Yes yes I know I’m three years late to the party with this one. Missed it at the cinemas, was going to watch it on Netflix at my Mum’s for ages before it was taken off, so I finally rented it at my local DVD place. In a nutshell, I thought it was the strongest Marvel movie I’ve seen by a long margin and the first one I could say I loved since the first Iron Man. If you take out all the superheroing stuff, at the heart it’s a gripping political thriller/1970s-esque spy movie tackling themes of national security vs personal freedom, a debate which is rather timely in the world we live in now.
By and large, Marvel superhero movies always feel like eating candy floss to me: they’re fun and high on in-the-moment sugar hit, but they melt away from memory just as quickly and there’s really not much substance there, even in terms of big blockbuster substance. Doctor Strange is pretty much more candy floss, but at least it’s spiked with some weird and trippy substances, and the rich, inventive, mind-bending visuals do a lot to lift a standard cookie-cutter plot.
I’m a bit over superhero movies to be honest but I was in a mood for a big blockbuster and they don’t come any bigger than this. Unlike most people it seems I wasn’t a fan of the original Avengers, which, in hindsight, had a lot to do with hype and expectations. It got great reviews, it was written/directed by Joss Whedon, so I was all pumped up to see it expecting something special. Granted, the super team-up concept was special and something we’ve never seen before, but otherwise I thought it was deeply average in all respects and not even particularly fun, with thinly sketched characters, simplistic plot and all the warmth and soul of a business summit. Expectations really make a difference – I went to see Age of Ultron with no expectations whatsoever and ended up enjoying it a great lot more. It had many of the same problems as the first movie, but there was also a whole lot more to like about it.