By Jeremy Julian @FAITHFULMANTIS
“Doctor Strange,” the newest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is now in theaters worldwide. The film stars “Sherlock” and “Star Trek” actor, Benedict Cumberbatch as the famous super-powered doctor, Stephen Strange. It is an origin story for Strange and highlights how he gained his powers, and shows his path to becoming a superhero.
The protagonist of this film is Stephen Strange, a neurosurgeon in New York City. I admire how the film makes him out to be unlikable. It is immediately apparent that Strange is a narcissistic individual who only thinks of himself at the beginning of the film, a trait that can be compared to Tony Stark from “Iron Man.”
This is a change of pace from other Marvel movies, because Strange didn’t have heroic tendencies that other heroes tend to have.
Early on in the film, Strange gets into a car accident where he loses the use of his hands, so he resorts to desperate measures to regain the use of his hands. Stephen goes to an ancient temple in the Tibetan mountains to find the “Ancient One,” who is portrayed by Tilda Swinton.
Swinton’s performance as the Ancient One is powerful and plays a large role in the overall story and Strange’s character arc.
Other characters include Mordo, who serves a role as a teacher and somewhat of a sidekick to the doctor. Mordo is portrayed by Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor. Mordo is another character that is integral to the story.
The overall plot of the film is familiar, since it is an origin story, but it mixes in great writing that is serious but still keeps that Marvel sense of humor seen in other films. It also has fun and interesting characters that keep the story well-paced and exciting throughout.
When it comes to visuals, “Dr. Strange” is perhaps the best Marvel film yet. Strange channels his powers through other dimensions, giving the film some incredible visual effects. One of the villains in the film has the power to bend time and space in which he can move streets and buildings while defying every law of gravity. It reminded me of the film “Inception” in which similar effects happen.
The cinematography in the film is outstanding because of aspects like this and also because of some interesting things it does with the lighting when powers are used.
It isn’t a Marvel film without some fun fighting sequences, and “Dr. Strange” is full of them. The action scenes are special in this film because of those cool visual effects.
The fighting is complemented with banter by some of the characters, helping push the story forward. Strange also becomes visibly more experienced with his powers throughout each encounter with the villains, which is a rightful aspect of any superhero origin story.
The biggest problem with the film is the villain Kaecilius, portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, known for his role as Hannibal Lecter in the television show. The problem with this villain is that the writing doesn’t give the audience much of a reason to care about him. He’s just not very well-written like some of the other characters are.
An important aspect of superhero films are its villains and Kaecilius doesn’t compare to some others we’ve seen in Marvel films through the years.
Despite the lackluster villain, “Doctor Strange” is a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it does many things to push the boundaries of comic book movies. Doctor Strange is an incredibly important character in the comics and it is nice to see that is reflected in the movies as well.
“Doctor Strange” has a well-written story and some seriously cool visuals, resulting in a great movie. The film isn’t just an origin story for Stephen Strange, but it also hints at what is coming in the future for the MCU and how the character fits into all of that.
It is also quite safe to say that we will definitely be seeing Dr. Strange again in future Marvel films and I am interested to see what role he will play in “Infinity War.”