Richard and CP24 anchor George Lagogianes have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Doctor Strange,” the fourteenth film in the Marvel Universe, “Trolls,” the return of a 1970s pop culture phenomenon, Andrew Garfield as real-life WWII hero and pacifist Desmond Doss in “Hacksaw Ridge” and the Iggy and the Stooges documentary “Gimme Danger.”
Richard sits in with Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, Benedict Cumberbatch in “Doctor Strange,” the fourteenth film in the Marvel Universe, “Trolls,” the return of a 1970s pop culture phenomenon with Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick, Andrew Garfield as real-life WWII hero and pacifist Desmond Doss in “Hacksaw Ridge” and the Iggy and the Stooges documentary “Gimme Danger.”
In an unconscious way Rachel McAdams has been preparing to play Dr. Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange her whole life.
“My mother is a nurse,” says the London, Ontario born actress. “She is a very compassionate kind of nurse and Christine is sort of that way as a doctor. She has excellent bedside manner as opposed to Doctor Strange. I took a page from my mom.
“I’ve been talking to her about it for my whole life. She brought her job home sometimes. I picked it up over the years.”
Doctor Strange, the fourteenth film in the Marvel Universe aims to introduce you to the neurosurgeon, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who goes from saving lives to saving planets. Trauma surgeon Dr. Palmer is his ex-girlfriend but still a constant in his life, and later, when things get mystical, his anchor to the real world.
“It’s a much less typical love trajectory,” she says of their connection. “I think because we had so few scenes to establish our relationship it was a better jumping off point. We had a lot more subterranean life and a much richer history for the characters.”
In the comic books Christine Palmer is a very different person than the one McAdams brings to life on the screen.
“She is an amalgamation of a couple of characters,” she says. “It gave us a lot of creative freedom. We were inventing something. I kind of looked at the comic books more for the flavour of the world and Doctor Strange himself and less so for my character.”
McAdams’s nurse mother may have helped the actress access the emotional side of playing a doctor, but what about the practical stuff, like tying a suture?
“This great neurosurgeon we had on set with us taught us how to sew up a raw turkey breast,” she laughs. “I guess it’s the closest thing to a real live human being, Poor turkey. Then I used oranges, which were easier to carry in my purse. Better smell too. I also had a fake head to practice on. It was kind of like knitting. I would take the suture stuff around, put it on a light stand while we were shooting and practice. I still have sutures on my doorknobs. Haven’t gotten around to cutting them off yet.
“I was really nervous about it because I thought it was going to take forever but it is just one of those thing that one you get the hang of it it’s kind of fun to do.”
The result of all her work is a movie she calls “an ambitious film on the page that I think ticks a lot of those boxes for people are hoping for when they go see a big, blow-out Marvel film. There’s also a quiet deep emotion that runs through it that may catch people off guard.
“I find it hard to get swept away by a film I am in,” she adds, “because I look at it differently, but I actually jumped at one point in my own scene. My friends were laughing. ‘You knew that was coming!’ I know, but I was wrapped up in it.”
As everybody knows The Avengers exist to save the planet from physical threats like rogue sentient robots and red skulled Nazis. But who protects us from metaphysical danger? Apparently a guy in a crazy cape who looks a lot like Sherlock Holmes.
If you’re not familiar with Stephen Strange, “Doctor Strange,” the fourteenth film in the Marvel Universe introduces you to the neurosurgeon who goes from saving lives to saving planets.
When we first meet Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) he’s a gifted surgeon, a good-looking mix of ambition, charm and arrogance. When a car accident leaves him with severe nerve damage in his hands, he feels he has lost his best asset. The fingers that one’s free-handed complicated nerve surgery cannot now even hold a pen.
His search for a cure leads him to Jonathan Pangborn (Benjamin Bratt), a paraplegic who regained use of his hands and legs. “You came back from a place there is no coming back from,” says Strange. “I’m trying to find my way back.” Pangborn tells the desperate man of a place in Kathmandu, Nepal where he can experience a spiritual journey of healing.
In Nepul he meets the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) an immortal Celt and Sorceress Supreme who teaches Strange some weird new tricks. With her guidance and his photographic memory, he quickly learns how to re-orient the spirit to heal the body. He also discovers who to teleport himself form one place to another and control the very fabric of time. Nifty stuff.
His lessons come in handy when Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a former student, returns to steal a single page of an ancient text. The spell contained on the page would give him a power over time that would make Dr. Who envious. His endgame is to join our world with the Dark Dimension, a place beyond time, thus ensuring life eternal. With the very essence of time at stake can Doctor Strange take a licking, but keep on ticking?
Despite a plot that deals with horology and the metaphysical make-up of the universe, “Doctor Strange” doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s an origin story, pure and simple, that breaks up the interdimensional gobbledegook with bits of levity. Add to that a running gag with Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” and some very trippy visuals and you have a movie that feels fresh despite being yet another origin tale.
Cumberbatch’s take on Strange echoes Marvel’s Tony Stark character. He’s arrogant and quick with a line, but where Stark had an air of unpredictability about him, Strange has none. He’s driven by ego and a need to get his life back, not the darker, and more interesting urges that propelled Stark’s world-saving.
Instead the movie focuses on bringing his experience to vivid life. As Strange begins his mystical journey director Scott Derrickson fills the screen with kaleidoscopic images. The trippy pictures entertain the eye and lend an authentic comic book feel to the movie that is sometimes missed in these big screen adaptations. Who knows how many pixels were harmed to create the hallucinogenic M.C. Escher-esque folding landscapes. Imagine the shifting terrains of “Inception,” but on steroids and you get the idea.
It takes some doing to stand out amid the film’s psychedelic visuals but Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One and Chiwetel Ejiofor as mentor Karl Mordo stand head and shoulders above the fray. Swinton sidesteps early criticism of character whitewashing—in the comic books the Ancient One is generally portrayed as a Tibetan man—by handing in an androgynous character who identifies as Celtic.
“Doctor Strange” is a lively mix of mysticism and mirth that breathes some new life into the Marvel Universe.
Richard hosted a Facebook Live session with “Doctor Strange” star Rachel McAdams! Find out how the actress prepared for the suturing scenes, what she has to say about working with Benedict Cumberbatch and who her favourite Marvel superhero is! See the video on Marvel Facebook Page!