“Doctor Strange” stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton. Released on November 4, 2016, the film is about a neurosurgeon who practices the mystic arts after a career-ending car accident.
The film is directed by Scott Derrickson, who also directed films such as The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, and Deliver Us from Evil. It is the fourteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film series and the second film in its Phase Three line-up. Phase Three has gone off to a great start thanks to the likes of Captain America: Civil War back in May. While we wait for the Avengers to calm themselves, especially Tony Stank...uh, excuse me, Tony Stark, the MCU decided to introduce us to a new superhero. Yes, my friends, Doctor Strange is finally getting his own big screen treatment. However, like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, not a lot of people are familiar with this Marvel character. I’ve only heard of him from the animated Marvel shows that I watch on television, which is one of the reasons why I was looking forward to this film. The MCU was very lucky with the box office returns of Guardians and Ant-Man, but will that trend continue with Doctor Strange? Let’s find out.
The story in this film is basically like any other superhero origin stories that we’ve seen before. There’s nothing too special about it nor is it fresh by any means, but it doesn’t affect the film that much. Yes, it can be predictable at some points, but it managed to pull me in to this world just like the other installments in the MCU. Cumberbatch takes on the role as Stephen Strange, a neurosurgeon who loses the ability to use his hands after a stunning accident ruined his career. I really like the actor in some of his other movies, so I’m glad that he’s joining the MCU. I got to admit, he did not disappoint me at all. I thought he did a wonderful job portraying this character. The rest of the cast did a great job as well, such as McAdams as Christine, Ejiofor as Mordo, Wong as Wong, and Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One. The introduction to magic and other dimensions for the first time in the MCU was a welcome addition to the franchise since the other installments use science fiction elements and realistic storytelling. The reason? Its use of visuals. They...were...amazing. Combining them with the action and its story can create a pretty awesome experience that must be seen on the biggest screen possible. It’s like as though the visual effects team have been taking inspiration from Christopher Nolan’s Inception...and made it better. Yeah, that’s right, I compared the visuals from a Marvel film to the visuals from Inception. It’s Marvel’s version of Inception. There’s this one sequence that almost made me feel like I was on an acid trip...without taking so many drugs, and honestly, it blew my mind (Not literally, ew...). Of course, like the previous installments, the movie does have its share of comedy. There were plenty of moments that would make people laugh, including Wong, but if you’re starting to get tired of Marvel’s light-hearted humor, then you might not like it in this one.
There were a couple of things that could’ve been a bit better, besides the predictable origin storyline and its villain, in my opinion. The pacing in this film was a bit rushed, especially during the first act, and I would like to see a bit more of Strange before the car accident. There’s also this relationship between Strange and Christine that didn’t really offer that much depth, but it was decent nonetheless.
Overall, while the story didn’t offer anything new to its magical concept, the strengths of “Doctor Strange” come from Cumberbatch’s title role and its well-crafted visuals. It doesn’t reach the heights of other great superhero origin films like Iron Man, but it does mark as a fine breather after the events of Civil War. Fans of the MCU will definitely like this film in terms of the visuals. Oh, and stay tuned during the end credits for two extra scenes that teases the future of Phase Three. Just putting it out there.