Humor as the human dimension—an old dog doing new tricks
I know what you are thinking, “Comedy really? I mean this is the Cumberbatch-gone-gangbuster Dr. Strange right?” Yes, indeed, you are correct. What I mean to say is, this is a popular-level film that is doing comedy in a unique way.
Its no surprise that a film written/directed by Scott Derrickson explores the depths of the human experience. It is a surprise that such dramatic sequences occur in a fantastically CGed superhero film. Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Stephen Strange) remarked, “The feeling of watching it is sort of synesthetic. We’re trying to do something in a visual language that Shakespeare, say, did with words—to unlock parts of the human condition…understanding the limits of the human condition.”
A Scene Well-Put
Humor thoughtfully weaves through intense combat to dialogue sequences. The thing is Dr. Strange isn’t just replicating the traditional use of comic relief. The kinds of comedy vary. A toppling broom in a quiet room freaks out Christine (Rachel McAdams). Dr. Stephen Strange’s awkwardly excessive UK-dryness transforms the audience into pipe organ of guffaws. There is nothing like laughing with crowd of strangers. Meanwhile, Strange’s cape, a perfect match for his arrogance, acts like a kind of Peter Pan’s shadow. Even Kaecillius (Mads Mikkelsen), the villain, gets a punch. Its clear that Dr. Strange’s humor is not just ‘doing what you are supposed to do.’ The humor spans a range of comedic styles and lands at appropriate times.
The Super genre is new territory for me. I’m not used to imagining stories of a fantastical type. Therefore, at points I was tempted to fall out of the suspension of disbelief. I couldn’t relate. I kid you not, every time that temptation came Derrickson served up a slice of the comedic pie.
Laughter is relatable.
When done well, it can bring a distant audience into even the most outlandish experiences.Comedy glued together this magical and philosophical film. It catered humor to all viewer preferences kicking up a communal experience only a theater can conjure. And, it guided the audience into Dr. Strange’s most esoteric and contemplative explorations.
*Speaking of humor in film, looking forward to the Kiwi-humorist, Taika Waititi’s upcoming Thor—due for wide release November 3, 2017