Is Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness a real cinema?


‘Marvel Universe is ridden with a climate of an out-of-control carnival, driven by a sense of aimless urgency that pushes the boundaries of the imagination dangerously close to a drugged haze,’ says Subhash Jha

I sat through the very strange Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness in rapt attention, trying to make head or tail of what was unfolding in front of me. To get a better peek into the peaks of purported depth in Dr Strange’s world I had selected the 2D screening of the film instead of 3D which my friends preferred.

But I feel the 3D technique is gimmicky distracting and distancing. I wanted to penetrate Doctor Strange‘s universe without any obstacles. I have to confess, it was a losing battle. Not much of what I saw made sense to me. This, according to the Marvel-ophiles is proof that I am intellectually unequipped to enter the Marvel universe and also that I am ageing.

However, when I question the ostensible fans of the Marvel superhero genre I am amused to note they don’t have a clear or coherent understanding of what goes in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). What they do have is a confident understanding of who’s who in the MCU. Hence the average Marvel fanatic is able to punch through the impenetrable plots by simply riding with their favorite characters on a mystical journey that may or may not take them anywhere worth going.

For the non-believers and heretics like me, simply going on the wildly mystical journey with the characters blindly is not an option. I wanted to know where Dr Stephen Strange got this illimitable range of traveling alternatives, was going before hopping in. There is just no clarity on that issue.

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So, I have a theory on the fandom devoted to the queer cryptogenic kingdom of the Marvel universe: the diehard unflinching fans know the encrypted screenplays for these super-hero films are indecipherable. They don’t crack the code because there is no password. But they all fall into a collective swoon as they believe in the infallibility of these superheroes. It’s the myth of the Emperor’s clothes. Everyone knows the Emperor is naked, but they all hypnotize themselves into going bonkers over his clothes.

I am reassured to know that the great Martin Scorsese agrees with me on the hollowness of this elaborately staged super-hero spectacle that unfolds in front of our eyes as Spiderman, Thor, Captain Marvel or whoever takes center stage.

In an interview with Empire magazine, Scorsese speaking of the Marvel universe has said, “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well-made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

That’s exactly how I feel about the Marvel universe. It is ridden with a climate of an out-of-control carnival, driven by a sense of aimless urgency that pushes the boundaries of the imagination dangerously close to a drugged haze, and eventually creates a universe that has no respect for realism or the basic tenets of cinema.

You are Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness really Cinema? Stupendous actor that he is, did Benedict Cumberbatch enjoy playing Stephen Strange as much as Phil Burbank in Jane Campion’s The Power Of The Dog? It’s like hearing Mozart do a jingle. Not only Cumberbatch but so many extraordinary actors like Michael Stuhlbarg, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Patrick Stewart are wasted in a world where haziness is all.

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Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based film critic who has been writing about Bollywood for long enough to know the industry inside out. I have tweeted at @SubhashK_Jha.

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Reference-www.firstpost.com

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