Does Marvel deliver another successful film with its recent adaptation of Doctor Strange? Check out our review of Doctor Strange.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is rapidly approaching its 10-year anniversary with the original release of Iron Man back in 2008. The phase one MCU films that started with Iron Man now span almost a decade and are still going strong. With Marvels newest film Doctor Strange being released as the 14th installment in the MCU, and the fact that the quality has remained so strong and continues to gain momentum is a feat in and of itself. Doctor Strange is a film that I personally knew very little about. I also wasn’t familiar at all with the source material or any of the lore within the Doctor Strange universe. The fact that I had no expectations for this film made it all the better and ultimately the film ended up being one of the favorite movies that I’ve seen this year. Going to see Doctor Strange for the first time reminded me of when I saw Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. Both films exceeded my expectations and sparked my interest in learning more about the characters presented in the films. Marvel just seems to understand how to develop both well-known and more obscure characters while also presenting them in unique and believable ways. The fact that Marvel has a seemingly unlimited amount of characters and stories to tell both on screen and off screen makes me exited for the future of the Super Hero genre.
Doctor Strange has an exceptional cast and includes in no particular order Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen and Benedict Wong. Each actor does an amazing job at portraying their character and in some instances providing humor along the way. My favorite aspect about Doctor Strange was the characters and the fact that they were complex and not one dimensional. The film does a wonderful job at providing insight and realistic motivations for most of the characters. The way the film initially sets up the main protagonist Doctor Steven Strange was interesting and towards the beginning of the film I disliked his character overall. This unique way of introducing an audience to a new character in the MCU ultimately worked for this film and made the character more believable and human. The main antagonist presented in Doctor Strange is Kaecilius and for the most part he wasn’t interesting and fell somewhat flat as compared to the other characters in the film. The other villain referenced throughout the film and who serves as the main motivation for Kaecilius is Dormammu. Dormammu poses much more of a threat overall but is barely used and only shows up towards the latter half of the film. Another element that I particularly enjoyed in Doctor Strange was the humor. The fact that this film doesn’t take itself too seriously made me enjoy it even more. Overall, the characters in Doctor Strange were one of its strongpoints and I hope we can see more Doctor Steven Strange in future movies within the MCU.
The story in Doctor Strange centers around Steven Strange who is an arrogant and over confident neuro surgeon. Strange eventually has an accident towards the beginning of the film and loses some functions in his hands. Because of his accident and his need of healing he comes to meet with the Ancient one who is played by Tilda Swinton. This happenstance meeting changes the Doctor’s life and sets up the story for the rest of the film. My only complaint with the story was the pace. At some points in the film it became somewhat difficult to keep up with the story and all the characters that were being introduced. I think this is a problem with not only Marvel films but todays films in general. There were also a few characters in the film that didn’t get much screen time and overall didn’t add much to the narrative of the film, this didn’t affect the film too much but was a small compliant overall. The world of Doctor Strange is great and the film does an excellent job at juxtaposing mysticism with its real-world counterpart. The way Doctor Strange blends magic and real world scenarios together was interesting and a joy to watch. The score in Doctor Strange is also good (albeit not near as good as Guardians of the Galaxy) and it provided many memorable tunes that did fit the aesthetic of the Doctor Strange universe.
The special effects and CGI in Doctor Strange were also fantastic. The way the film shifted buildings and aspects of the real world reminded me a lot of the film Inception. The cinematography in Doctor Strange is commendable and many of the locations used provided culture and realism to the mystical nature of the narrative. The perspective shifts of some of the iconic cities were cool to watch and the way the characters manipulated matter and time lent well to most of the fighting scenes. The Ancient One actually had many of my favorite scenes and was one of the strongest characters when it came to the actual fighting in the film. The martial arts and choreography for the fight scenes were one of this films strongpoints and provided many great moments throughout.
Overall I enjoyed Doctor Strange and in my opinion the film stands out from other movies within the MCU. The film provides a unique and interesting world and introduces an awesome cast of characters to an all new audience that may not be familiar with the prior source material. Hopefully with the success of this film Marvel can create sequels and find clever ways to use Doctor Strange in other MCU movies.