This film is an origin story about the lesser known superhero Dr. Steven Strange. He was originally a cocky and self-centered neurosurgeon, but undergoes a transformation when he breaks his hands in a car wreck and is forced to seek out healing from a sorcerer in Nepal. When a renegade sorcerer name Kaecilius steals a sacred spell and kills the sorcerer supreme, Doctor Strange needs to act fast to stop Kaecilius before he summons Dormammu, the evil spirit from the dark realm, that wants to destroy the earth.
Remember in 21 Jump Street when they take the drugs and start tripping out like crazy? That’s what the first couple action scenes felt like in Doctor Strange. It was kind of hard to follow at first, with the entire world around the characters constantly bending and warping. I ended up warming up to it after a while though.
Some of the components of character background were pretty cliche. The biggest one was the “Former prized student wants more power than the master is willing to teach so he takes matters into his own hands”. I know this is the backstory to the bad guy in quite a few action movies but I am currently blanking and the only one I can think of is Tai Lung from Kung Fu Panda.
Since there is so much sorcery and stuff in the movie, there is a LOT of CGI. At times it is pretty obvious that it is CGI so if you are one of those people that hates when the CGI makes a movie look a little less realistic,than that might bug you. It didn’t really take much away from the movie in my opinion though.
Guys, this movie is funny. Like not quite Deadpool funny but easily Ant-Man funny. I was kind of hoping they would take that approach because in my mind, it was really a necessity. Just like with Ant-Man, they were trying to make a superhero origin story about a character that is really seldom known about by most moderate Marvel Fans. So taking the comedic approach made it much more watchable than if it was a little darker, like Thor: Dark World. There were many funny moments that helped to lighten the mood in a potentially tense situation. This made it relatively light and I would even venture to say that it probably enjoyable for most kids. I’d probably let my 9 year old brother watch it if that says anything.
One thing that helped this movie’s cause is that they worked really hard so that it almost made sense. In any movie where they use the phrase “Space-time continuum” more than once, you can expect that the science in it is going to be really far fetched. An example of this is TMNT: Out of the Shadows that was released this summer. The science was so stupid that it just made everyone watched think “What the heck is going on?”. However, this film puts in the time to try to make a decent argument for why things should make sense. Don’t get me wrong, many things in Doctor Strange don’t make sense, but it just seems to take you to a place mentally where you are willing to let it slide and just enjoy because you want it to make sense since it’s so stinkin cool.
The acting was one of the biggest positives for me and it all starts with the man himself, Benedict Cumberbatch. Of course, everyone knows that he is great, but I was pleasantly surprised by how great all the other main characters were. I’m not the biggest Rachel McAdams fan but she does a solid job as the love interest. Benedict Wong was hilarious as Wong (just Wong, like Beyonce), and I absolutely loved Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance as Mordo. Not to mention Tilda Swinton in her second performance as the White Witch, or in this case, the yellow sorcerer supreme.
I was particularly impressed by how they did the big ending fight scene (or lack there of). It is really unique and unorthodox and it left me thinking two things: “Wow, Doctor Strange is a boss”, and “Wait, did he actually do anything?” It was serious, yet funny. Violent, yet light at the same time. Marvel did an awesome job breaking all superhero movie norms for a movie about a hero that in being himself breaks all kinds of superhero norms.
I don’t care if you are a Marvel die hard or if the only movies you watch are Chick Flicks. You are going to enjoy Doctor Strange. In terms of character diversity and story-line complexity it is what you might expect for an origin story in a character’s first ever appearance into the MCU. Benedict Cumberbatch gave us another gem with this movie so I will be telling just about anyone that it is worth the watch.