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Release :2016-10-25Runtime :115 min.Genre :Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science FictionProduction :Marvel StudiosCast :Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Umit Ulgen, Scott Adkins, Zara Phythian, Alaa Safi, Katrina Durden, Linda Louise Duan, Mark Anthony Brighton, Amy Landecker, Chris Hemsworth, Topo Wresniwiro, Stan Lee, Pat KiernanCrew :Steve Ditko, Scott Derrickson, Scott Derrickson, Scott Derrickson, Jon Spaihts, Reg Poerscout-Edgerton, Sarah Finn, Charles Wood, Alexandra Byrne, Kevin Feige, Stan Lee, Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard, Alan Fine, Charles Newirth, Ben Davis, C. Robert Cargill, Michael Giacchino, David J. Grant, Ben Davis, Sabrina Plisco, Ray Chan, Jim Barr, Lauri Gaffin, Jessica Brooks, Nicola Buck, Kathryn Fa, Rebecca Adams, Chris Brock, Jimmy Price, Jonathan Scott, Daisy Baldry, Jeff Habberstad, Michael Lerman, Doug AppletonVote Average:6.7 Count: 1022Overview :After his career is destroyed, a brilliant but arrogant surgeon gets a new lease on life when a sorcerer takes him under his wing and trains him to defend the world against evil.Keyword :marvel comic, comic, superhero, sorcerer, aftercreditsstinger, duringcreditsstinger, marvel cinematic universe, doctor strange, the ancient one
Review I would be plastered with guilt were I to give in to the common consensus that Doctor Strange is a masterpiece and bury my thought regarding this film. Simply because this is yet another motif that Marvel has overused to the extent that any interesting dynamics soon appear normalised. An overly egocentric protagonist diminishing his own egotism to serve a higher cause is certainly not unique in the Marvel universe: Tony Stark also shares this resemblance. Nevertheless, since the film is constructed largely based on the comic, it may not be so justifiable to attribute the humdrum motif to the screenplay.
Despite my keen disinterest in this repeatedly harnessed motif, the urge to be lavish in my praise for the essence of the plot prevails. To dull one's ego in order to obtain knowledge is a powerful message conveyed by the film, reflecting the ideal attitude towards learning: an insatiable thirst for wisdom with an mind open to novelty. The notion that the boundaries between black and white are sometimes blurred, that good and evil are not a binary concept but two extreme ends of a spectrum where everyone lies in-between, bears much weight, as it shatters the utopian image of an impeccable protagonist.
I shall not make any concealment of my fondness for the cast. Besides Benedict Cumberbatch for whom I leave an extravagant amount of avidity, the image of Hannibal Lector seen through Mads Mikkelsen beams me up the moment Kaecillius emerges. The elegance in a minimalist style evident in Tilda Swinton has never failed to make me flutter.
The visual effect is superb, as always expected from a world- acclaimed production. The visual, or more precisely aesthetic, aspect of the film also pleases me much. I can draw some similarities of the visual concept of multiverse from Inception, which appear enjoyably mesmerising. The concept art is enchanting, given the fair admixture of modern cityscape with serene Oriental scenery.
The sole unsatisfying thing that bugs me about this film is the character development of Kaecillius. The portrayal of other characters is complete; yet the image of Kaecillius appears obscure. Very little ground is devoted to illuminate this character, arguably due to his insignificant role, as he seems to cease to play in following films. Had this figured been painted more definitively (include his own story in the narrative), the contrast with Stephen Strange would be more pronounced, seemingly more persuasive when building the tension of clashing ideologies.
The first scene opens and immediately the movie forces Dr. Strange's genius upon you. You can't escape it, except if you know the first thing about medicine you'd know that every so called challenging case he takes up are no-brainers. His overconfidence in his abilities, his blatant disregard for his colleagues including the woman he apparently harbors feelings for and his desperate attempt to come off as witty is a cringeworthy experience.
In fact, if you have watched House MD, you'd be convinced that Benedict Cumberbatch has made a desperate but failed attempt at channeling Hugh Laurie. Laurie too is British with a fake American accent in his show; the difference being Laurie's accent happens to be quite convincing. While we are on the subject, Dr. House is legitimately wittier and Laurie is an actor whose acting skills are versatile, contrary to Cumberbatch who always plays the same old "high functioning sociopath" in every movie and is a repetitive actor with nothing new to offer.
As the movie goes on, we see Dr. Strange losing his dexterity which is a tragic event for anyone, even more so for a surgeon, but again I was unable to empathize with the character portrayed on screen. Why should I care about an egotistical jerk who is not even funny. This is a fault in the script which should have spent a little more time developing the character and feelings of Dr. Strange, and a little less time on the over lengthy CGI scenes.
The CGI was undoubtedly stunning; the 3D effects were outstanding and had great depth with an almost lifelike quality to them. The scenes of Nepal portrayed were astute and flattering. The kaleidoscopic rotation of the NYC landscape was as enchanting as it was captivating. Sadly enough, the visual aspect of the movie was its best part. Wait, I take that back. The best part was Chris Hemsworth as Thor in the cameo, providing us a hint to what's happening in the upcoming Marvel movies.
That brings me to my next point, Dr. Strange as a superhero is not someone you would root for, or in my case, fantasize about dating. His cloak, in fact, is much more appealing than the hero himself. This makes me reiterate my previous statement, the script should have focused on character development because empathy is what makes Marvel superheroes endearing. Thor's banishment and subsequent penance, Hulk's fear of hurting people, Wolverine's agony filled unending life and Iron Man in his entirety – these are some traits that made us love the previous superheroes. Dr. Strange has no such traits in his arsenal. If you ease your eyes and look, you would see that in his cloak and superhero suit combination Dr. Strange looks like Iron Man from several angles, even the facial hair is exactly the same.
The thing I loved about the movie was that it ventured into the metaphysical universe and focused on spirituality and the wonderful human psyche which has always been a personal fascination of mine.
The character of The Ancient One played by Tilda Swinton is nearly flawless, right up to the point where she is stabbed and killed off in a sequence that seems unnecessary. It is true that unless the mentor is dead or incapacitated the mentee cannot realize his true powers, but unlike most Marvel movies, this trope seems excessively forced here. We didn't even get the time to marvel at The Ancient One's staggering power and agility.
Another thing that makes Marvel movies, well marvelous, is the presence of a slick villain whom you love to hate and hate to love. Loki, Ivan Venko, you name it. Dr Strange lacked in this department too. Dormammu, while powerful, was not slick enough and his Zealots appeared like the minions they were, right from the start. I suppose that might change in the sequel when Mordu becomes the villain that we would love to hate.
The dialogs are pretty good, especially the sass that oozes out of the side characters, in particular, Mordu with his Wi-Fi password, Wong with his stoic face (#restingbitchfacegoals) and every other dialog of The Ancient One. It is a onetime watch especially if you are following the Avengers- Infinity Stone plot line and for the stunning visual effects.
· PLOT – 4/10 · COSTUME – 7/10 · ACTING – 5/10 · DIALOG – 7/10 · SCREENPLAY – 9/10
· OVERALL RATING – 6.4/10
What changes would you have made to the movie? What was your favorite part? Tell us in comments below.
While going to see the movie after several good reviews, I was pondering as to why capable actors accept these type of movie(where the scope of acting and thus challenge is minimal. At that time, I reached a conclusion that comic book characters are not any less creative than your regular movie characters. In fact they are product of a far wider (and sometimes wilder) imagination, giving actors opportunity to portray something they never thought of in their life. Hence it's a good enough motivation(of course the number one motivation is big money in the big blockbuster franchise).
As I started watching the movie, I realized in the opening sequence itself that this isn't going to be amazing. And the reason being, while the special effects looked real, they didn't felt real -- neither to me or the actors who were supposed to be in a warped 'building-bending' realm. Why? Because there were no stakes. If you ask yourself, is building bending upside down world adding anything to the chase? It wasn't making it difficult for anyone. Compare this to the Inception, where there was a race for lives against time. This was like, 'Oh, let me twist things a little' **wink, finger snap.
The story was very generic, bland and frankly it looked like it's assembled as per the standard operating procedure of Marvel Studio. I did not find the character of Dr. Strange intriguing. He acted well, but could not make me seriously care for him(part of the reason being the funny lines whenever things went towards serious.) When you don't look or act like a real person(I know it's about a Sorcerer, yeah, I know), I can't care for you like a real person. Therefore I wont' care if you die halfway (although, I know you won't die halfway because it's already announced that Dr Strange in next MCU movie) People are praising Tilda Swinton for her role, which I did not find charismatic at all. She looked like a lizard and not the Sorcerer Supreme they said she was. Compare this to Master Li Mu Bai in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, he nailed the role as a superior skilled master. (And if you can notice, he is Asian, unlike Tilda Swinton). The villain(s) were weak and other supporting characters were forgettable. I feel sorry for Rachel McAdams, her role was the worst.
So in all, it wasn't a bad movie, but it wasn't a satisfying movie. It felt like a fast food item. It has some taste but no nutrition. And just like fast food, people are addicted to these type of movies and they are making tons of money for their studios. Marval has perfected this crime and DC wants to do the same. I have no idea, why people are writing good reviews for these big budget, blockbuster franchise movies. They does nothing more than burning your pockets and killing your brain cells.
Commonsense will tell you that this Marvel material is beyond any sensible retelling, as there is not enough acid to go around. So relax and enjoy the ride.
The plot and screenplay are totally built by the numbers, so you will feel as if you have seen the film many many times before. It shares with most bad films a feeling that it is just a flow of disconnected scenes.
And yet the reason why this works is entirely because the special effects and the actors meld into the MCU so nicely that all the scenes lose concrete meaning. In a film about mystic dimensions, this works in the films favour. Your lack of engagement kind of backs the premise, and the relaxed pace draws you into a stupor. But unlike the overly silly Guardians of the Galaxy, this takes itself seriously enough.
Even the fact that the film is copying Batman Begins, Big Trouble in Little China, the Matrix and to a lesser extent Inception just let you relax into it even more. You will learn nothing, yet be entertained.
(Note: I'm trying to go spoiler-free with this review, and have clicked "spoilers" just to hedge my bets in case I fail.)
I went into this movie with *very* high expectations; not since 2013's"Pacific Rim" have I been this excited about a movie. Maybe it's my own fault that I left the theater with a faintly bittersweet feeling. There's nothing *wrong* with the movie at all (save one detail which I'll mention toward the end of this writing); I found it enjoyable on nearly all possible levels. But something very small seemed to be missing. Maybe I'm just spoiled, demanding the impossible and then complaining when the merely extraordinary is delivered. Maybe the film is a slightly more cerebral experience than I'm used to, and failed to deliver as visceral a thrill as I'm used to getting (meaning that it didn't fail, it simply wasn't trying to do the same thing as most movies, and should be lauded for that originality). Maybe the film's remarkably exciting trailer, by showing nearly every one of the most dazzling scenes in the film (with just two major exceptions that I can think of; again, I'll address them shortly), used up so much of my potential "wow factor" that I was left with little sense of discovery. Or maybe this flick is a fine illustration of a puzzling phenomenon proposed by YouTube's Nostalgia Critic: the "So Good It's Bad" film, whose very perfection dooms it to elude true greatness. Whatever the reason, I was slightly underwhelmed as the eye-popping title card sequence, and the first of the film's two post-credits scenes (a highly amusing exchange which clearly exists to set up the MCU's next entry), were replaced with the utterly prosaic full credits. I spent the time these were rolling largely "checked out", reflecting on all that I had just seen. As I mentioned above, if you've seen the trailer, you missed very little of consequence from the actual movie; the opening sets up Doctor Stephen Strange's initial characterization quite ably, and the process of getting him turned into a mystical superhero takes a bit long, but is by no means boring in the process - there's a workmanlike competence to these scenes which isn't exciting, but gets its job done well. A highly unusual fight scene in the middle is one of the signs that this isn't just another superhero flick; one of the few things about the movie which isn't hinted at by the trailer at all, this scene stands out as one of the movie's absolute highlights, lending further credence to my theory that the trailer may have revealed a few too many of the film's mysteries, and thus be partly responsible for my slightly lukewarm feeling as it ended. The other big, impressive scene (which actually did manage to blow my mind a little, while most of the rest left me feeling sadly jaded) is the final confrontation, and you can probably guess who is involved; I won't name the character, just in case you'd prefer to try and be surprised by their eminently predictable inclusion, but I will say that they were *much* better done than I expected, diverging from the relatively underwhelming comic book version into something truly inspired. Without revealing too much, I can say that this moment really tells us who Doc Strange is as a character ("It's *Doctor*", he would himself insist); the way he deals with his foe is classically fitting for this character, and makes the difference between him and typical superhero fisticuffs eminently clear. (The rest of the movie hedges its bets a little in this regard, but at least they did it right in the place where it really counts.) So like I said, everything was looking great as the credits wrapped up, even manage to amuse me more than a little with something that certainly wasn't meant as a joke. (It's the last line of text on the screen, you can't miss it.) And then came our final glimpse of the film's universe, up until its inevitable sequel. This has the distinction of being, to the best of my recollection, the first time that an end-credits sequence has actually significantly changed my opinion of the movie it's attached to. Without revealing exactly what happens, I can say that it takes something which was very well done earlier in the film, and sours it in a way I found extremely unsatisfying. Given that I suspect my "less-than-perfect" verdict, as mentioned above, is largely my own fault and not the movie's, I'd probably have felt comfortable ranking the film as a 10 (since IMDb doesn't allow "9.5" as an option). This one scene outright costs the film its tenth star (or 8.6th and up, to be more accurate); I feel that the entire Dr. Strange franchise would have been better off without it. Bottom line, very good movie; perfection eludes it, possibly from a lack of restraint among the marketing team, but more likely because of one poor decision in the vein of "twist endings" (which, many of my favorite pop-culture commentators have observed, often were not well thought out, causing problems with the movie as a whole). Absolutely worth your time to see at least once; I advise that you not make the mistake I did, of saving a few bucks on the ticket and watching the normal film. While I cannot comment on the technical quality of the 3D, it would at least have shown me a more impressive version of the scenes I'd already seen in the trailer, so that I'd have spent less time partially tuned out by their familiarity. Given that I was already paying a high ticket price (this was not a cheap theater), $3 would certainly be worth it, for what could be a far more memorable experience.
After the success of Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, Marvel Studios started looking at all of those comic book characters previously thought to be too niche to be made into movies through a different lens. Now not just the Iron Men and Batmans get their own movies but also the little guys as well. This means we are bound to get come good copy cat movies and some bad ones. I am here to tell you where Doctor Strange falls on this spectrum.
Benedict Cumberbatch at first seemed like a strange(no pun intended) choice to me when it was first announced. Not that Ben would not be able to handle the role but he seems to me like the kind of guy who would feel above such roles. Cumberbatch brings a sort of legitimacy to the table that other than Robert Downey Jr. I don't think we have seen in a Marvel movie. This guy brings it and never feels out of place. He is funny and charming which seems like a must for a Marvel movie at this point but Cumberbatch elevates the playing field here. The rest of the cast is also filled out with studs such as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton and Rachel McAdams. I can't say a bad thing about one of them and this movie is no different. I can appreciate the diversity of the cast, even though Tilda Swintons' character may be a bit white washed.
As shown in trailers and other countless promotional material, director Scott Derrickson uses some pretty impressive visual effects to morph the world of the movie. I originally thought this would become intrusive and headache inducing but it is used well. It seemed that just before I would start getting dizzy the world would snap back to normal. I can also appreciate that even when the world is spinning and the background turns into something out of a Spirograph, that all the action is clearly visible. So many action scenes are ruined by shaking the camera all over the place and I am very much in the camp that likes to see what the hell is going on.
As far as the story goes no new ground is being broken here. It follows the formula that has been cemented into the super hero movie genre. The hero's journey where two thirds into the movie the hero discovered that the villain he has been fighting pales in comparison to the power of the real evil that has been controlling our secondary villain the whole movie. Then it seems like the way to defeat the main villain is solved much quicker than the semi-villain. I know writers were brought in to try to punch up the script pretty late in the project but they were not able to save the ending from being somewhat underwhelming.
With all of the enjoyable things that Doctor Strange does and the small list of thing is does wrong you would think Doctor Strange would be getting a better score from me. My problem lies in the fact that these super hero movies are starting to feel very cookie cutter to me. There are not many risks being taken in these movies and they just want to find a way to keep giving people the same things with different utility belt wrappings. To be fair the other side of the spectrum is DC who can't seem to figure out not only how to make a good movie but just a movie that does not seem to spit in the face of the source material. Doctor Strange is not as good as the Guardians of the Galaxy's and Ant-Mans of the world but it is certainly better than Suicide Squad and Batman Vs. Superman which is good enough for at least some of my approval.
The Sorcerer Supreme Makes His Big Screen Debut For Marvel!
Can you believe it folks? We have truly come a long way. Can you believe that Doctor Strange is the 14th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? At this point, you would think that some of these Marvel Studio films would get a little predictable, feel a little stale, and seem like there are no other areas to explore. On the other hand, Marvel has been doing a very well job of introducing lesser-known heroes, mixing up the genre, and finding a way to change up there formatting and still stay fresh. Doctor Strange is the 14th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and with films like this, I want to say cheers to another 14. This film is the freshest thing Marvel has done since Guardians of the Galaxy!
Dr. Stephen Strange played by Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game, Star Trek Into Darkness), is a successful yet arrogant doctor. One night, life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.
Get Spellbound With Doctor Strange!
For those who may not know who Doctor Strange is, let me drop some quick nerd knowledge on yah. Dr. Strange first popped out of the glorious head of legendary comic book artist Steve Ditko, and comic book legend Stan Lee (a pairing best known for Spider-Man). Dr. Strange appeared in 1963, around the time Harvard fired Timothy Leary and a colleague for conducting experiments with hallucinogens. In interviews, early comic book writer for Dr. Strange Roy Thomas has mentioned that it was trippy visuals, the drugs of the 60s, high on shrooms, hallucinations, Chandu the Magician, Egyptian myths, cosmology, acid, and more that has inspired such a legendary character, that we still love to this day.
Now Doctor Strange may be Marvel's best looking movie, however it is not Marvel's best film. The first thing we have to talk about are the visuals, because this film has some really spectacular visuals. The buildings gnarl and twist like segments of a Rubik's Cube. Balconies become playgrounds, they buckle over and start spinning, threatening to smash down on various characters like a maniacal rolling pin. Gravity flips and shifts with each camera angle as the goons look like inebriated hamsters on a wheel. The basic physics concepts you are used to no longer work in the way you have been taught. It is like watching reality tear itself apart.
The director, Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Day The Earth Stood Still) has crafted a beautiful world. Filled with color, snazzy visuals, and style. The cinematography is literally some of the best work I have seen out of Marvel. I truly believe that this film could be nominated for visual effects! Similarly, I know many people are comparing the visuals to The Matrix and Inception. Even though it takes inspiration from those films, it is not completely ripping them off. The magic and sorcery are just so enchanting to look at whenever it shows up on screen. I usually like to watch regular 2D movies. On the other hand, I usually would not recommend this but if you can see this movie in 3D you should. This is the type of film you want to see in your face!
Benedict Cumberbatch is literally a perfect Doctor Strange. He looks just like the character in the comics. He is funny (Doctor Strange likes Beyonce), confused, has intellect, arrogant, and passionate. This character is extremely relatable to a majority of people, and that is why we feel something for the character. Before this film started shooting the rumor going around was Jared Leto, Adrien Brody, and Joaquin Phoenix were all considered for the role. In addition, even though all those actors are extremely talented. I am glad they went with Mr. Cumberbatch. Also, in my opinion Chiwetel Ejiofor (Triple 9, 12 Years A Slave) always performs as if he is wanting to win an Oscar. Every time he is on screen, he gives a spectacular performance.
If You Have Seen Other Superhero Films (Especially Marvel) Doctor Strange Will Come Off Familiar
Once again, my only complaint with Marvel is they rush the origin story and have a somewhat forgettable villain. The villains are getting a little bit more well rounded, however, the villain in this movie played by Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Hannibal), and for someone named Mads he comes off a little easy going for a villain.
So these are my final B*tchin' Buddha thoughts on Doctor Strange. It has a very cool character, it is another great adaption in the M.C.U., it has wonderful visuals, and I think most people will enjoy it. I am more than proud to give Doctor Strange a…
9 out of 10!
Thank you all for reading and or viewing, and I hope you all have an amazing day as always, and remember don't just get down, but get Boogie.
Doctor Strange is the 14th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo, Rachel McAdams as Christine, and Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius. This movie is a different take on the superhero genre as it ventures into the fantasy world of magic. Thankfully, this film provides yet another great entry into the entry into the highest grossing movie franchise of all time.
For the most part this movie does a very good job of introducing audiences to the character of Doctor Strange. Other than scientific experiments, other worldly entities, or advanced technology Doctor Strange's plot involved Magic. This is something completely new to audiences as the paranormal side of this genre was previously unheard of. After a devastating car crash Doctor Strange loses his career as a surgeon. When western medicine fails him he travels to Asia in order to be healed by other methods. The other methods or magic here is taught to Strange by the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). Once Strange is introduced to magic this story truly takes off and becomes interesting.
While the first half hour of this film is completely necessary to introduce the character of Doctor Strange, I felt that the plot dragged a bit. I was not truly engulfed by this film until the magical elements were introduced and thus the pacing drags in the beginning. After that however viewers are thrown into the mystical world of Magic. This magical world is a visual feast. While I do not often talk about visuals in films, I can honestly say that this film blew me away. The CGI, style, and visual effects here are astounding. There are some truly mind bending visuals here including buildings shifting and turning inside out, extra dimensional travel, and even characters floating outside of their bodies. Action scenes in this movie are also very well-choreographed and extremely stylish. This kind of visual spectacle hasn't been seen since the film "Inception" and for that I completely praise the movie. Along with the visuals we're treated with a great soundtrack full of classic hits that viewers are sure to be pleased with.
Long before the production of this movie began fans have been saying that Benedict Cumberbatch should play Doctor Strange and they could not have been more right. Cumberbatch does an excellent job of portraying the arrogant yet humorous Strange. The transformation between egotistical asshole to dimension bending sorcerer supreme would not have been possible without Cumberbatch's great performance. Along with Cumberbatch Rachel McAdams plays the love interest in this movie. While it could be argued that her part in this movie is necessary, I believe that her character simply did not serve a purpose in the film. While her performance was not bad by any means, the character simply felt shoehorned in so that Strange would have a love interest (like almost every Marvel superhero to date). Wong (played by Benedict Wong) is a great side character and provides some much-needed comic relief. Also, Tilda Swinton who plays the Ancient One does a fantastic job of portraying a character who was originally an old Tibetan man in the comic books. This was a change that I was unsure of going into the film, but I was ultimately satisfied with. Unfortunately, the villain character of Kaecilius is rather weak. His motives are quite clear, yet is criminally underdeveloped which is a shame because Mads Mikkelsen is one of the most talented actors out there.
Scott Derrickson's horror background grants this film an eerie tone, with several disturbing and frightening images. Overall however, these horror elements lend themselves rather well to the story and Derrickson's directing is quite impressive. This film does a very good job of differentiating itself from the rest of the Marvel universe and standing on its own. The great acting, visual effects, and story here are more than enough to carry Doctor Strange past being just another superhero blockbuster. Doctor Strange is a movie that audiences will most likely remember thanks to its intriguing story line and visual effects. Score: 8/10
I stated just a short while ago that one doesn't go to see movies in order to learn deep philosophical truth. I still think its true, but that doesn't mean that a good movie, every now and again, can't say something deep and meaningful. You just have to be there watch and listen, it doesn't even have to spoil the fun.
And this movie is fun. It's a visual spectacle, with CG pushed to its limits. With fine acting from the entire cast, having great characters written down for them, and I said more than once - you give good actors well written characters and they can do wonders with it. And here we got Benedict Cumberbatch excelling as the egotistical Dr. Strange, because he was given the best tools to do it. Same is true of Chiwetel Ejiofor who was given in one short film more depth than I ever saw in the comics book, though I must admit I'm not very well versed with this specific comics - I read only two or three Dr Strange issues and most of what I know of the sorcerer supreme stems from his many team ups and from the Defenders. I still appreciate the subtle way in which the script gave depth to all the leading characters.
But most of all I enjoyed the fact that beyond the platitudes that come with the territory of every eastern mystical tale, there was some real depth here, and it was delivered with subtlety, the way it should be delivered. Namely, always remember that most of the time its not about you. Or me for all that matter.
Meet neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange. He is as egocentric as any politician, yet as clever at his job as any detective. The well- acclaimed British actor Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game, Sherlock) takes the stage in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to depict one of the cleverest caped crusaders within the franchise. He is certainly a delight as always, but it's the unusual approach to Doctor Strange that may either paralyze you with amazement or scare you away.
His life at this point is pretty normal: go to work, save a life, have a fight with his nagging coworker/girlfriend played by Academy Award nominee Rachel McAdams (Midnight in Paris, Spotlight), cherry pick the patients he wishes to save, and gloat about the spectacular perfection that is his life. That is, until an uncalled for car crash leaves his hands paralyzed with severe nerve damage.
…Which leads him to Nepal, where an Ancient One is said to be there with knowledge of spiritual healing. It's not in his comfort zone but hey? What has he got to lose?
So he goes under spiritual training by a cult, receiving far more than he bargained for. Next thing he knows, he is dawned with the abilities to remove his spirit from his material body, create portals in midair, and fly with the powers of a levitating cape, and all in an effort to save the world from an outer demon.
My biggest problem with this highly entertaining (and funny) addition to the MCU is its swaying away from the familiar gadgets and aliens of the previous films and more into an out-of-place exploration of man's relationship with the occult. It's not odd to say, especially considering that they do not do a very good job at portraying it.
Normally, if there was a cult such as this one who depend on old spiritual tradition, why are they of all different races around the world? We have one White woman, one Black man, and one Asian, and several others who are from places I cannot possibly pinpoint. It may not matter to you, but this really hurts the film's believability.
Although I do give director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) credit for telling the story as if it were a real Buddhist or Hindu legend, while at the same time a part of our own modern culture. He does this best through the most obvious yet brilliantly executed way of combining the two: colorful trips through the spiritual universe that wows you off guard, especially when viewed behind 3-D glasses. While not in the infinite realms of the non-materialistic universe, Dr. Strange and his comrades fight against the assassins of time and space through showcases of city environments spinning and losing form within itself, as if you're watching Inception though a kaleidoscope.
Older traditions of Hindu training are also exploited here in the same fashion done by The Matrix: Dr. Strange is thrown to the top of Mt. Everest to test how quickly he can form a portal back to base. It would generate shrieks of joy from all anime fans, but it later turns out to be a missed chance of character development, which leads into this film's biggest problem…
With something as controversial and delicate as occult practices driving the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I doubt there could be a reasonable way to do something like this under Marvel's wing perfectly. I do appreciate the risks that they have been taking to be different with each of their films (just compare and contrast Guardians of the Galaxy with Captain America: Civil War for a minute). But frankly, some risks are not worth taking. It was worth it to create the mind- bending kaleidoscopic fight sequences, but when Marvel's name is attached, I do not believe that it would help with their branding.
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