Doctor Strange is the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and attempts to introduce us into the more mystical and magical side of the Marvel world.Considering that a few years ago Marvel put out a film featuring a talking racoon and tree duo, it’s quite a statement to say that Doctor Strange is the biggest leap of faith that has been asked of the audience to date.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has already introduced the idea of godlike characters like Thor, and Space has been touched on by Guardians and even the Avengers movies. Magic and the idea of multiple realities is something completely new, and Marvels Doctor Strange is a bold step into this unknown area, and it doesn’t pull any punches and throws just as many trippy and insane visuals as the comics pages did.
When the role of Doctor Strange was being cast my mind first went straight to Benedict Cumberbatch, as in my head he has the right balance of charming, intelligence and kookiness needed to bring the character to life. When he was cast I was very happy and immediately my excitement shot up for this, as it brought a certain credibility to the film that may have been missing if a lesser known actor had been cast.
His casting was completely justified, as he gives possibly the best introductory performance since Robert Downey Jr in the MCU kick off film in 2008’s Iron Man, which is high praise indeed considering how good the actors have been so far. I do feel this film also has a similar feel to the first Iron Man film, with this feeling like an introduction to a whole new world of superhero films. I thought his american accent would take me out of the movie but after the first line you’re engaged and you see Stephen Strange, not Benedict Cumberbatch.
Around Cumberbatch is a very solid supporting cast, with Tilda Swinton and Chewitil Ejiofor really standing out. Tilda surprised me with how well she sells her role as “The Ancient One” which on paper is a very difficult character to imagine, but her performance is terrific. Chewitil Ejiofor is one of my favourite actors simply from his turn as the bad guy in Serenity, and he brings a seriousness and charisma to the character who will be a key part of the franchise going forward. If you haven’t seen Serenity, do yourself a favour, that and the Firefly series are amazing, but this is a complete tangent and i probably shouldn’t go on much more about it, but seriously, go do it.
I am not a fan of 3D, and I actively avoid it if i can, but i went for it with Doctor Strange after hearing about the incredible scenes and saw the film in IMAX. I have to say, this film has some of the most spectacular and bombastic scenes I have ever seen and it was worth seeing in IMAX 3D if you can. Fans of the comics will absolute adore the trippy (that really is the best word for them) shots of the different realms and dimensions that are littered through the film and they are worth the admission alone.
A widely accepted fact of the MCU is that their villains generally underwhelm, barring Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. This time round the villain Kaecilius is played by Mads Mikkelsen, another one of my favourite actors. He is probably one of the stronger villains, with his motivations a little clearer and the charisma Mads brings just elevates him above a lot of the generic villians we have had. Loki is still the shining star, but this is the best “Villain of the Week” type bad guy we have seen so far in the MCU.
Doctor Strange really is a great entry to the Marvel universe and whilst its story is possible a little basic, the study of the titular character and his arc in the movie keep you hooked. On the back of Civil War which felt like a culmination of everything we have had so far in the MCU, Strange shows us we have only seen a section of what Marvel are willing to do. The only caveat I have is that it may be a jump too far for some movie fans who aren’t invested in the Comic book world, but if you can go with the craziness there is a lot to like about Doctor Strange.
8/10 – You will want to see the Doctor, as Strange as that sounds.