Tag Archives: Comics

Doctor Strange Review: Strange? Maybe… (SPOILER FREE)

By Joanna Cosgrove

Marvel’s cinematic universe has given us some great heroes – and villains – but what keeps us coming for more is how this whole universe has so many levels, and so many worlds. We have the Avengers, saving the planet with all their might; we have the Guardians of the Galaxy, protecting the worlds beyond our own; and with the newest installment, we learn that Earth can be saved with the physical and the spiritual. Enter Doctor Strange.

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Alright, we have all heard mixed expectations. As the MCU expands, and we discover more brave faces, we also discover the diversity in how they keep everyone safe. That is where Doctor Strange dazzles us.

The story of famous surgeon, Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), reaching past his medical expertise to cure himself of what he was repeatedly told was incurable nerve damage, shows something human in my eyes. He was full of himself, and he closed his mind off to whatever of the universe he didn’t know – he acted as if he knew it all – but he opened up his mind and that led to his powers. Opening his mind made him who he is; the best he can be. It’s inspiring, honestly.

We must discuss the ethnicity issue. It’s been there since the beginning and throughout the promotion for the movie, it needs to be discussed, not the whole movie is released to the public.

I need to admit, Tilda Swinton – as talented of an actor as she is – was possibly a mistake in casting. Don’t get me wrong, the diversity of actors cast in these roles is realistic and appropriate, but I believe the character of the Ancient One would have been best to remain as being Tibetan. “Whitewashing” is not a term I’m throwing in here though, because it’s not necessary when diversity is clear and greatly appreciated, as well as being used for the sake of making a successful film – not just to keep movie-goers happy and avoid the “racist” label.

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Same as whitewashing, we cannot call “cultural appropriation”. The representation of spirituality and healing is not used disrespectfully, and the story of Stephen Strange opening his mind to realities he never heard about and abilities he never gave a chance to before is one everyone can pay attention to. Alright, I don’t really want to be that person who finds depth beyond depth in a normal action movie, but there is here. Like we only believed in the Avengers catering to the usual, the stereotypical way of dealing with the supervillains, we can also be opened up to the idea that the mind is just as mighty as the body it controls. Doctor Strange is an example of changing what we know about the strength of superheroes, using your mind to save the world.

Last, definitely not least, we have the special effects of this movie. Like wow.

The representation of the powers in our world, manipulating surroundings, is more than a regular eyeful. It gives us exactly what we need: a visual understanding of these powers. It makes you imagine “how would that feel?” as the world stretches, spins, and separates in front of our very eyes on that big screen. It’s exciting, and despite it being the result of something most of us won’t believe is a real thing, it makes us believe that little bit more. It’s terrifying, but exhilarating, because that could easily be the world we live in. Let us wish it never will be though. It may not end well for us.

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Overall, worth the watch. It might not be your favourite MCU movie, I’ll admit, but it would be a mistake to skip this, as it holds a whole new chapter in this universe, beyond the Earth and the stars. The universe in our own minds.

Rating: 7/10

Captain America: A Twist Too Far

By Joanna Cosgrove

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Who can hate Marvel? In under a decade, we have been introduced to so many personalities in the Marvel universe, in the form of the MCU: The Marvel Cinematic Universe. We were given genetically modified heroes, trained warriors and those with the luck of highly evolved technology on their side. Most importantly, we were given heroes.

Heroes, true, come in all shapes and sizes; they can be fictional or real; they can be of any race, any gender, possessing any abilities, great or minor. They all have that one thing in common: they inspire.
Boys and girls alike can relate to the butt-kicking champions we see on the big (and small) screen. Men and women can relive the old times they had when they first experienced these beings between the paper pages of their classic comic books. We all can form these connections with heroes, especially those of the Marvel universe, because we all want to save the world and never give in to the villains who only want to battle and destroy.

That is what makes Marvel’s latest move a tragic one.

As most, if not all Marvel fans are aware of already, Captain America has a new comic book series coming out, labelled Steve Rogers: Captain America, which I’m sure at first gained a few “woo”s and “yippee”s from hardcore Cap fans. Then more details were slipping out and – I would say spoiler warning, but let’s face it, you ain’t reading the comic if you care about what’s happened to Rogers.

The comic series is set to begin with the announcement by Rogers that he had been a member of Hydra. In one sentence, Marvel had dirtied the beautiful and patriotic name of Captain America, and I – like many others – am not impressed.

Tom Brevoort, an executive editor at Marvel Comics, had commented clearly and truly that “the most trusted hero in the Marvel universe is now secretly a deep-cover Hydra operative”. And there’s no problem with that? Seriously?

I do not know, nor really wish to know, what possessed the people in charge of Captain America’s comic arcs to decide that this would be an appropriate twist to throw into the universe. This isn’t some sick, twisted fanfiction that someone created to be “edgy” or “different”; this is Marvel. This is canon. This is disturbing.

To continue quoting Brevoort: “You should feel uneasy about the fact that everything you know and love about Steve Rogers can be upended.”
And you should feel uneasy about the fact that every fan that purchases and reads your comics can stop paying to read said comics, watch your movies and television shows, and collect your figurines of every costume these heroes ever wore.
This isn’t creativity; this is throwing away one of the longest standing symbols for pure American pride.

Look at it this way: turning Cap into an agent from Hydra is most disrespectful when you learn about his origins.
Remember, Captain America wasn’t always Marvel’s mightiest Avenger. Cap was used as a voice of inspiration among Americans during times of war, of death and sorrow and fear. He was a bright light in bleak dangerous darkness.
And remember, Hydra was to Captain America what the Nazi party was to America (among many other countries and continents). They were/are both soulless organisations running mainly on the desire to control and manipulate the world to their liking and the only way they can perform this, it seems, is through murder and genocide.
In the times where innocent, peace-loving lives were lost defending the lands they love, they needed something to keep up spirits. In comes Captain America, created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby – two talented Jewish cartoonists – to give America hope that evil will never win because our hero in red, white and blue will not allow it.

Can everyone see how disrespectful, on so many levels, this would appear?

I will leave everyone to make their opinions, because I have made mine crystal clear in this article. I advise people, to keep the pure image of Steve Rogers in your mind for the rest of your days, to ignore this series and disbelief what Marvel want to turn Rogers into.
If you decide to read on, read on. To each their own – a rule I shall always enforce in topics relating to the entertainment industry. I hope you can appreciate this in a way I and many others cannot (genuinely, I promise, enjoy your reading).

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