'Doctor Strange' Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch Demonstrates Trickiness Of Fake Magical Gestures In New Movie Clip

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That's more like it, 'Doctor Strange.' Marvel Studios

Pity the actor doomed to magical hand gestures. With vague powers come vague effects, forcing actors to wave their arms about and trust that CGI artists will do enough swirly colors to cover up how silly they feel. Poor Jessica Alba, forced to conjure up invisibility bubbles. We’re sorry Elizabeth Olsen, you were fabulous in Martha Marcy May Marlene, but what we really want from you is to flutter your fingers about with no referent or reason. At least you’re not Cara Delevingne, who had to perform a full-body magical shimmy for the entirety of Suicide Squad.

For my money, the best magical hand gestures can be found at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which even managed to salvage that other horrible magic cliche, the dueling energy beams, in its powerfully choreographed magical duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore:

That little fwoop-fuwip as Dumbledore manipulates a cascade of water is about as good as imaginary funtime hand swirls get.

Less good: Benedict Cumberbatch’s mediocre efforts in this new clip from Doctor Strange.

Don’t you just feel a bit bad for him? “Benedict, in this scene what I need you to do is wave your arm around in a big circle and run.” How many full-arm swirls do those damn portals require anyway? Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) is able to bend a skyscraper with a two-wrist twist, but Doctor Strange can’t open a beginner’s level portal without a full dancefloor windmill?

We’re sorry, Benedict Cumberbatch. Hopefully it will all have been worth it when Doctor Strange comes out in theaters on Nov. 3.

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