Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Dr. Strange : The Dr. Is In
Marvel has spent the last 8 years introducing us to their cinematic universe. They started by grounding it in reality with a millionaire using technology to become a superhero. Science created a monster, super soldier, and a man who could shrink or grow. They moved on to aliens who came to earth and took us to different galaxies. Now we are introduced to the mystic arts or magic for the common people in the form of Dr Stephen Strange. Created back in 1930 he is Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme. He is definitely not Harry Potter.
If it feels like you have heard this story before, it's because you have. Replace Iron Man with magic and it is very similar, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't work. Stephen Strange ( Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brilliant, but arrogant surgeon. When his hands are injured in a car accident he exhausts his fortune trying to heal himself through medicine. He soon sets on a path to find away to heal himself only to discover a world or more importantly, worlds he never knew existed. Strange becomes caught up in a battle to protect the earth from threats the rest of the world are oblivious to.
Cumberatch looks like he is literally ripped from the comic pages. We see a world of magic and martial arts through his eyes. He is perfect for the part. He is great when he is arrogant and even better when wearing a cloak of levitation and casting spells. Dr. Strange is packed full of comic references that fans or previous films and fan boys alike can appreciate. The Avengers are mentioned and once again Marvel does a masterful job of tying their universe together.
Mads Mikkelson's villain suffers from a lack of depth, but for this origin story is still good enough. The producers did catch some slack for casting Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One. She is not Asian and in the source material, the character is very much so. Still though, she does a great job. We are also introduced to Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). In the comic, he is one of Strange's biggest enemies and we get to see him prior to that here. It's a different form of magic than what anyone has seen on film before. It's a little bit Sorcerer's Apprentice and a little Inception.
The world is a very trippy one. It gives us some cool imagery and one of the most fun chase sequences captured on film in quite awhile. It can some times come across as a bit cartoony and while it is a fun portion of the film, it's also responsible for the part of the film that fails just a little. The main villain in the bigger picture is introduced and it is tough to pull off. The beauty of comics and animation is the ability to do just about anything. The CGI villain (Dormamu) is a bit of an eye sore. Some things are just hard to create and even harder to translate.
Even with it's minor flaws, Dr. Strange is a fun trip. Rachel McAdams isn't used to her potential, but this is just the origin of things to come. It is a very large scale movie with a very small cast. Big locations, big effects, but a very small cast. It makes it easier to get to know them which is good since Dr, Strange isn't on the same level of fame as The Avengers or Spider-Man. It is a successful expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it's great at keeping your interest. It has humor where it needs to and the right amount of action and drama. In short, another hit for Marvel. He might not be a household name yet, but the doctor is definitely in.