At this point, I’ve felt like it’s been a long time between Superhero movies which is weird because I thought that between Luke Cage coming out last month and the start of all the fall Superhero shows, my need for a movie would be quenched. But theres nothing like fixing the need for a Superhero movie more than actually going to see one.
I have been looking forward to Doctor Strange for a long time not just because I am a comic book film fan but because I knew it was going to be something we haven’t really seen before. I knew the Doctor Strange was going to push our boundaries and chances are, it was going to play out very different to how we are use to, and it did.
They did things with Doctor Strange that I don’t think any other film could have pulled off if they were apart of this MCU. I don’t mean that in a “Marvel is better than everyone else” sense, but more that the way the story is structured and the pacing at which it plays out would never be possible unless it was situated in a cinematic universe that you know pretty much back to front. After 13 films, 5 TV shows and a large amount of short films, regardless of if you’ve seen every second of them or not much at all, you are still able to understand the world that it is set in. Marvel took a bold move with this and embraced the fact that us as the audience know what is going on around these events and they spend more time building out the world in what Doctor Strange exists rather than the real world happening around it.
As far as an origin story, I think it nailed it. I don’t have too much experience into the background of Strange but I thought that they were able to give us a great introduction to the character. As it has been seen in many trailers, Strange is one of the best surgeons in the world and his ego shows it. When a car accident destroys his ability to work, Strange tries to find every humanly possible solution to recovering the skills he has lost. When all fails, he decides to travel to Asia where it is believe that there is a group that can heal the broken surgeon. What I really loved about what they did with this part of the origin story was pace it really quick. The reasoning behind it was so we could get more time with Strange becoming this sorcerer we know he is going to be. I thought it was a really smart move for them to take that approach and maximise the time we get learning about Doctor Strange’s world.
Without going into many story points, there is something I have to touch on about the film as far as story wise. The common trend amongst most Marvel films is brought across to this film to but in a different way. I’m talking about the weak villains. While I thought Mad Mikkelsen was fantastic as Kaecilius and he stole every scene he was in, there was something about this story where I felt like no matter who the villain was, their role was going to be limited. This for me goes back to the risk Marvel took with making Doctor Strange. The only reason this comic book character got an adaptation was because of the success of the MCU and the powers in which this character brings allows them to take the MCU into a different direction. To me, the main goal for this movie was to introduce us to the world of Doctor Strange rather than tell a compelling story with a start, middle and end. Because of this, Mikkelsen’s villain served his role of being the thing that gets Strange to embrace his new world and I thought that as a character with that role, it was extremely well executed. While he wasn’t the best villain we ever have seen or the most interesting, he was used in a way that none of that mattered and the role he served was perhaps a better role than many other Marvel villains have tried to do in their respective films.
I thought the cast of Doctor Strange was fantastic. Marvel has started making a habit of casting fantastic people into their roles and nailing them each an every time. Benedict Cumberbatch is now what we will see when we hear Doctor Strange. Despite not having a natural American accent, and while I didn’t think it was necessary that he needed it, I barely noticed a hitch when his accent didn’t pass as American. While being able to talk a whole movie in an accent doesn’t guarantee a great performance, he does much more than just that. His overall performance and deliverance was fantastic and he is now someone I can see fitting into the greater MCU.
Despite the controversy around her, I thought Tilda Swinton was one of the biggest standouts of the film. She played to role of the wise master and she brought a deliverance and performance as big as the role required. The performance she brought was remises to to a Yoda or an old Kenobi in where she is able to test our newcomer and train them in unorthodox ways.
Something ever so present in a Marvel film that was again strong in Doctor Strange is the humour. I was a bit worried how they were going to portray the humour in a film that has so many serious aspect to it. But I thought they did a fantastic job of blending in the mystical and serious side of the film with the humorous Marvel trait we have learned to love.
Overall, I thought this movie was fantastic. What it manage to do was turn the origin story on it head and portray it in a way that is so different to how we normally see them play out. While it’s not my favourite Marvel film, nor do I think that it will be anyone’s favourite Marvel film, it is a fantastic Doctor Strange film and an amazing introduction of him into the MCU.