"Doctor Strange" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
After dividing the fan base, the Marvel Cinematic Universe decides to push its franchise in a bold new direction. Instead of having muscular superheroes fight enemies on the surface of Earth, "Doctor Strange" deals with the multiverse and spiritual threats towards Earth and its inhabitants. Therefore, this movie is a fresh new take on the superhero genre as it provides a very distinct plot and set of characters that we have yet to see in a Marvel movie.
The film follows Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who is a very talented and famous surgeon. However, when he is involved in a near-fatal car crash, it takes away the use of his hands, basically forcing him into an early retirement. Strange is very head-strong though, and refuses to give up his profession.
He goes on a journey to try and find something that will cure him, and he ends up on the doorstep of the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who is a mystical wizard that has lived for centuries (it is not revealed how old she is, but a viewer can infer). While training at her compound to help fix his hands, he is then dragged into a full-on mystical war against Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a former student of the Ancient One who will stop at nothing for eternal life.
This movie is the extremely different compared to all of the other Marvel movies, and perhaps one of the most ambitious. Instead of relying on mostly hand-to-hand combat or superhuman abilities, we watch as wizards fight using spells and mystical powers. One would compare it to the likes of films like "Inception" due to the way inverts the time and setting.
Cumberbatch does a great job in the role. He follows a type of Tony Stark character development; starting out as a rude, arrogant snob and turning into someone who wants to help protect the world. They had a good idea for this development of our main protagonist, but I felt at times that his character was more whiny and annoying than anything.
I think this movie does a good job of setting up its plot and this world we will explore, but it lacks major character development for a few of its characters. For example, look at Rachel McAdams' character. She is the love interest for our hero, but she is given too little screen time and too little importance. She seems like a very minor character, and doesn't deserve the amount of influence she has on the plot or the character.
But, other than that, there are some great characters in this movie. I think Swinton does a fabulous job playing the Ancient One, and she is perhaps one of the most interesting characters in this movie. In addition to her, we also have Benedict Wong's character named Wong, who is definitely a minor character that shines in almost every scene he is in.
Overall, however, the CGI effects and action sequences are very well done. The use of CGI is perhaps one of the best so far in a Marvel film, especially in the final battle sequence. They did a great job of setting up the world that Stephen Strange lives in, but they could have given the viewer better characters and a more likable hero.