Okay so first just to get this out of the way – I liked Doctor Strange. Visually amazing; it’s been ages since I’ve seen a movie in 3D that made sense for it to BE in 3D. Worth the extra price, IMAX if you got it. Real IMAX, not that FauxMAX shite they pawn off on you at upconverted theaters.

Tilda Swinton, despite the whitewashing controversy, was a great Ancient One. But I expected that, she’s a fantastic actress who kills every role she’s given, no matter how bad the character/movie (see: Constantine). I’m absolutely fine with her being a woman, and Celtic in origin.

Cumberbatch? Ditto. Really, he’s a great choice for Stephen and brings that upper crust “I’m better than you and I know it” snark that’s going to be fun to watch pair off against RDJ’s Tony Stark later, especially when they start arguing science vs metaphysics.

Chiwetel Ojiofor put in a subdued but nuanced performance as Mordo, and his disenchantment/disgust at the end was palapable. Bravo.

Mads Mikkelsen? Meh. I mean, he may as well have been the villain from Casino Royale, for all the depth he brought. He’s a character actor, so he did what he does best. Which may not be great, but it’s enough. I don’t even remember the bad guy’s name, which is funny because every other character in the movie is an iconic name – Dormammu, Baron (oops) Mordo, the Ancient One, Wong…

But yes, this is a typically Marvel formulaic movie. Again, expectedly so. Find the thing, before the seemingly unstoppable bad guy with questionable/confusing/nonsensical motives finds the thing, but you know the bad guy will find the thing anyway, so let’s rise to the challenge and stop the bad guy from doing the thing with the thing that’s gonna destroy the world/universe/reality. Cue: heroes’ parade. It’s a formula that makes Marvel Studios gajillions of megabucks, I don’t expect them to stop using it.

And nor would I want them to. Marvel isn’t trying for depth in storytelling, they’re going for pure entertainment for the masses. As pointed out by the friend I went with, she didn’t know jack shite about the MU but realized she didn’t need to know anything to enjoy it regardless. It was a straightforward, “don’t make me think too hard where’s the bang bang zoom” superhero flick and that’s what keeps people coming back to the box office.

Would I prefer more in-depth stories and nuanced acting? Of course. Fuck, I enjoy stories more than art when I read comic books; it’s the writing that draws me in, I don’t get lost in the drawings. But that doesn’t work for Joe Everyman, nor does it mean Marvel movies are completely shallow, brightly colored rainbow lights. I can criticize, but still enjoy the show.

I also happened to (finally!) watch the full version of Bats vs Superman at home and…wow. Just wow. Editing is a bitch, because, it was a completely different movie. I’m the biggest DC fanboy out there, and I walked out of BvS pissed off at the choices that were made. But watch the home version, it all made absolute sense and I get it. All of it. Even Lex came across as less of a manic nutjob. That’s the movie that was meant to be on the big screen, and What. A. Difference. (Catching the “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” graffiti on a wall and recognizing what it meant was my own private “yeah baby!” moment.)

Marvel vs DC movies are really comparing candied apples to duck a l’orange. They’re both meant to be eaten and enjoyed. Just not necessarily at the same table