Mister Doctor [Strange]

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Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby charliepanayi » Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:11 pm UTC

The latest MCU film! Out today in some places including the UK. Anticipate, discuss once seen etc.
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Re: Doctor Strange

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:02 pm UTC

Anticipate! Anticipate!

Might go see it next week; if not, then sometime fairly soon.

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Angua » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:37 pm UTC

Just saw tonight in 3D! Very creative, interesting motivation for the villain, and I really liked the end solution.

Also, his cape is my new favourite marvel thing.

Spoiler:
I liked how they foreshadowed the fact that the Ancient One was bending the rules at the beginning. The fact that the bad guys just wanted everyone to live forever was cool. It was not that surprising that Mordu snapped and turned evil at the end, though I felt so sad for the guy he started with.

The loop prison was pretty good, watching Strange die many times was hilarious.

All the scenes with the cape wanting to help were hilarious.

Thor at the end was priceless.


Much of the portrayal of medicine in this film was ridiculous. From how they dressed in the OR, to him looking at, and taking home, a set of patient notes. Oh well.

Also, the new opening marvel credit thing is pretty cool with the montage of all the previous movies.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Zohar » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:04 pm UTC

I'm kind of worried about it. First, I'm not a big Sandwich Balderdash fan in the first place. But I'm also bothered by supporting yet another movie with a white man protagonist - this time with extra whiteness thrown in in the side characters!
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby CannedCourage » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:24 am UTC

I liked it! :)

It's a Hero's Journey, so don't expect any grand surprises in terms of plot. It's very focused on Strange's arc, too. So the supporting characters are a little underserved, but hopefully a sequal will address that. The reason is probably that this film also has to do a lot of mystic worldbuilding. If you're wondering whether they handwave the magic, they do not.

I think the value of the film is in the execution. The story telling, rather than the story being told. It's very visually inventive, but there's also a lot of wit and warmth to the script. There's a lot of action, but they find space to be unique within the MCU in that regard.

I also like that Strange's relationship with Christine wasn't a typical romantic sub-plot, though again she ultimately serves his arc.

You may also be pleased that the film has (almost) zero links to the larger MCU, so it can be enjoyed standalone.

About Strange's character:

Spoiler:
It's very interesting that the Ancient One values Strange for his moral flexibility. Something of an anti-heroic trait. I'm not familiar with Strange from the comics, so I don't know if that's an accurate portrayal?

I also thought it was interesting that the general theme of the film was "Does the end justify the means?" and that it came down on the side of "Yes, sometimes", which goes hand in hand with that willingness to cross lines others won't that Strange and the Ancient One share.

On top of all that, he seems to be pacifistic in general, so there's not a lot of violence AND he's only been training for a year or something?. I appreaciated that the climax wasn't some big battle, but Strange traps and manipulates Dormammu. It wouldn't have made sense for Strange to be a physical threat to Kaecillius or Dormammu.


About Post Credits Scene 1:

Spoiler:
THOR!

Also, the dialogue hints that Loki has been discovered and that he and Thor are back on Earth at some point, looking for Odin. I wonder where Banner is, or whether this is when they meet him, when they are on Earth.

I wonder whether Strange will merely cameo or have a larger role in the film.

Also, it seems like there has been a time-skip because Strange talks about maintaining a list of threats. It seems like some time has passed and he's settled in to his role as master of the New York sanctum.

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:08 pm UTC

I haven't seen this, but I plan to. I had been kind of hoping they were going with the idea that magic involves alternate realities -- manipulating them and their relationship with our reality (blending them together, or hopping from one reality to another) -- but it sounds like they went into a different direction with it. Which is fine; I'm curious to see how they're going to explain the lack of visibly reproducible magic through the MCU.

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Angua » Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:22 pm UTC

Um, I'm pretty sure that is the route they go down.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:25 pm UTC

Oh! In that case, nevermind! I might have misunderstood some of the initial reactions/summaries I was reading elsewhere, then.

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby charliepanayi » Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:25 pm UTC

What I liked:
- The mind-bending trippy stuff.
- Some good laughs, especially the
Spoiler:
Beyonce bit
.
- Benedict Cumberbatch (though he can play cocky arsehole in his sleep by now)
- Tilda Swinton (but then she's always great)
- Benedict Wong (easily the best thing in the film, wish there'd been more of him)
- The climax was a bit different to the norm, giving us a twisted variation on
Spoiler:
Groundhog Day

- The mid-credits bit.
Spoiler:
Thor and the refilling mug!


What I didn't like:
- Being an origin story it takes a while to get going, and we have to deal with Emo Strange with his emo beard for a while. It only really kicks in when he meets The Ancient One.
- Mads Mikkelsen's villain is pretty dull. Marvel still have an issue with lack of interesting villains.
- Chiwetel Ejiofor is saddled with delivering a lot of exposition and little beyond that. Of course being Chiwetel Ejiofor I should have known
Spoiler:
his character wouldn't stay a good guy

- Rachel McAdams is stuck in a nothing role.
- Michael Stuhlbarg is stuck in an even more nothing role. Why cast one of Hollywood's best character actors if you're going to give him just one scene and a vending machine gag?
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Angua » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:19 pm UTC

So, I just saw some comments on a Dr Strange article talking about when it's supposed to be taking place?

I thought the reference you get thrown close to the beginning was in reference to:
Spoiler:
Warmachine's injury in Civil War


but some people are saying that it was something from
Spoiler:
Iron Man 2?

and that all his training takes place over several years. I didn't think it gave that impression at all, seemed to me about a few months, 1 year tops.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby CannedCourage » Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:49 am UTC

Angua wrote:So, I just saw some comments on a Dr Strange article talking about when it's supposed to be taking place?

I thought the reference you get thrown close to the beginning was in reference to:
Spoiler:
Warmachine's injury in Civil War


but some people are saying that it was something from
Spoiler:
Iron Man 2?

and that all his training takes place over several years. I didn't think it gave that impression at all, seemed to me about a few months, 1 year tops.


I believe it IS the second reference, but...

You can see when the camera pans over his many awards that at least some of them are from 2016.

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Diadem » Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:01 pm UTC

That reference being to Iron Man 2 would be really weird though. That's a rather obscure and minor event in one of the least known Marvel movies. I had completely forgotten about it until it was brought up here, and I actually rewatched Iron Man 2 a month or so ago. Even if they had wanted to reference Iron Man 2, why would they do it in such a way that everybody would think "Civil War". Because it seems very unlikely that the writers would just completely overlook that their intended Iron Man 2 reference would also work for Civil War.

Imho this movie is clearly set in 2016. There's the awards in Strange's office being from 2016, as pointed about in the post above mine. I suppose that could be a oversight by the props master, but it seems unlikely. ("when is this movie set" seems to me like a standard question any props master would ask themselves). There's also an scene where they have an aerial shot of New York, and it shows the Avenger's building. I don't think the building was around until after the first Avengers movie. Finally the mid-credit scene is clearly set in the future, which I admit is circumstantial evidence, but still. The movie fits logically in the Marvel timeline if it's set in 2016.


Apparently Marvel's official response to the question "Why doesn't Doctor Strange intervene in the events in other MCU movies" is that he is busy looking for mystical threats, and doesn't concern himself with physical ones. That seems like a weak answer to me. It explains why he doesn't hunt bank robbers, or intervenes in more local stuff like what's shown in Iron Man or Winter Soldier. But when an alien invasion or rogue AI is attempting to wipe out humanity, and nearly succeeding, surely that should concern Doctor Strange. Protecting earth from mystical threats does you no good if it's already been wiped out by a physical one.

My own head cannon is that The Ancient One, Doctor Strange, and the rest of their order, don't intervene simply because they are not aware of it until after the fact. Sure they have wifi, they are not savages, but that doesn't mean they are watching the news 24/7. They are fairly isolated, and not actively looking for those kind of threats. Most of the events in both Avengers I and II are hidden from the public. It's only the final battles that would have been on the news. It's entirely plausible that no one in Kamar-Taj was looking at the news in the 20 or 30 minutes that those battles took.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby CannedCourage » Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:54 am UTC

I think the key word is "experimental".

The War Machine armour isn't experimental, and regardless of the circumstances you'd be hard pressed to call what happened to Rhodey an "accident".

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:33 pm UTC

CannedCourage wrote:About Post Credits Scene 1:

Spoiler:
THOR!

Also, the dialogue hints that Loki has been discovered and that he and Thor are back on Earth at some point, looking for Odin. I wonder where Banner is, or whether this is when they meet him, when they are on Earth.

I wonder whether Strange will merely cameo or have a larger role in the film.

Also, it seems like there has been a time-skip because Strange talks about maintaining a list of threats. It seems like some time has passed and he's settled in to his role as master of the New York sanctum.


Strange's list could also be part of his general background study - with a photographic memory, he probably just needs to spend a few hours thinking over what he already knows to put together a reasonably solid first draft of the list. I do agree that it sounds like he's accepted his role by that point.

CannedCourage wrote:I think the key word is "experimental".

The War Machine armour isn't experimental, and regardless of the circumstances you'd be hard pressed to call what happened to Rhodey an "accident".


The Winter Soldier name-drop for Stephen Strange suggests that at that point, either he's returned to NY, or he hasn't yet had his accident.

There are several timeskips during the movie - convalescence as well as training...

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby maybeagnostic » Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:38 am UTC

I saw the movie last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. It looked gorgeous, the action sequences were very inventive and the humor was on point. It will likely end up among my personal top 3 MCU movies along with Winter Soldier and Guardians.

The only bit that really bothers me about it was...
Spoiler:
...the rushed training/growing sequence. It usually goes "character sucks, character gets first success, character continues improving through trial and error, character achieves a new level of understanding and skill" except Strange skipped straight from "first success" (teleporting back) to being on par with the masters. This is largely mitigated by how he wasn't good enough to beat Kaecilius and had to resort to a trick to win.

On that note, I actually loved how he achieved victory. The time trick was something that utterly baffled Dormammu but we saw Kaecilius effortlessly break a similar spell just moments before- Dormammu just doesn't understand time so couldn't break the time loop spell. Basically it wasn't just a magical gimmick (although it definitely was that in part), it was a cleverly used one.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby SecondTalon » Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:12 pm UTC

CannedCourage wrote:I think the key word is "experimental".

The War Machine armour isn't experimental, and regardless of the circumstances you'd be hard pressed to call what happened to Rhodey an "accident".

Haven't seen Strange yet.

Read a thing debunking that comment being about Rhodes, thought.

The logic used for it not being Warmachine - Strange is a glory hound - why the everliving fuck would he turn down the chance to work on a decorated Air Force officer who is BFFs with Stark and a goddamn Avenger to boot? And why wouldn't the person on the phone describe the patient by name?
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby maybeagnostic » Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:00 pm UTC

Without spoiling anything significant from the movie, the scene involves Strange being offered a series of possible patients in search of a challenging but possible case (i.e. one that only he can pull off but he is confident can be pulled off). He turns that one down because it is too risky and he wants to keep his perfect record.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Nov 13, 2016 1:40 am UTC

Watching the movie, my thought at the time was Rhodes, but on further reflection, I'm inclined to go with the un-named victim in Iron Man 2 who was wearing one of the unsuccessful attempts to duplicate the Iron Man armour in footage shown at Tony's congress hearing.

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Zohar » Sun Nov 13, 2016 3:45 am UTC

Watched it tonight. Liked it quite a bit, for reasons mostly mentioned, and with the criticisms mostly mentioned.

In the climax scene I was thinking
Spoiler:
there goes Marvel, destroying yet another city outside the US.
I was pleasantly surprised.

And one of my favorite parts was
Spoiler:
The magic carpet from Aladdin making a comeback.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Jorpho » Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:34 am UTC

Am I the only one who didn't quite get how the "mirror universe" was supposed to work? Bit slipshod, that. (It made me think of the "Gloom" in Night Watch/Day Watch, which did it rather better – or maybe I'm only thinking that because of the books.)

Also, "Heaven Sent" from the last season of Doctor Who has totally spoiled me for self-immolating time loops.

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Liri » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:15 am UTC

I dug the visual effects. It verged on being, "look what we can do now!" but it was pretty swell, regardless.

Bin-of-sticks Cabbagepatch's accent was a little strong and distracted me for the first several minutes.

Like charlie said, you knew what to expect with Chiwetel Ejiofor - I was waiting for it the whole movie. His is pretty much the same character as in
Spoiler:
Serenity
.

The asymmetric cape bugged the shit out of me.


More seriously, what's better/worse? Putting an Asian actor in a role that was hugely stereotypical in the comics or switching it over to a white actor? One can still call it whitewashing, but sacrificing one actor/character of color to avoid the near certainty of racial stereotypes seems the lesser of two evils.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby maybeagnostic » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:01 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:Am I the only one who didn't quite get how the "mirror universe" was supposed to work?
Seemed pretty straightforward to me. It was just asymmetrical- what happens in the "real world" affects the mirror universe but not vice versa so they can wreck the "mirror universe' all they want without fear of consequences. I think the only other place I've encountered the same idea is in DnD with the material and astral planes (although astral projection may have been something different in this movie).

Liri wrote:More seriously, what's better/worse? Putting an Asian actor in a role that was hugely stereotypical in the comics or switching it over to a white actor? One can still call it whitewashing, but sacrificing one actor/character of color to avoid the near certainty of racial stereotypes seems the lesser of two evils.
I don't understand this controversy at all. Without having read the comics I gather the character was just a (boring?) racial stereotype so it created a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for the makers. I doubt it factored much into the final decision since most people wouldn't have cared either way but maybe I am underestimating how obsessed US audiences are with race.

For what its worth, I think Tilda Swindon was a good choice and did a great job. They managed to make her a little surreal with just a touch of uncanny valley which made her appear not quite human anymore- perfect for the character.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Liri » Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:36 pm UTC

Yeah, Tilda Swinton was perfect for the roll in my opinion. She very much embodies "ageless".
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Zohar » Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:58 pm UTC

I mean, Tilda Swinton is always fantastic. But have you considered perhaps someone could just write a non-stereotypical Asian character?
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Liri » Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:05 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:I mean, Tilda Swinton is always fantastic. But have you considered perhaps someone could just write a non-stereotypical Asian character?

I was just parroting what I read on the wiki article, honestly.

one of the writers wrote:[Cargill] explained that adapting the character as the comics portrayed him would be realizing the major Asian Fu Manchu stereotype, and would involve the film with the Tibetan sovereignty debate, but not giving one of few significant Asian roles to an Asian actor would also understandably be received negatively. Derrickson wanted to change the character to an Asian woman, but felt that an older Asian woman would invoke the Dragon Lady stereotype, while a younger Asian woman would be perceived as exploiting Asian fetish and "a fanboy's dream girl".
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:07 pm UTC

Yeah, the Ancient One in the original comic might have aspired to be a stereotype if he had a few more panels to develop in rather than only being there to do some off-panel training of Stephen Strange and then be betrayed and murdered by one of his most trusted disciples...

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Zohar » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:53 pm UTC

Those are really bullshit excuses. His excuse is "I can't imagine being able to show a character so it's not seen as a sex symbol or a racial stereotype"? That really shows a lack of imagination on behalf of the director. Again, just make a non-bullshit Asian character. Take Ming Na Wen or Michelle Yeoh if you're so in love with the idea of an Asian woman who's not a teenage sex fantasy.

Like, they're basically saying "We can't make a non-stereotypical Asian character, so we're not going to have an Asian character! No Asian characters ever!"
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby charliepanayi » Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:23 pm UTC

Marvel knew they could get away with it anyway, $634 million box office and counting so far.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:04 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Those are really bullshit excuses. His excuse is "I can't imagine being able to show a character so it's not seen as a sex symbol or a racial stereotype"? That really shows a lack of imagination on behalf of the director. Again, just make a non-bullshit Asian character. Take Ming Na Wen or Michelle Yeoh if you're so in love with the idea of an Asian woman who's not a teenage sex fantasy.

Like, they're basically saying "We can't make a non-stereotypical Asian character, so we're not going to have an Asian character! No Asian characters ever!"


I think you just illustrated part of the problem. The Ancient One isn't just an Asian character - he's a Tibetan character. Casting a Chinese actor as a Tibetan character wouldn't be much better than, say, casting a Mexican actor as Abraham Lincoln...

In an ideal world, there'd be a brilliant Tibetan actor (who could be cast without causing friction with China) who could play the role perfectly; in this world, it's hard to imagine someone doing better than Tilda Swinton.

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby maybeagnostic » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:07 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:In an ideal world, there'd be a brilliant Tibetan actor (who could be cast without causing friction with China) who could play the role perfectly; in this world, it's hard to imagine someone doing better than Tilda Swinton.
I don't see what would be better about that unless this hypothetical actor actually did a better job than Tilda Swinton.

Zohar wrote:Like, they're basically saying "We can't make a non-stereotypical Asian character, so we're not going to have an Asian character! No Asian characters ever!"
That's not how I am reading that quote. They are saying that no matter what they do, some people on the internet are going to complain about it. "You made the character not Asian," "You made the character an Asian stereotype and now all the main characters are men!" "You made the character an Asian woman but sexualized her!" etc. etc. It's not like the original character was a thoughtful and interesting representation of Tibetan culture. Mordo is supposed to be Romanian but no one is upset they gave the role to a black Brit.
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T: Emerrrgency induction port.

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:36 am UTC

maybeagnostic wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:In an ideal world, there'd be a brilliant Tibetan actor (who could be cast without causing friction with China) who could play the role perfectly; in this world, it's hard to imagine someone doing better than Tilda Swinton.
I don't see what would be better about that unless this hypothetical actor actually did a better job than Tilda Swinton.


Doing a similarly good job, while being a match for the source material, would be enough to be better casting.

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Zohar » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:07 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:I think you just illustrated part of the problem. The Ancient One isn't just an Asian character - he's a Tibetan character. Casting a Chinese actor as a Tibetan character wouldn't be much better than, say, casting a Mexican actor as Abraham Lincoln...
Perhaps, but still much better than casting a white actor for the role.

maybeagnostic wrote:Mordo is supposed to be Romanian but no one is upset they gave the role to a black Brit.

Not the same thing. For one thing, Romanians are white - we have no shortage of white characters, making a white character black isn't a loss for white representation in culture. For another, they replaced the character with someone who's black, another group that's lacking in representation. Taking a role from one of the least represented groups in film and media in general and replacing it with an actress from the most over-represented group in film and media is the issue.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:57 am UTC

The "damned if you do, damned if you don't" argument is nonsense here; they included Wong -- who, in the comics, is a martial artist and Strange's Asian servant. What did they do here? Cast an Asian person for the role and made him his own character (who doesn't take orders from Strange, and doesn't karate-chop people).

Also, does anyone else think ye olde trope of "White man visits foreign place, learns to do foreign stuff better than all the people who live there" is a bit played out at this point? I feel like Dr. Strange would have worked better as a guy born in the East who went to the West to practice medicine, experienced a crisis, then reconnected with his homeland.

Well, at least it's not like Marvel's going to keep telling this same story of white people outdoing non-white people at non-white things over and over again.

(Completely unrelated: When does Iron Fist come out?)

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Diadem » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:42 am UTC

Zohar wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:I think you just illustrated part of the problem. The Ancient One isn't just an Asian character - he's a Tibetan character. Casting a Chinese actor as a Tibetan character wouldn't be much better than, say, casting a Mexican actor as Abraham Lincoln...
Perhaps, but still much better than casting a white actor for the role.

Is it? Because I think rmsgrey is wrong, when they compare it with casting a Mexican actor as Abraham Lincoln. China has been occupying Tibet for decades now, and is actively trying to eradicate its culture. Casting a Chinese actor to play a Tibetan character sounds, to me, more similar to casting a white actor to play Martin Luther King. I admit I haven't actually asked any Tibetans how they'd feel about it, so maybe they'd be okay with it, but I think it's definitely dangerous to just assume that.

In general, if you absolutely must recast a minority character, recasting them as a different minority is better than recasting them as white. But beyond that it's dangerous to assume that just because the original character was Asian, they can be recast at will as any other Asian. Asians are not a fungible commodity.

Zohar wrote:
maybeagnostic wrote:Mordo is supposed to be Romanian but no one is upset they gave the role to a black Brit.

Not the same thing. For one thing, Romanians are white - we have no shortage of white characters, making a white character black isn't a loss for white representation in culture.

White people are also not a fungible commodity. You think Romanians don't like being represented? Or are you under the illusion that Eastern Europeans are not an often disenfranchised minority?

Edit:
Marvel writer C. Robert Cargill puts it somewhat more colorfully (emphasis mine):
The Ancient One was a racist stereotype who comes from a region of the world that is in a very weird political place. He originates from Tibet. So if you acknowledge that Tibet is a place and that he’s Tibetan, you risk alienating one billion people who think that that’s bullshit and risk the Chinese government going, ‘Hey, you know one of the biggest film-watching countries in the world? We’re not going to show your movie because you decided to get political.’ If we decide to go the other way and cater to China in particular and have him be in Tibet… If you think it’s a good idea to cast a Chinese actress as a Tibetan character, you are out of your damn fool mind and have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about.


Also:
The Great Hippo wrote:Also, does anyone else think ye olde trope of "White man visits foreign place, learns to do foreign stuff better than all the people who live there" is a bit played out at this point?

Apparently that was one of the reasons Marvel decided to make the Ancient One white. By making both mentor and student white, they avoid this trope. Not saying I agree with this reasoning, just reporting what Marvel says.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:52 am UTC

Diadem wrote:Casting a Chinese actor to play a Tibetan character sounds, to me, more similar to casting a white actor to play Martin Luther King.
...the decision to cast a fictitious Asian sorcerer as white is comparable to a decision to cast a real, actual African American civil rights leader as white? o.O

Dude, I'm with you on the nonsense behind this casting decision (and it probably had everything to do with placating the Chinese government for the sake of that market), but let's take it down a notch.

EDIT: Re: making both mentor and teacher white -- I was not aware of that line of reasoning! If that's the case, yeah wow that's dumb.

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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Diadem » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:05 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Diadem wrote:Casting a Chinese actor to play a Tibetan character sounds, to me, more similar to casting a white actor to play Martin Luther King.
...the decision to cast a fictitious Asian sorcerer as white is comparable to a decision to cast a real, actual African American civil rights leader as white? o.O

Dude, I'm with you on the nonsense behind this casting decision (and it probably had everything to do with placating the Chinese government for the sake of that market), but let's take it down a notch.

Ok, fair enough, comparing fictitious characters to real people was a bad comparison. I was building on the comparison with Lincoln, but it was a bad example. The point however that recasting a Tibetan character as Chinese is very problematic, stands. Maybe in this case Tibetans wouldn't actually have cared, since he's not exactly a Tibetan character, he's a stereotype of a Tibetan character created by whites. Still, that's a political and social minefield I wouldn't want to touch with a 10-foot pole. I can't fault Marvel for not wanting to cast a Chinese actor. Nor can I fault them for not wanting to cast a Tibetan actor, considering that would have cost them the entire Chinese market. A bit cowardly, perhaps, but understandable.

Maybe they should have just set the whole thing in Japan and cast George Takei. I Read a comment from him about the casting choices for this movie, while making my previous post. And I realized he'd have made a great Ancient One. But I just had an even better idea. Keep Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, and set the whole thing in some nice ancient European village or monastery. Then cast an Asian actor as Doctor Strange. That would nicely avoid problematic stereotypes, political censorship from China and tropes about white men outnativeing the natives. Difficult to match the sexy big name appeal of Benedict Cumberbatch, but hmm, maybe Jason Momoa? Although Hawaii isn't really Asia I guess. I admit I can't really think of any major Asian stars who are young enough for such a role. Which I guess illustrates the dearth of major Asian movie stars.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Zohar » Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:10 pm UTC

Basically the quote from the writer illustrates the choice was a marketing-dependent one. Which we see a lot in movies, and we still get to criticize them for it. At the end of the day, no matter how you spin it, there's one less Asian actor in a prominent role because of this, and that's too bad, and it's the sort of mentality that leads to not being able to name a prominent Asian male actor (which I don't fault you with, Diadem - I am also having a hard time doing that other than Jet Li and Jackie Chan).

Diadem wrote:White people are also not a fungible commodity. You think Romanians don't like being represented? Or are you under the illusion that Eastern Europeans are not an often disenfranchised minority?

No, not all white people are the same. But again, it's not the same situation - replacing one minority with another and replacing one minority with white. But also, the differentiation between a Romanian person and an "American" would be pretty much down to accent. I mean, I'm half Romanian and just consider myself "Israeli". The differentiation between different nationalities of the same race, and how different nationalities see their representation in movies, is a much more complicated issue. Personally I consider myself white, and I don't see myself underrepresented as a white person (as a homosexual, an immigrant, and a Jew - yeah, but those are not racial issues), but it doesn't mean other people don't feel differently.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby maybeagnostic » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:32 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
maybeagnostic wrote:Mordo is supposed to be Romanian but no one is upset they gave the role to a black Brit.

Not the same thing. For one thing, Romanians are white - we have no shortage of white characters, making a white character black isn't a loss for white representation in culture. For another, they replaced the character with someone who's black, another group that's lacking in representation. Taking a role from one of the least represented groups in film and media in general and replacing it with an actress from the most over-represented group in film and media is the issue.
This is so blatantly racist, I am not even sure how to respond. You are literally saying skin color is way more important than history, language, culture and nationality. None of the people you are so liberally lumping into your American-centric categories identify primarily as "white" or "Asian" or whatever. I think you are also vastly overestimating how "underrepresented" black and Asian Americans are in supporting roles which is what the Ancient One is, after all.

The Great Hippo wrote:Also, does anyone else think ye olde trope of "White man visits foreign place, learns to do foreign stuff better than all the people who live there" is a bit played out at this point? I feel like Dr. Strange would have worked better as a guy born in the East who went to the West to practice medicine, experienced a crisis, then reconnected with his homeland.
I think it is a pretty tired trope which is why I am happy they specifically avoided doing than by establishing sorcerers come from all over the world and from all walks of life.

You do bring up a good point though. If one of the primary characters has to be Asian American (which is what everyone complaining about the recasting is really complaining about in the end), why not have it be Dr Strange? It is a bit of a stereotype but not a negative one and well grounded in reality.

Zohar wrote:No, not all white people are the same. But again, it's not the same situation - replacing one minority with another and replacing one minority with white. But also, the differentiation between a Romanian person and an "American" would be pretty much down to accent.
Three times as many people live in Asia as do in Europe, North America and Australia combined. The majority of the world's population (60.3%) is Asian. What definition of minority are you going with here- demographics of Californian actors?

I also take serious offense at your claim that "Person from country X is just an American with an accent." There is a much bigger difference* between a person born and raised in Romania and the average American than there is between the average white and Asian or black American.

*Again language, culture, life experience, economic advantages and so on.

P.S.
The Great Hippo wrote:Well, at least it's not like Marvel's going to keep telling this same story of white people outdoing non-white people at non-white things over and over again.
This one confuses me a little. Mordo was an equal of Strange, Kaecilius was white and Dormammu was some extraplanar creature. Which white people outdid non-white people and what "non-white things" did they outdo them at?
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby Zohar » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:43 pm UTC

Of course there are differences, and I apologize for giving the impression that I think language is the only differentiating aspect. In this case I'm talking mostly about race, and that's why I concentrate on it. I would be happy to have more variety in actors in TV and movies, and that would include characters from all around the world and various cultures. But when I look at, say, Petra and her mother Magda in Jane the Virgin, or at Red in Orange is the New Black, they're still white characters, even if they are also immigrant characters. It's not the only important thing in terms of representation - for example gender and sexual orientation representation is important as well. But I'm talking about race here, and the choice of the creators to change, primarily, the character's race.

Regarding my definition of minority - this is a movie made in the US, for primarily US audiences. Roughly 6% of the US population is Asian, and a lot less than 6% of US movies star Asians in leading roles, and that's my concern here. The same is true for pretty much any group you choose to look at except US-born white heterosexual cisgender men, who are vastly over-represented. Yes there are more Asians in the world, but I'm talking about representation of Asians in US culture.
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Re: Mister Doctor [Strange]

Postby maybeagnostic » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:12 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Of course there are differences, and I apologize for giving the impression that I think language is the only differentiating aspect. In this case I'm talking mostly about race, and that's why I concentrate on it. I would be happy to have more variety in actors in TV and movies, and that would include characters from all around the world and various cultures. But when I look at, say, Petra and her mother Magda in Jane the Virgin, or at Red in Orange is the New Black, they're still white characters, even if they are also immigrant characters. It's not the only important thing in terms of representation - for example gender and sexual orientation representation is important as well. But I'm talking about race here, and the choice of the creators to change, primarily, the character's race.
And I would be sympathetic with this sentiment if the Ancient One from the comics was a character worth keeping and not just a racist caricature from a previous era. Since he was, however, the latter some change was required and I like the direction they went because Tilda Swinton did a really good job IMO. Just casting any actor of SE Asian heritage wouldn't be an automatic improvement for the quality of the film even if we ignore the major issue of treating a whole bunch of distinct millenia-old cultures as interchangeable.

Zohar wrote:Regarding my definition of minority - this is a movie made in the US, for primarily US audiences.
I am pretty sure this is false. The movie made 66% of its money abroad with its income in Asia rivaling its income in the US and it hasn't even been released in Japan yet. I think this is pretty standard for Marvel movies and many blockbusters in general- they aren't being made primarily for the US any more.
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