Directed by Scott Derrickson
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton.
Wow. Marvel Studios. They just keep plugging along. For a guy who loves superhero films, we currently live in a golden age, so of course the question becomes, what new can we bring to the formula? As many have pointed out, we really haven’t tackled any magic-based heroes yet. Granted, Thor comes across as magic, but they’ve always written that off as “science so advanced it appears to be magic.” So it was time to start bringing in magic. And in Marvel Comics, the first and last name in magic-based heroes is Doctor Strange.
Doctor Stephen Strange is a highly gifted neurosurgeon, and his skill has made him cocky and arrogant. Until, one fateful night, and he’s in a car accident. Extensive nerve damage robs him of the steady hands a surgeon needs, and he begins searching for a cure to regain full use of his hands. His search eventually leads him to Tibet, and the hidden city of Kamar-Taj. But there, he finds more than a cure. The Ancient One opens Strange’s mind to the concept of other worlds and dimensions, and soon, Strange is studying the mystic arts. But, there is evil afoot. Kaecilius, a former disciple of the Ancient One, as stolen some ancient texts, and seeks to summon forth the demon Dormamu to bring about the end of the world. Will Doctor Strange be able to master the mystic arts to join fellow disciples Baron Mordo and Wong in the battle against Kaecilius and Dormamu?
What I Liked
There’s a lot of good in this movie. I like Cumberbatch, and he makes a great Strange, bring that same “smartest guy in the room” vibe that Cumberbatch brings to a lot of his roles. I like the character arc they give to Baron Mordo. In the comics, he is Doctor Strange’s arch-enemy, so I like that he starts as a friend and ally to Strange, and this becomes very much Mordo’s origin story, too. And visually, this film is dazzling. The animators had a hell of a time depicting the other realms. Visually, this is the most striking film that Marvel has done.
What I Didn’t Like
It’s kind of Marvel’s curse that the villains aren’t as memorable as the heroes, and we barely get a chance to know Kaecilius and his motivations. And yeah, there’s a formula in place for superhero films now, and it follows the formula pretty closely.
Enough new twists on the superhero formula to give us another solid outing from Marvel Studios