It’s a tale as old as time. Egotistical and super-successful surgeon gets into a terrible accident which renders surgeon skills useless. The good doc seeks healing around the world only to discover that magic is real. He learns how to use magic and saves the world from the big bad. That old chestnut. Doctor Strange is the fourteenth chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it introduces magic (and some very trippy visual effects) into the shared universe.
Benedict Cumberbatch brings the master surgeon turned master spell-caster, Stephen Strange, to life in director Scott Derrickson’s origin story. It also includes a spectacular list of award-winning actors, including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Benjamin Bratt, and Tilda Swinton. Swinton controversially cast as The Ancient One (historically, an Asian character in the comic book source material), shines in her role as mentor to magic newbie, Doctor Strange. In fact, the entire cast does a great job of stealing their respective scenes while not taking away focus from our main stud star Cumberbatch. Speaking of Cumberbatch, his American accent can be jarring to those who predominately see him as Sherlock Holmes, but for me, it fit quite well.
As with most Marvel films, the villain was the weakest point of the movie. This isn’t Mads Mikkelsen’s fault, however. He’s not given much to work with. Like, Malekith (Thor: The Dark World), Ronan the Accuser (Guardians of the Galaxy), and so many more Marvel baddies before him, Kaecilius plays a fairly insignificant role as an antagonist in this movie. He’s got a goal which is clearly defined, but at the end of the day, he’s beaten rather easily. But, he’s not the only villain in the film. We’re introduced to a much larger threat in Dormammu, the fiery-headed demon ruler of the Dark Dimension. While he’s not in the film very long (his scene felt slightly similar to that of the Galactus “appearance” in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but not as bad or offensive to diehard fans), he does actually kill our hero. Oh yeah, SPOILER ALERT, Doctor Strange dies. A lot.
Where this film succeeds (and it does in spades), is the visual effects. The astounding visuals of the ability that Kaecilius has to bend the buildings and environment around him, without actually destroying the city in the Mirror Dimension, were gorgeous and believable. What made this even better was that it wasn’t the usual utter destruction of major metropolitan cities that we see in almost every big-budget action film these days. Even the final fight was able to erase the destruction and damage done in Hong Kong using the powerful magic within the Eye of Agamotto.
Don’t get me wrong, though, this movie isn’t just about the bright lights and pretty people. The story within is a simple yet effect one. In the origin of Tony Stark which kick started kick-started universe. Wealthy and selfish man is turned into a selfless hero (mostly selfless in Tony’s case). A few of the more dramatic and moving scenes in the film were overshadowed by the need to crack a few jokes. While this may take away from the more powerful moments, it didn’t ruin the movie for me, in fact, I enjoyed how fun this film actually ended up being. From Beyonce jokes to a slapstick-ish scene with a magical cape pummeling a bad guy, I was all in for the ride.
Doctor Strange was put in a difficult position. It was set up to either be an amazing film or it was going to be a bust based on the premise and the nature of this character being set in a world we haven’t seen in the MCU. This movie didn’t blow me away, but it didn’t disappoint. It was okay and as we’ve seen so many times before, even an average Marvel film is better than a lot of the other films released in recent memory. That’s just my opinion.
What did you guys think of the movie?
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