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Underdeveloped Art in Developing Countries

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In developing countries, being an artist is no easy job. Pretty much everyone struggles until there's a miraculous exposure, or they move to another country with a better appreciation for artists after which the country of origin suddenly loves them and feel proud over it(although I'd feel guilt rather, that we couldn't give the artist a break in our own country and they had to go to another for us to realize they were worth something).

But we often over look two things, which are the lack of artistic creativity as well as people forcing artists to hold back on it. Why? One reason. Patriotism. A lot of people with the capability of creating things unfortunately hold themselves back by basing their characters to be in certain countries or followers of certain beliefs and limit their options with how far they can go with that story and idea. And if the artists themselves don't want to do that, people often try to force them into it, saying they should use their project to portray their country or religion in a better light for the world through their stories.

Now don't get me wrong, I do believe it's cool to do that. But not everything can happen everywhere, certain stories fit certain types of characters and settings better. If you try to force them to specifics, it kills the point of both. You're showing the place to be something it isn't, as well as having completely unrealistic characters for someone of that origin. It only ruins your project as a whole and does not end up fulfilling either of the intentions. However, if you actually have something that fits the atmosphere, has characters that actually act the part and can make it all work, then that is exactly what you should do, and some do it as well of course. But unfortunately that number is smaller, and most of the times people just sacrifice their creative freedom by limiting it themselves, whether by themselves or unfair pressure.

A much better way, however, that we tend to ignore which actually portrays your nation in a better light is by appreciating the artists when they're trying to make something. Support their work, treat them like you would when they would become famous in another country. As art grows, the other countries will undoubtedly start to notice and actually see the fact it's coming out of your country. That is something that will legitimately make them see everything in a better light, rather than poorly constructed stories about a generic superhero with no development simply being from your country. Fictional adaptions are going to be taken as just that; fictional. If you actually make your country able in terms of production, that is something that actually improves it's scene, something that makes people notice it and realize it's not all bad, rather has unrelenting potential.

So instead of holding artists back(and yourself), let them and encourage them to make good things. Appreciate them, support them, and spread them. It is the only way you can shed some positive light on your countries and beliefs artistically, not through forcing it into fiction when it does not fit in but rather producing quality content.
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Published On Entertainment Ghost At Monday, June 26, 2017

Revisiting The Max Payne Trilogy; An Overview

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Max Payne is one of the most popular franchises in the video game industry. It is loved for its gritty neo-noir setting and explosive action that's like straight out of a John Woo action flick, and featuring a great storyline, while being the game that popularized bullet-time into video games and set a new bar for third-person shooters.

If you’re guilty of not having played the Max Payne franchise for all those years, then this should get you convinced to give it a go.

Starting out with the original, Max Payne is a third-person shooter action video game that was developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Gathering of Developers in 2001 for Microsoft Windows(PC). Later it was ported to the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, as well as a separately developed version for the Gameboy Advance, which were published by Rockstar Games. There was also a Mac OS port in the next year and years later, found its way to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as well as Android and iOS.






Max Payne definitely set its own bar of standard when it came out and redefined action third-person shooter games, mainly with its inclusion of and popularizing the bullet-time mechanic, which basically lets you play all those cool action flicks with slow-motion shoot-outs, while featuring a good amount of weapons that are all useful and work out very well, and will have you strategizing your way through the levels and using the weapon most suitable for the situation. The gameplay is very fluid and fun, consisting of endless shooting. There are no melee attacks, the only non-firearm weapon in the game would be a bat. There is a good variety of weapons in the game, ranging from mild to heavy, short range to long range, grenades and finally, the sniper. All guns have proper sounds and have a good use, no weapon is useless(besides the bat, you'll only be using it when you're forced to through story).

To make things even cooler, throughout the game you can collect pain killers, which you use to replenish some of your lost health.






The game has a fair length, spawning 10 hours on an average play for a usual gamer, and lacks replay value besides harder difficulties which are unlocked as you beat it over and over. Thankfully, you will not be forced to play through a boringly easy mode to unlock the harder ones, as the easiest mode is rather challenging for its name anyways. The hardest difficulty would have you don a personification of Sam Lake’s constipated grin that stays on Max Payne’s model in the game even if he’s burning to death. Beating the game on different difficulties also unlocks slightly different modes to replay the game, such as ‘New York Minute’, which forces you to complete each chapter in a limited time, and ‘The Last Challenge’, in which you have a fight with perpetual bullet time against a certain kind of enemy from the game.

The story is one of the best stories you'll find in a third-person shooter action game of its kind, which is thrilling, containing some suspense and allowing the game to be long enough to give you a satisfactory experience. While it appears cliche at first, the way it plays out and its characters are distinctive, and provide one hell of a ride.





The game starts with a story that is nothing new for a typical revenge flick, starting in New York City, 1998, with a detective coming home to find his loving wife and baby murdered, and thus embarking on a revenge in the worst blizzard of New York. What makes it special is the way it is presented, and its characters that are rather unique and distinctive in an otherwise cliche revenge story. The story is not that cliche anyway, as it starts off as one but eventually expands to a conspiracy and larger picture, not being limited to crime dons and the mafia, but also having high profile characters such as governmental and corporate individuals. Even the generic characters such as the mafia, are portrayed a bit differently than the usual and have fun personalities to follow, and the game has a lot of humor here and there, featuring Max Payne as a very sarcastic individual himself, while other characters can be funny as well, and even regular henchmen are given a bit of personality by having them talk to each other at certain points of the game.

Instead of long cut-scenes explaining the story, Max Payne has graphic novel panels with sound effects, music and good voice acting to explain and progress the story, with the characters played by real people, and Max Payne played by the writer Sam Lake himself. The casual in-game cut-scenes remain for shorter scenes. On the other hand, story is narrated by the voice of James G. McCaffrey as Max Payne, as Max narrates the story whether it's a graphic novel, a cut-scene or within gameplay.



Max Payne 1 Where it all began scene



If all that did not convince you to give it a go, the game has a few other elements to make itself stand out amongst the other countless action games, such as a special ‘nightmare’ sequence which plays out a bit differently than the normal game, and taking a little break from all the killing in the form of televisions throughout the game in which you can watch fictional TV shows such as 'Address Unknown' and 'Lords and Ladies', which are funny short shows that, although have no animation, have changing pictures much like the game's own cutscenes.

While the soundtrack is nothing groundbreaking, it fits in very well with the game and does a nice job of keeping you into the atmosphere, featuring one of the best video game themes. The voice acting is pretty decent in itself, and you’ll definitely love James G. McCaffrey’s narration as Max Payne.





In a final verdict, Max Payne is a 9 out of 10.


It is an excellent action third-person shooter that features stylish and fun gameplay that can be challenging, as well as an interesting way of progressing story through the graphic novels, with a good story and gritty design, while also keeping you giggling throughout the whole ride with its humor and sarcastic nature. The game's overall length is around 10-12 hours, which may seem short from some perspectives, but given the fact that the average games of such type are roughly 6-8 hours long, this is good enough. And while it lacks multiplayer or replayability in any form, the unlockable difficulty levels are a good way to enjoy the adventure all over again, but harder and more challenging the next time. The game is out on so many platforms by now, you can’t even make an excuse that you lack a device to play it on, so I hope you stopped reading this halfway through and went to the closest physical or online store to get the game.






After being done with the first game, you’ll instantly look for more. Lucky for you, Max Payne 2 lives up to the standard set by the first game, and features an even improved gameplay experience, alongside other aspects of the game.

Max Payne 2 was developed by Remedy Entertainment and published Rockstar Games in 2003 for Microsoft Windows(PC), PlayStation 2 and the Xbox platforms.

The game picks up where the first one left off, and not just in terms of story and setting but in gameplay as well. Taking everything from the first game, and improving on it, Max Payne 2 proves to be an experience even more solid than the previous title. The gameplay is now more fluid, and allows you to use bullet time without having to necessarily lunge around the place, while also still keeping that. The game is still difficult, and will have you strategize your load-out and methods to get through the area, although the Easy of this one is more forgiving than the first, while the other difficulties fill in for the hardened gamers. Among the new improvements, Max can now carry an extra weapon for instant use rather than having to select it before, such as grenades, a melee attack and you will also be playing as Mona for a segment in the game, which was a fun addition. The other things that made the first game unique also make a return, such as taking breaks from the usual gameplay and including a nightmare sequence, a gripping plot altogether with interesting characters, and having fictional TV shows for you to watch throughout the levels.



Revisiting Max Payne 2


Max Payne this time is played by Timothy Gibbs, while James G. McCaffrey continues to be the voice of Max Payne. And speaking of changes in the face, Max Payne now has multiple facial expressions(constipation does wear off)!

Unlike the first game which had a pretty decent length for an action game, a bad aspect of Max Payne 2 is that it’s shorter, spawning only 6 hours of gameplay. The first difficulty adapts to the player, if they are good it will remain fairly difficult, but if they keep dying, the enemy AI becomes weaker and more pain killers can be found. The game lacks replayablity, and the closest thing like the first game, is extra difficulties and modes. After beating the game, ‘New York Minute’ and ‘Dead Man Walking’ are unlocked. The first one is the game with a timer, where you are given score based on how quickly you finish it, and the second one is kind of a survival arena with five scenarios, Max must fight endlessly spawning enemies until he dies. But something that the first game lacked; finishing Max Payne 2 on the hardest difficulty will unlock an alternate ending to the game.





Like the first game the story is one of the best aspects of Max Payne 2. It picks up two years after the first game, and Max Payne is again a detective in the NYPD. While investigating murders by a group of hitmen, he eventually runs into Mona Sax who was presumed dead after the first game. Max Payne and Mona eventually have to join forces to figure out a bigger conspiracy which is full of betrayal and deaths. The story this time is less cliché than the first one, and is basically a noir-love story, in a way. The main characters mostly return from the first game, while some new ones join the cast, and while the game continues to be grim, it also incorporates humor at the right moments to keep the essence of Max Payne intact.






The game still uses graphic novel panels with sound effects to progress the story instead 
of cut-scenes, and the voice acting remains just as decent. The sound of the game, like the first game, is good and fits the atmosphere well, but nothing special besides the main theme, which is great. The sound effects are also pretty well-made, and every gun has proper sounds and enemies have more dialogue between themselves.


In a final verdict, Max Payne 2 is an 8.5 out of 10.

Max Payne 2 is an amazing action game that keeps up the stylishly fun gameplay and improves on it, while offering a story even better than the first one that will keep you engaged to find out what comes next, while maintaining chunks of humor in the gritty design of the game. The length of the game is criminally short but that is the only downside to this great game and the extra modes, while not much, should keep you occupied for a while to test yourself with hardcore conditions of the game’s difficulties. The alternate ending unlocked through the hardest difficulty is also a nice touch to have you come back to it, and playing as Mona for a part of the game was certainly a plus.






Max Payne 3 was developed by Rockstar Studios and published by Rockstar Games in 2012, for the first time not being developed by Remedy Games, nor written by Sam Lake. The game was released for Microsoft Windows(PC), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Mac OS X.

Max Payne 3, like the previous games in the franchise, is a third-person-shooter action video game, and the gameplay is similar as well. However, as to be expected with the gap of a generation between Max Payne 3 and the previous games, the game is significantly different.

Keeping the kick-ass shooter experience intact, except even more fluid this time around, Max Payne 3 is a solid game that lives up to the standard of the franchise and makes it even more fun to shoot your way through heaps of bad guys, taking you through the skyscrapers and the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The game finally adds a cover system which allows you to take cover behind objects to avoid taking damage, as well as other new additions to the gameplay such as being able to continue shooting even after falling down from a dodge(rather than having to wait until you get up), and ‘Last Stand’, in which if you have a pain killer left, if you run out of health entirely, you have a few seconds in bullet time to shoot the exact enemy who shot you down. If you manage to do that, Max will get back up using the remaining pain killer – whereas failure would mean Max dies. Other additions include proper melee attacks; if you get close to an enemy and attack, you enter a stylish take-down animation where you kill the enemy. The game also adds auto-aim for those that cannot properly kill enemies in free-aim, making it easier for new gamers. There’s also a nice range of weapons in the game, but for some reason there are no useable grenades in the game, only a grenade launcher that can be picked up occasionally. You also cannot have one weapon each of all the kinds of weapons in the game like the previous installments, making it limited and causing you to strategize your load-out.







The game is slightly longer than Max Payne 2, but still relatively short in itself, spawning around 8 hours of gameplay for an average gamer. The game has extra difficulties which you can play for a challenge, but extra modes for single player are initially not there. Through the last DLC released for the game, you can obtain a mode called ‘New York Minute Arcade Challenge’, which is pretty much the same as mode of the same name in Max Payne 2. Speaking of DLC, Max Payne 3 becomes the first game in the series to have DLC, with most of the content being multiplayer-only, only New York Minute Arcade Challenge and extra skins for Max being single-player content. AND speaking of multiplayer, Max Payne 3 finally becomes the one to introduce multiplayer to the franchise, which means you’d be playing the game for quite a while, contrary to the poor replayability of the previous titles(even in 2016, there’s some people available in the multiplayer community of the game). The multiplayer is also very well executed, as to be expected from Rockstar’s standards, and features tons of weapons, modes and skins(although some being DLC) and also includes grenades as a weapon; something missing from the single-player game. You can also carry over your crew from Max Payne 3 to Grand Theft Auto V. The game continues the tradition of including TVs around the game where you can catch an episode of a fictional TV show.






The story takes place several years after Max Payne 2, with Max Payne being addicted to alcohol and pain killers, and being very depressed and cynical with the world. No longer a cop in the NYPD, he moves to Sao Paulo and works as a bodyguard for a wealthy businessman. Hoping for a new start, Max Payne is instead thrown into a plot of conspiracy, corruption, betrayal and death, desperately trying to protect people, find the truth and a way out. The story is not that new, but it’s executed very well. The characters are decent, and while you may be able to predict some plots of the game, it can still surprise you with turns of events. Max Payne is as witty as ever, and continues to be voiced by James G. McCaffrey, again narrating the game, while the character is no longer modelled after Timothy Gibbs. Instead of progressing the story through the visual novel panels, it actually uses cut-scenes this time. While serious in tone generally, Max Payne 3 still mixes in moments of humor to keep the essence of the series alive, with Max back to making jokes unlike the second game, where his statements were more poetic.







The cut-scenes are well rendered and are quite a welcome change, the downside being the fact it takes away an important aspect of the atmosphere of the original games. Another issue with the cut-scenes is the fact they have an annoying effect that keeps shaking the screen with colors and highlights words on the screen, possibly trying to throwback to the graphic novel panels. But unless you have some sort of a condition, this shouldn’t really be an issue and the rest of the thing is fine. The voice acting is very decent, and the soundtrack of the game is also pretty good(although it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, as it is performed by HEALTH and caters to the specific atmosphere of the game). So something all 3 games share; we can all agree the theme is yet again the best part of the soundtrack, and this time there’s around 5 variations to it(hooray!). The rest of the sound effects are great as well, the pill popping, environmental damage, guns and yelling, all are done decently.








In a final verdict, Max Payne 3 is an 8 out of 10.

Max Payne 3 is a worthy addition to the franchise and is one of the best action games you’d be playing that came out in the past few years. The game is extremely fluid, the gameplay is very fun and it is accompanied by a good story to keep you hooked. The length of the game may not be that long, but it is still a satisfying experience, and to add up to the replayability, we have the multiplayer mode which is a very fun addition to the game, and a welcome addition as a whole to the franchise. If you enjoyed the first two games, or just enjoy TPS games as a whole, Max Payne 3 is certainly a game you should give a go. Max Payne 3 could be the last game in the series, and if that is the case, the franchise definitely ended on a high note. Only thing that could've been better would had been an inclusion of segments such as nightmare sequences, which were one of the things with the first two that made them so special.


If you still haven’t started playing Max Payne games after reading all this, you’re honestly missing out on one of the best action video game franchises of all time, and I would really recommend you to give it a shot. You can send in thank you letters after you’re done!

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Published On Entertainment Ghost At Monday, May 01, 2017

Movie Review: Logan (2017)

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Logan is the tenth installment in the X-Men film series, and the third film to be solely focused on the Wolverine character. The movie is directed by James Mangold, and written by
James Mangold, Scott Frank and Michael Green.

The movie starts Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine and Patrick Stewart as Professor X, both reprising their role since the very first X-Men movie adaption, as well as Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, and Stephen Merchant in main roles.




Logan does not particularly follow a specific comic book or story arc, instead it takes several elements from the X-Men comic books and creates its own story, while staying close to the original origin story that we had for Laura (X-23). While the movie takes place in a future setting, farther than any X-Men movie we've had so far, its story is not in the same continuity as the previous X-Men movies which were all connected. So that means even if you haven't watched some of the X-Men movies, or even X-Men Origins: Wolverine or The Wolverine that came afterwards, you can still drop into Logan and not really miss much, as it is pretty self explanatory and does not rely on references or plot points from the previous movies. I would, however, personally recommend having seen some of them anyway as they're entertaining films, although some of them were pretty disappointing.


The movie starts off by taking us into the life of an old Logan(Logan being old is not to be confused for an Old Man Logan adaption, the movie does not follow that storyline), who has grown weaker and lives day to day without a purpose, being a cab for hire in a future where nearly all mutants except a few are extinct, and lives with a mutant called Caliban, with whom he takes care of Professor Charles Xavier who is dying due to a neurodegenerative disease and has lost control over his abilities.

Soon after, everything changes for the three mutants as Laura comes along, a little girl mutated using the genes of Wolverine, which causes her to have claws and regenerative abilities just like Wolverine himself. She is being haunted by the same people who created her, and they will stop at nothing and kill everyone in their way. Eventually Logan decides to help her survive and escape the evil corporation, and we go through a rollercoaster of a journey with the characters who must journey to North Dakota where it is believed that Laura can be safe.




The movie and its story are very well structured, nothing is unnecessarily dragged on or undermined, no relying on shock-value or over-dramatizing a segment. The R rating really gives the movie the feel it needed and stays true to the Wolverine character, something the previous ones have lacked. This was one of Hugh Jackman's best performances, and 'the' best performance of his as the character of Wolverine, and the rest of the cast certainly keeps up, with even Dafne Keen(Laura) playing the role perfectly and delivering a good performance. The movie's soundtrack is just as it should be, with a good choice of songs and a fitting background score by Marco Beltrami. The sound effects are also very well done, as expected from a high cost production.

The movie does not try to fit in too much and keeps a rather simple but engaging plot, and has a surprise antagonist that wasn't revealed in the trailers; something I absolutely love Marvel for; as opposed to DC which reveals a bit...too much in its promotional content. The movie has a very serious, and as expected with a solo Wolverine movie, a dark tone. But that also does not mean it tries to take itself more seriously than it should; there is a little humor cleverly added, which does not ruin the moment or feel out of the place but manages to give you a good chuckle every now and then.




Logan is not only one of best superhero movies of all time, it is also an amazing movie as a whole, comparing to any genre. The direction, plot and acting of the movie are all very well done, as well as keeping a perfect pace without either rushing or dragging it, and delivering the action and stylish violence that you would come to expect out of the R rating, but not overdoing it either. Logan is the absolutely perfect exit for both Hugh Jackamn and Patrick Stewart's characters as their last performance, and is worthy of the 17 years of the X-men movie franchise, while also definitely topping every movie in the franchise to date, as well as countless other superhero movies around. The movie perfectly executes all the emotions you'd come to expect as it is, after all, the end of an era, and left audience all over the world heartbroken and in tears(in a good way). Dafne Keen is a very welcome addition to the franchise as Laura and delivers a performance as good as the movie deserved, and the rest of the cast also catches up, making the movie perfect. From the beginning to the very end, the movie does not disappoint and holds a few surprises, and the final moments of the movie were perfection.



Final Verdict:


Logan is a 10 out of 10.

You may think I'm jumping the gun making it the first superhero movie that I've reviewed to get a whopping straight 10 rating, but once you watch the movie for yourself you will see that I am not overrating it by any means, and it deserves every one of those digits as an amazing superhero movie that has topped most movies in the genre with an great plotline, direction and acting from the entire crew, as well as being a perfect see-off for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in his last performance, and is without a doubt satisfactory for the fans of the franchise.

If you are yet to watch the movie, you are certainly in a minority, and should buckle up the seatbelt because the movie is a rollercoaster of entertainment all the way to the end.


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Published On Entertainment Ghost At Friday, March 17, 2017

Movie Review: John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

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John Wick 2 Official Poster


John Wick: Chapter 2 is a 2017 movie, which is a sequel to the 2014 action film simply titled 'John Wick'. It is directed by Chad Stahelski and written by Derek Kolstad.

The movie stars Keanu Reeves as John Wick, reprising the role of the ex-hitman, Riccardo Scamarcio, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Ruby Rose, and Ian McShane in main roles.





John Wick: Chapter 2 starts off where the first movie left off. Starting with a stylish prologue that reminds you of what you're getting into, it later takes you to a John that is still keen on retirement and avoiding trouble. John has a new dog and is trying to adjust back into his life, but everything goes south when he is forced to do another task back in the assassin world due to a dept unpaid to a powerful Italian crime lord, and afterwards, a bounty is put on John's head that makes every assassin that can find him attempt to murder him. John Wick is then left with no choice but to fight for his life on every corner, and get revenge on the person who put the bounty on him.




The story of the movie; much like the first one, is not a strong point. It's there, it makes sense and it works out. Not poorly written, and nothing you haven't seen before. But it's the atmosphere it sets for the movie, as well as the fact how beautifully it's executed, does not make you feel that it's lacking at all.

The movie is very well structured, and it only expands on everything that the first movie set up. The lore increases further, and the action is even better this time around, featuring longer fight scenes instead of quickies, all the while maintaining the atmosphere set up for the franchise, although arguably it's slightly toned down this time as it aims more for faster progression rather than the sometimes slow but stylized progression of the first film, but it is not a drawback and actually provides a fresher feel for the movie that makes it stand out as a worthwhile experience of it's own. The serious tone of the movie is not compromised for humor; but there's sly hints of moments that would make you laugh; as it did with me and the audience I was watching with.




The acting of the movie is definitely no Oscar-runner, but is regardless solid with good performances with the entire cast. The new additions to the cast really lighten up with movie, with Common as Cassian, Ruby Rose as Ares and Lawrence Fishburne finally appearing on the screen at the same time as Keanu Reeves for the first time since The Matrix trilogy. Speaking of Common's character Cassian, the first fight scene that John Wick has with Cassian is perhaps my most favourite part of the movie.

The soundtrack, composed by Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard, is just as good as the first one, although it may not be every person's cup of tea. But for John Wick, it is perfect and blends in beautifully, setting up a sense of intensity and 'shit going down' for every scene, while providing a more calmed feel for the scenes that call for it. The sound effects of the movie in general were very good, and every shot was music to my ears, while the sound of John Wick's ride burning through the road just ceases to get old.




The action of the movie is very well choreographed and fun to watch, taking on the standard set up by the first movie, and made it even better and longer, making you feel that John Wick really is getting challenged, no longer against people he'd easily have a cakewalk through. More hand-to-hand is added to match up with the gun-fu, and it is such a welcomed addition. As I mentioned earlier, the fight scene with Cassian was my favourite part of the movie, and absolutely I loved the intensity to the fact that John is fighting against someone who appears to be of equal skill to him; and that is something that was extremely entertaining to watch because John's other kills tend to be very quick. That is not to say that the others were not entertaining, the entire movie is full of beautifully choreographed action and every scene makes you subconsciously want to be kicking some assassin ass.



Final Verdict:

John Wick: Chapter 2 is a 9 out of 10.

The movie most definitely lives up to the hype created by the first movie, and if anything, expands on that experience featuring action on an even larger scale, while expanding the lore as well and setting up more opportunities for future films.

If you haven't watched it already, you shouldn't wait any longer and jump into it right away, it's worth more than every dollar you'd be spending on it.
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Published On Entertainment Ghost At Saturday, March 04, 2017

Movie Review: Doctor Strange (2016)

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Note:

Minor spoilers should be expected.



Doctor Strange is the the fourteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie is directed by Scott Derrickson and written by Scott Derrickson, Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill. It's produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney.

The movie features an assemble cast of Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg and Benjamin Bratt, with Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as Thor in a short cameo.



Doctor Strange is an origin story for the Marvel character of the same name and is a comic-accurate portrayal(with minor changes, as to be expected) and it's been presumed to have taken place in the present time of the MCU chronology, possibly after the events of Captain America: Civil War, but the previous movies did not seem to have made an impact to the story of Doctor Strange and you can drop into it without having watched the others and not have any issues understanding what's going on. I would, however, definitely suggest you watch those as anyway because some of them are great movies. I'd even go as far as to say you can take some pals who don't watch superhero movies to this one because it does not really put an emphasis to that, it does well off as a movie of it's own.

The movie starts off by taking us inside the life of Stephen Strange(Benedict Cumberbatch), an acclaimed and exceptional neurosurgeon with a great life, who has an accident while texting and driving(don't text and drive folks, not even superheroes are safe to it) and loses proper control of his hands which render him useless as a neurosurgeon. After many failed attempts at experimental surgeries to fix himself, he finally decides to go to the Kamar-Taj after learning of, and meeting a paraplegic who was miraculously able to walk again despite being a hopeless cause. There, he is found by the sorcerer Mordo(Chiwetel Ejiofor) and is taken under the guidance of 'The Ancient One' (Tilda Swinton), who shows Strange her power, and while a bit hesitantly at first, begins training him. But soon Strange learns that it's bigger than just himself and has to fight a massive threat without being ready, which comes under the face of Kaecilius(Mads Mikkelsen), a rogue sorcerer who had also trained under The Ancient One but had given into darkness along with his devout followers, who threaten the existence of the world itself in their plans. 



The story of the movie is quite simple and has been seen before, with a lost man finding himself a new purpose in life, getting trained in arts and devoting himself to a purpose larger than himself. But the way the movie presents this rather simple tale, is absolutely fresh and gives it new life.

The movie is well structured, story progression is great, all the actors portray the roles well with, to no surprise, Benedict Cumberbatch stealing the show. Benedict as Doctor Strange is without a doubt one of the best comic-book portrayals in live action, he is perfect as the character and it feels like Doctor Strange himself is the one we're watching on-screen rather than an actor. While the random diversity was unnecessary(Asian male to a white female, for example), it does not make any difference at all and all supporting actors acted well and were surprisingly given good screen time and felt a part of the main story rather than just being there.

The movie also incorporates humor into the plot without making it look comedic, forced or unnecessary. Every joke is executed cleverly and does not affect the flow of the moment. And if anyone was wondering, yes. Marvel is well aware of the Sherlock fandom and even added a clever yet hard to miss easter-egg in the movie. And with Benedict playing another exceptional-at-what-he-does character with an ego, fans of Sherlock will feel right at home with the character.



Perhaps one of the strongest points of the movie(and I would really recommend the movie to be watched in 3D for the full experience), are the visuals. The movie is absolute eye candy. Seeing the characters transcend between the realities and dimensions, the spells, the entire environment shifting, changing and molding to the mercy of the sorcerers, was a visual treat and one of the strongest points of the movie that make it such a rich and fresh experience to watch, taking you to a psychedelic trip that you'd be hooked on. The 3D only makes it all even better and Doctor Strange is one of the better movies I've seen that optimize the potential of 3D without over or misusing it.

The soundtrack of the movie was good, and fairly different(thankfully) than the usual tunes you'd hear in a typical superhero flick from Marvel, although it kind of has a Star Trek vibe to it(not in a bad way), unsurprisingly since they both have score from Michael Giacchino. It fits in perfectly with the movie's atmosphere and the sound effects themselves worked beautifully with the mystic arts and reality shaping as it happens, catching up perfectly with the quality of the amazing visuals.




The movie overall, is very well made. The story, although simple, is decent, the visuals are fantastic, the music fits in perfectly, the acting is good, even the post-credit scenes expanded the story. The movie hardly gives you anything to pick on, but I do have one thing to discuss.

I, and many others, felt that Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius was perhaps not the best choice. He portrayed the character well, as was to be expected of him, but the character itself was not that special. It was a generic baddie who serves a bigger bad and threatens the world's peace, no special personality to him and did not have any special impact. So an actor as good as him should've been saved for a role that had a deeper impact.

As well as casting Scott Adkins as a simple bad guy(yeah, he was actually in the movie if you look close enough). Scott Adkins may not be an Oscar winner but he's criminally underrated. He's a great martial artist and has worked in tons of movies(Undisputed 3 being his rise to fame), and I really believe they should've kept him for a bigger role in another movie. He is a great fighter and a recognized face, and I would've loved to see him have a longer, more serious role than just a bad guy Doctor Strange encounters and wouldn't be returning again.


That said, the casting was great otherwise and everyone had a fair relevancy to the plot.



Final Verdict:

Doctor Strange is an 8.5 out of 10

Living up to the hype and expectations, Doctor Strange is an excellent and entertaining movie, and a worthy addition to the live-action superhero movies pile-up of this year.

I would specifically recommend Doctor Strange to be viewed in 3D to completely experience it's amazing visuals, and you'll be getting lost into a psychedelic ride that will keep you hooked until the screen goes blank.
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Published On Entertainment Ghost At Friday, November 11, 2016