After the success of lesser known and more risky properties like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, does Marvel Studios have another hit on its hands with Doctor Strange?
Following this year’s mediocrely reviewed superhero movies, Doctor Strange is Marvel’s newest and shiniest superhero movie for 2016. One who is not directly linked to any of previous movie phases and introduces a character who will get fans excited that this could signal an exciting new direction for future Marvel releases.
Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is the personification of what the egotistical “best in the world at what he does” neurosurgeon. A man who must face up to the fact that he is truly insignificant when struck by misfortune and disability, after a near-fatal car crash. The repercussions of his accident drive a wedge between him and his previous love interest nurse Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams).
After exhausting all traditional avenues to heal his injuries, he is forced to pursue healing in a less conventional manor to what he would have followed for his entire life. This path leads him to the mountains of Timbuktu and a meeting with “The Ancient One” (A shaven Tilda Swinton) and her band of spiritual warriors. It is the job of these warriors, unknown to Strange at the beginning when he first sets out on his healing path that these warriors are fighting a spiritual war against a previous student of the Ancient One, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen). It is from here that the movie takes the ever-familiar path of Good vs. Evil found in all Marvel movies.
Strange soon learns that while the Avengers defend the earth against physical threats, it is the job of these warriors to defend it against mystical threats. Here they are fighting a spiritual war against a previous student of the Ancient One, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen).
This a truly one of the most exciting Marvel big screen releases and without doubt one that has to be seen in IMAX, if you can make it happen. Director Scott Derrickson does a great job of bringing home, what I personally believe to be, a great feature of Doctor Strange’s character. He was saving people’s lives on a regular basis, albeit through advanced medical procedures and not spiritual warfare. So even before Stephen Strange developed his new spiritual powers, he was a hero.
This is probably the most exciting cast that Marvel have assembled for any of their properties. Derrickson surrounds Benedict Cumberbatch with an amazing array of award winning actors. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton bring their star power to one of Marvel’s lesser-known characters.
What I see to be an annoying aspect, however, is that it does sometimes come across like they have taking Iron Man and switched him with the titular character here. It almost seems a little lazy from the writers even though it does lead to some humorous one-liners and witty remarks throughout the movie.
You can just imagine the studio heads deciding that they need to somehow replace Robert Downey Junior. So what do they need to do? How about clone Tony Stark, change his name, and dress him in some traditional robes. Leaving you with a decent representation of what Stephen Strange will be like.
This actually does a disservice to Benedict Cumberbatch as he is definitely on a charm offensive here. He and the rest of the cast are definitely a welcome addition to the future Marvel phases.
The interaction between the Ancient One and Doctor Strange provide awe-inducing sequences that make this a Marvel movie truly worthy of the big screen. A massive drawing point for this movie are the intense, mind-bending action scenes in which time and space are bent and played with right before the viewer’s eyes.
A scene that has the potential to truly impress is at the beginning when Strange is first introduced to The Ancient One. With Strange refusing to believe the teachings of The Ancient One, she is forced to show him. Leading to what some would describe as a sequence of Inception-esc trippiness for the audience to try and get their heads around.
The tie it up at the end, Doctor Strange is a fast paced, visually epic addition to the Marvel movies. It has the ability to have audiences in awe with its stunning visuals if they can look passed the small character flaws and somewhat predictable plot line courtesy of Marvel’s inherit core ideas. A good bet for an evening out, especially if you’re a Marvel fan.