Doctor Strange takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe and takes it to a new level that we have had yet to see while giving us a great origin story for a new character.
So to say for me, as a fan, that the stakes were high with this film is putting it lightly. In the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s inception, we were only limited to certain heroes having powers, stopping intergalactic and domestic threats. Then came Thor and the elements of magic started to show. The Thor movies were used to introduce us to other realms outside of Earth. Doctor Strange shows us there are even larger forces at work.
Doctor Strange opens with a magical heist as Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelson), a servant of the evil being known as Dormammu, and his cohorts steal pages from a book of forbidden arts. He is pursued by The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) but is able to escape from her grasp. It is then that we’re introduced to Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) a very gifted neurosurgeon with a serious lack of modesty. After a horrific car accident, his hands are crippled with no sign of recovery. Exhausting all his resources in search of a cure, he learns of a possible cure from a man who was previously a paraplegic but somehow was granted his mobility again. At this point, Stephen goes in search of the mystical hidden place of Kamar-Taj. Upon finding Kamar-Taj, Strange meets Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who brings him to an audience with The Ancient One. It takes some convincing but The Ancient One, eventually, agrees to take Strange on as a student.
Now this movie does everything I want in a Marvel origin movie. Does Benedict Cumberbatch capture the character? Yes he does. Does the costume translate well on screen, through the changes they make? Absolutely! As I say in the video review, below, Strange’s costumes from past comics have had a history of looking silly. If Marvel had kept the same costume from the comics, it could’ve looked really off. Therefore, the changes made were necessary...
As for the region, we get a really accurate depiction of Kamar-Taj. This location is pivotal to Strange’s development, and they nailed it. During his training, Mordo and The Ancient One’s technique look to be finer in construction, showing their standing. On the other hand, Cumberbatch does a great job making Strange’s arrogance charming and not as jerky as it could come off. In the comics, Doctor Strange hasn’t been the most popular Marvel series so I believe there was a lot of room for the actors to expand the characters and make them their own.
Effects wise, this movie just wows me. When they are using their powers, the effect seems dangerous like it’s tearing away at the area around them. The way it looks to be dripping with an excess energy as they make these intricate designs, is astounding. What floored me the most was when reality begins to bend and reshape. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen since Christopher Nolan’s Inception. In fact, some could say Doctor Strange pulls it off better than the former.
Doctor Strange is an origin story, through and through. It gets the Marvel Cinematic Universe back to introducing characters, while paving the way for a more expansive universe. Cumberbatch gets the character and does a fantastic job portraying him. Most stories have the character learning more humility after all that they go through but Strange still retains his arrogance, albeit in a charming way. Chiwetel Ejiofor is one of my favorite actors and this movie establishes him as a hero to eventual rival of Strange, and I can’t wait to see him taking on a more sinister persona, as he does in the comics.
Overall as an introduction for magic to the Marvel Universe, Doctor Strange is a success. Also, the teaser at the end is what it should be used for. It sets up Thor: Ragnarok and what Thor’s motivations would be. Plus, we don’t get just one scene. We’re privy to TWO end of credit scenes. I won’t spoil it for you but the latter has something to do with what I’ve previously mentioned. Doctor Strange is just a great Marvel film that only adds to the lore of the MCU. It makes you wonder how big this plan of theirs is going to go. To Infinity? Beyond? Okay that last part is corny. Feel free to to check out my video review above!