Doctor Strange

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Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) receives its second film with Doctor Strange.  One of the lesser known heroes (as far as mainstream knowledge of superheroes go) Doctor Strange is a bridge for the MCU from the known villains, factions, and heroes to new and more “mystical” unknown villains, factions and heroes.  As the Avengers will need time to regroup and prepare for their eventual clash with Thanos, the forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 and Doctor Strange will reset the stage for the coming conflict in “Avengers: Infinity War”.

A few words about “Doctor Strange”:

  1. Strange pacing (no pun intended) – there was no marking of the passage of time.  From the time doctor strange was in training to the time he mastered his craft seemed especially fast.  Some of this was explained by his superior intellect, however in some ways this felt like cheating.  This made portions of the movie feel rushed.  By the time we reach the main conflict, the film does not feel like it got to this point naturally.
  2. Benedict Cumberbatch played his role well, but did nothing new. – a spin on his typical take of being brilliant as is the case in most of his roles.  He was more arrogant than usual in this, but with a heart of gold as is standard with marvel heroes.  This shtick is pretty familiar coming from him, however what made it better was imagining his interactions with the rest of the folks in the MCU.  He will fit right in.
  3. Stark change in genre – Typically Marvel movies are action/adventure films with a touch of fantasy.  Sure there are portals, talismans, stones and other mcguffins however these are all typically more seasoning than sustenance.  Doctor Strange falls deeper into the category of Fantasy/Adventure, where much of the plot is driven by the mysticism.
  4. Excellent special effects – Imagine if all of the coolest portions of the movie ‘Inception’ that had to do with bending time and space were used over and over as a method of physical combat.  Between this, and the brilliant colors and time moving backwards, this film visually is stunning.  Watching these scenes was very enjoyable.
  5. Sets up for next phase well – This film does a good job of expanding the universe.  With some of rules set by what is established in Thor, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange builds larger on this theme by setting rules in the “multiverse”.  Routinely using the portals they create and artifacts they use for battle, Doctor Strange gives a glimpse into where the MCU is going.  Much of the universe has been driven by physical actions and characters fighting back physical forces, however Doctor Strange doubles down on the mystical doors opened by Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy.
  6. Forgettable conflict – It almost didn’t feel like a conflict much as obligatory first level challenge for the new hero.  Even the bad guys weren’t completely fleshed out as much as they were placeholders standing in place as stereotypical movie conflict.  By the end of the film this becomes unimportant as what is most important is introducing a new direction for the MCU.
With all that being said, the biggest problem that this movie faced was that it didn’t necessarily need to be a feature length film.  Perhaps it would have been better served as a limited series on Netflix or as a backdoor pilot on Marvel’s Agents of Shield.  (although the budget cut would have affected the visual effects).  Overall a solid summer film, albeit opening in November which is always a breath of fresh air among mostly art films vying to contend in Oscar season.  Take your kids, but be warned there are a few scenes that may not be easily understood by young eyes.  However if they can handle Harry Potter this shouldn’t be a problem for them.  3 of 5 stars.
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A Few words on Loveology

Lovelogy

About a week or so ago i posted a picture of my New Year’s Resolution which was to read through a bunch of books i bought or requested as gifts over the past year or so. There are 8 in total, however my work is really cut out for me because i checked a few of them and the print is really small. However I chose this life. That being said I started with Loveology and while it will probably be the quickest read of all of them. It has impacted me deeply already.

The book is called “Loveology” and the tagline is “God. Love. Marriage. Sex. And the never-ending story of male and female.” The author is John Mark Comer who is a pastor in Portland of “Bridgetown: A Jesus Church”.

As an unmarried man of 30 I feel like i am this book’s key demographic. While the author seems to be talking a slightly younger audience, there are theories that I have had about Sex, love and marriage that have been strengthened through the author’s study of the scripture and commentary. Other ideas I have had have been changed completely.

So as I am typing this i am having an inner debate as to whether I am going to review and recommend this book or simply reflect my feelings toward it. Between this sentence and the last i have chosen the latter.

A long time ago I read a book called “I kissed Dating goodbye” which I felt like was a little corny, contrived and tough to put in practice. I read it when i was about 22 or 23 so maybe me being younger had something to do with why it was not quite so easy for me to accept. However Loveology used scripture and painted such a beautiful picture of marriage love and sex that feels like it made something click in my head.

There is a portion of the book that talks about being single and being married and how Paul (from the Bible) says that being single is a more effective way to serve God. This passage always depressed me because it made me feel like we are supposed to live our lives single (and sexless). However using the same passage the author of Loveology showed how we should accept our singleness as a gift and then also accept our marriage as a gift. The assignment Adam was given in the garden of Eden was to both tend to the garden and the animals. Eve was created to help Adam and together they were to take on that task. (the book goes in depth here I am not doing it much justice)

So now I feel like me being unmarried is a time in which I can truly be my best and do things spiritually that I will be unable to do when I am married. However when I am married I will be able to do things spiritually (and physically) that I am unable to do now.

This book talks about dating and courtship in such a conversational tone that even the parts I did not necessarily agree with were easier to at least comprehend and contemplate. The author talks not only about God, Love, Marriage, and Sex, but he also talks about women’s equality, homosexuality, and divorce in a way that allows for both constructive conversation and reflection.

Who am I kidding? I recommend this book to most people reading this post. If you are saved and single, saved and recently married, unsaved and single, unsaved and recently married. If you are in general just interested in hearing a Christian speak about conservative values without making you feel judged. Read this book, it’s called Loveology and you can get it on Amazon or wherever books are sold.