Mystical, magical and graphic majesty, Marvel Studios has really and truly outdone themselves with the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange.
Welcome the Sorcerer Supreme
Doctor Steven Strange, world renowned neurosurgeon, is an arrogant self entitled man who loses everything when he lands himself in a car accident which costs him the use of his hands. Desperate to find a way regain what he has lost, Strange ventures out on a journey to find a healer in Tibet which leads to a faithed encounter with The Ancient One which forces him to open his eyes to see beyond himself as he is thrown into the world of the mystical arts.
As far as origin stories go, Doctor Strange does a great job of pacing itself. The opening moments of the film sets up the the conflict that drives the film. Strange himself is introduced at the pique of his original life and the transition from Doctor to Victim to Sorcerer is fluid and real. The film holds a certain transparency where in you can see the the motives of each the characters. With the exception of Kaecilius, the films villain, no time is wasted trying to figure out why the characters are doing the things they do which allows viewers to focus on what is actually going on.
Benedict Cumberbatch is the perfect Steven Strange. Despite how awkward it is to hear him speak in an american accent after seeing him in his past roles, Cumberbatch brings life to a character who has long been overlooked, undoubtedly making him a new fan favorite. Cumberbatch portrays Strange’s arrogance and sarcasm perfectly making for a very entertaining performance which both works for and against the film. While Benedict’s Strange is a stand out, the other characters appear lack luster.
Don’t misunderstand, the script was wonderfully written and each actor takes to their role splendidly, so what’s the problem? We don’t know them or get to know them. Rachel McAdams who plays Christine Palmer was so much fun, when her character came on screen you could feel the shift in the atmosphere. I honestly found myself looking forward to the next time she would make an appearance. The issue however is, after 1 hour and 55 minutes, we know nothing about Christine beyond the fact that she is a surgeon and Strange’s love interest.
The same can be said about many other characters in the show, Wong, Mordo and most upsetting of all Kaecilius. We meet these characters and they all serve their purpose, they all are portrayed beautifully but there is nothing that makes them particularly important beyond a few moments. Kaecilius will definitely become just another name on the long list of forgettable villains who have left little to no impact like that guy who did the thing no one cares about in one of those Iron Man movies. Then again, Kaecilius wasn’t the real villain story we should have been paying attention to. Marvel you sneaky bastards!
Honestly though, the character issue is just me nit picking as they all serve their purpose and propel the film to its astonishing finale. The real talking point from this film, without a doubt, not counting Benedict Cumberbatch being Benedict Cumberbatch, is definitely the breathtaking visuals effects. If you are prone to seizures, I do not recommend seeing this film. If you are on drugs or intoxicated, I do not recommend seeing this film. If you know where I can get myself some of that tea, call me up because I definitely need to be drinking some of that.
The visuals can honestly be described as Inception on steroids.
The colors, the dimensions and the constant movement, the fluidity of the transitions on screen. With the exceptions of a few awkward film moments such as Strange’s running scene in the New York Sanctum, the visuals were nearly flawless and most definitely helped the film stand out from anything else out today.
Marvel Phase 3
Doctor Strange marked the official launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 3 Project. The movie also marks the official introduction of magic and the mystical arts into the MCU as well as it is the first confirmation of the multiverse.
Sporting the new official Marvel Intro, the film maintains the continuity to the preexisting universe with a glimpse of Avenger’s Tower in the New York skyline, a sly reference to the Avenger’s world saving antics and the blatant reveal of the Time Infinity Gem. The films first post credit scene pushes Strange head first into what may be his first team up in the universe as well. With the ever expanding Netflix portion of the MCU which just recently added Luke Cage to its roster as well as Agent’s of SHIELD also toeing into the more mystical side of things with Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange is without a doubt a turning point in the MCU in and of himself.
Some are quickly becoming bored with the endless parade of Super Hero movies and shows but Marvel is evidently aware and determined to stand out. Marvel fan or not, super hero fan or not, this movie is worthy of viewing on the big screen. It is almost an . . . . out of body experience . . .
The visuals are just outstanding. Strange is heroic and arrogant and funny all in a perfect blend. The introduction of magic and dimensional theory makes this film feel fresh and different in the endless parade of Marvel content and the continuity with the rest of the MCU while simple will enthrall the fans who are determined to follow the connections to the end.
One of the best aspects of the movie however it tells not one but two origin stories at the same time. Introducing to and distracting us with Doctor Strange while still telling the story of how Baron Mordo will come to be.