My friend Hellen took a road trip with me a couple of weekends ago. We spent Friday being led astray in San Antonio by a misbehaving GPS program while looking for a Toyota dealership, which the car GPS eventually found for us. So when we made it back to Marble Falls, we decided to end the day with a movie. Since Dr. Strange was the feature about to start when we rolled in, popcorn was purchased, and we settled in to see how the latest Marvel comics hero would save the world.
Which he did, of course, but not before taking a convoluted journey of his own. I have nothing against the superhero genre, and I probably wouldn’t have picked that movie had we not just stumbled on it at the right time, but it was quite entertaining and I rather enjoyed it. Super hero movies and computer-generated effects are a match made in sci-fi heaven, and this movie is no exception. I think seeing it in 3-D would be overkill, but to each his own. I especially enjoyed the very subtle, easy-to-miss-if-you-aren’t-paying- attention funny lines, mostly delivered tongue-in-cheek by Dr. Strange himself. I also liked the magic cape that befriended him, which will no doubt make an appearance in the sequel which is hinted at if you bother to stay for the credits. Which I always do. And there was humor in that bit as well.
Then Saturday we were up early to travel the winding, dipsy-doodle road to the Burnet Farmers Market to peddle succulents and shop the garage sales on the other side of the courthouse square. After a good day there and a nice meal at Mama’s Home Cooking, we shopped at the Pottery Ranch and still made it back to Marble Falls in time for another movie, this time The Accountant, which I had seen before, coincidentally enough, on my last trip to the lake at this same movie theatre. I found it so intense and involving that I was more than willing to see it again with Hellen, and sure enough, I picked up on things I missed or had forgotten from my first viewing. As you may know, the story follows Ben Affleck’s highly functional autistic CPA, Chris Wolff, as he displays some super hero powers of his own between working for dangerous criminal factions, ferreting out the crooked guys in a legitimate robotics company, eluding the Treasury Department, protecting the innocent along the way, and living to tell about it. As violent as this movie is, it, too, contains some nifty comic relief slipped in at just the right times. I suspect that someone connected to this movie has had a strong connection to autism somewhere along the way because I don’t think you can come away from the movie without a different perspective of this neurologic disorder, the many forms it may take, and the families and individuals who deal with it.
One assignment I always enjoyed giving to my English classes was to compare and contrast characters from stories and novels we had read. If Dr. Strange and Chris Wolff had been the subjects in question, I hope the students would have told me that the contrasts would have been science fiction/fantasy vs. realism, conceited extrovert vs. autistic introvert, saving the world vs. saving individuals. But then look at all these two protagonists have in common: both are highly intelligent; both possess critical skills and super powers (I’ll leave you to discover their individual powers and strengths when you see the movies); both show a concern for others; and even though Wolff doesn’t realize he is saying something humorous and Dr. Strange does, both characters give us humor along with a ton of violent behavior.
Both movies also happen to have positive endings. And look for a nice twist in the denouement of The Accountant.
And both movies are entertaining and worth the price of the popcorn. Really.