Hey, a combined Medical Bullshit on TV and Film Review at the same time! What’s next, me reviewing The Good Doctor or Scrubs or Grey’s Anatomy?
OK. I love Marvel. I love Picnic Bandersnatch. I love superpower movies. And this one has superpowers that are so psychedelic it’s mesmerising. I could watch that all day.
Is this what doing LSD feels like?
We’re introduced to Stephen Strange, who is, for all intents and purposes, a cocky asshole who gets knocked down fifty pegs only to regain a new purpose in life. I mean, I had no sympathy for him from start to finish nor do I care much for his motivations, but, like I said, I do like Hobnob Cucumberpatch and I do like the visuals, so I tolerated the assholery.
Contains spoilers, duh.
The medical aspects of it are laughably bad, though, I have to say. I guffawed through most of it.
First of all: Dr Strange scrubbing up. Oh my god. You do not put your hands all the way through the sleeves. You keep them covered inside the sleeve where it’s ‘dirty’ (because the outside of the gown is sterile) until you pick up the sterile gloves through the sterile sleeves and stick your dirty hands into the dirty insides of the gloves. And all of Rachel McAdams’s hair would all be tucked under the cap, not a pretty strand dangling at the side.
Credit where credit is due: the producers certainly got the typical neurosurgeon’s personality down to a ‘t’ though. “Silence your ego” LMAO to a neurosurgeon?
Secondly: “I could have done better” WTF, no, you couldn’t. You’re neurosurgery, not goddamn orthopaedics. Stay the hell in your specialty.
Thirdly: “Show me his files.” “It’ll take time to pull his files from the archives.” What? And the physio actually sent it to him? What about confidentiality/HIPAA??
Fourthly: Jesus Christ. They shocked asystole. Oh my GOD. Also “I got stabbed. Cardiac tamponade”??? Diagnosis of cardiac tamponade is not based on symptoms. And you just happened to find an operating theatre empty? And had a cardiac arrest, attended by the solo ED doctor, no CPR, no airway control, nothing??? (I’ll excuse the deux ex machina of defibrillation electrical energy actually aiding Strange in the netherworld because ~magic~ but I won’t excuse the bullshit leading up to it).
But in other non-medical thoughts, I really have to reiterate. That CGI sci-fi existential part was definitely something. How I’d imagine taking LSD would be like. Fantasy Inception. Mesmerising.
The obviously poorly-thought-out ethnicity aspects stick out like sore thumb. For a story set in Nepal (and I believe the original story has it set in Tibet and it was changed to Nepal so the film can suck up to the Chinese market), there sure are a lot of white people… Who knew? White guy saves the day. White guy’s nemesis is the former student now misguided Big Bad… a white guy. White guy MC is guided by a white Tibetan ‘monk’ (apparently the director wanted to avoid the Fu Manchu magical Asian and the Dragon lady stereotypes. Because those are literally the only two ‘powerful Asian characters’ he could conjure. So, to avoid offending through ignorance, he solves the issue by… whitewashing the character instead.)
Wow. You literally can’t make this shit up.
This is why white people should stop directing POC-led films or stories set in POC culture.
It’s quite funny how films like to be set in Hong Kong. This. Iron Man (2? 3?). Transformer (2? 3?). Now You See Me 2. And yet they all remain so white-centric you can literally switch the setting to any Caucasian-population-dominant city and the story would be unchanged. Milan. Paris. Toronto.
Props to the film, though: the modern references are pretty funny actually. Like Strange’s Beyonce references to Wong, and then Wong subsequently listening to Beyonce as Strange steals from the library.
I also thought it was quite clever how Strange managed to thwart Dormmamu. Not sudden dramatic power surge from being The One. No Deus Ex Machina. Just a simple manipulation of rules. That is something I don’t see much (if at all!) in Marvel, where it’s brute strength and your heart’s determination that always saves the day.
The antagonist is a bit flimsy though. Wanting eternal life. World domination. Destruction. Nothing that hasn’t been done a million times before. I want to see more morally grey antagonists where we and the protagonist sympathise and may even support them — but not the We Are Not So Different After All type (you can sympathise without being a carbon copy). I want to see the antagonists actually being good and the protagonists being on a misled path.
I think it’s called Black Panther.
Review of that coming soon!
Verdict: 3 stars. Entertaining and shiny, but poorly-researched AF.