Doctor Strange review
I was at Disneyland the other day and saw that the line to meet Spider-Man and Captain America had stretched to over an hour at the busiest of times. If someone were to tell me that before Disney bought Marvel Comics, I would have honestly laughed in their faces. But who would have thought that the mouse house working with the capes ended up being the best thing for each other? Had it not been for Disney, we would have not gotten some of the recent output of films like The Avengers, Captain America: Civil War, Ant-Man, and my favorite, Guardians of the Galaxy.
For the Marvel cinematic universe to continue, they have to keep going into areas not yet explored. Most mainstream people are not going to read the comics, which details not just a universe, but a vast multiverse that makes the movies seem ant sized. Ant-Man gave us our first glimpse into the multiverse when the title hero shrunk himself smaller then molecules. What we’re not shown is the dimensional side of the Marvel Universe, which contains elements of magic, fantasy, and even existentialism. That bridge is finally crossed when we’re given our newest hero, Doctor Strange.
Stephen Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is a successful neurosurgeon, but a very arrogant and egotistical person with little compassion for those around him, including coworker and former lover Christine (played by Rachel McAdams). He gets in a car accident that severs both of his hands. When experimental surgeries and rehab don’t seem to be working, he’s lead to a paraplegic who somehow regained his ability to walk. Strange is told by this guy to go find Kamar-Taj. In Nepal, Strange finds his way to a monastery where another sorcerer Mordo (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) takes him to see his teacher.
The Ancient One (played by Tilda Swinton) reveals her power to Strange, showing him an infinite cosmos of other dimensions and of the astral plane. Despite his arrogance, she agrees to teach him. He reads several books about the mythic arts and practices daily, hoping that he will regains the full use of his hands. Strange’s abilities are advancing at a quick pace, giving question to the Ancient One on how he might have what it takes to become a sorcerer supreme. A former student of the Ancient One, Kaecilius (played by Mads Mikkelsen) summons an entity from the Dark Dimension called the Dormammu to destroy the planet, leading Strange into battle.
Where was this during the summertime? Doctor Strange feels like that blockbuster that everyone had been waiting for in the summer but never got. As a Marvel movie, not only does this stand alone (I didn’t see that many references to the other heroes), but it has a very different feel from the others. I’d say that’s on the hands of director Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose), who manages to create some of the craziest visuals for a super hero story. Some might compare a lot of the imagery to Inception, but this does enough to make it it’s own.
Everyone’s been saying, so yea, Benedict Cumberbatch is the perfect person for this role who reminded me of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man; he has a similar ego and sense of humor. I can’t wait to see this guy join in with the Avengers. The majority of the cast is great too, especially Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is being set up for something bigger. Like a lot of the other Marvel movies, the villain again isn’t that memorable (why do they keep having this problem!) and we can only hope that we’ll enventully get a good one besides Loki from Thor, Kingpin from Daredevil, and Killgrave from Jessica Jones.
I’ll give this four and a half levitating cloaks out of five. Doctor Strange is a fun door into Marvel territory that is probably the best adaptation of the character. I haven’t read his comic stories, but seeing this movie made me want to go down to see what other adventures the Doctor has been on.
Note- This was spectacular in 3D and I highly recommend you catch it in this format, though you’ll still get a fun experience in 2D.