and Batman V Superman were surprised and convinced… unlike the movies themselves.
If one was entitled to expect something exceptional, no contract is half-full: DOCTOR STRANGE is certainly this kind of rare movies in which the audio-visual spectacle is total and justifies 100% of the price of a movie ticket (such as for example Fury Road, The Son of Saul, The Revenant or The Assassin recently), but its classicism will appear too pronounced for that will not be interested in the efforts of the author in the work behind its existence.
In short, a fantastic film ! But paradoxically vain and forgettable.
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