Strange may be a good description of this particular Marvel film for many viewers that aren’t familiar with this hero of the comic book universe, however, it is strange in the best way.
Doctor Stephen Strange is a brilliant, and egocentric, surgeon. When he gets in a car crash, his hands are crushed and, after numerous surgeries, he is told he won’t ever operate again. In order to find a way to heal them, he travels to Nepal to seek the help of mystics, and discovers other dimensions and the wizards that protect Earth from threats that dwell there.
Doctor Strange is one trippy, fun-filled ride. The visual effects are awesome, and the cast is excellent. I only know about Doctor Strange peripherally – I didn’t read the comic, but I knew about the character from other titles I read where he might appear briefly. So, I had a slight advantage being aware of him, but the film certainly doesn’t require you to know anything beforehand.
The actors are all spot-on. Benedict Cumberbatch does a superb American accent, and he is perfectly cast here. His journey from ego-centric prick to learning to put others first is actually well-plotted. Mads Mikkelsen is excellent as antagonist Kaecilius, a wizard that has joined the side of Dormammu, a warlord from an alternate dimension called the “Dark Dimension”, who is bent on possessing worlds, including Earth. The only thing I might say is that we could have used maybe a bit more of Mikkelsen. His screen time was a little light.
The action sequences are cool and the use of visual effects were inventive. Kind of other-worldly without being so far out into left field to alienate your audience. This can be said for all the visual choices. They really found interesting ways to twist everything you see and frankly, I’d love to know how some of this film was shot. I heard the budget was about 165 million and I suspect it was mostly production design/visual effects, and complicated green screen shots.
Either way, Doctor Strange is a marvel to behold (no pun intended) and a fun film – I’ll need a second viewing for sure. It also should be noted that the film is pretty funny. There are some great opportunities for humor and writers Jon Spaights, Scott Derrickson (also director) and C. Robert Cargill make the most of them.
I’m not even going to get into the argument about Tilda Swinton playing The Ancient One. I understand the argument, I’m just not going to delve into it. She was great, regardless of whether you think the role should have gone to someone more race appropriate.
I really dug Doctor Strange and give it a solid four kittenhands. Obviously, stick around for the stingers – yes, two of them. They give you an idea of how Doctor Strange’s world mixes with the rest of the Marvel Universe.
~ Neil T Weakley, your average movie-goer, really looking forward to Thor: Ragnarok!