Review: Doctor Strange
On Saturday, I watched the film “Doctor Strange”. It was a long wait since the first trailer preview aired months ago and well worth it. This movie defines a key turning point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as magic and the multiverse are now a reality.
Marvel Studios did a fine job with casting for this film. Benedict Cumberbatch lived up to my expectations as Doctor Stephen Strange. His portrayal of the character is reminiscent of a cocky and arrogant Tony Stark, in my opinion. Tilda Swinton, as the “Ancient One”, provided the right chemistry with Cumberbatch. I liked Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo and I especially liked Benedict Wong as Wong; he gave the character a different flavor from his comic book counterpart.
The film did a decent job with Stephen Strange’s development from arrogant surgeon to arrogant sorcerer. The character and story arc was very reminiscent of Tony Stark. Mordo’s development occurs during the second half of the film. There wasn’t much character development for the other characters however the story moved them along well.
The special effects associated with the elements of magic and the multiverse was brilliant. The bending of reality during the opening fight scene between the “Ancient One” and Kaecilius, Strange fighting one of Kaecilius’ zealots in the Astral Plane and the car crash scene were great. The Cloak of Levitation is a great ally to have by the way.
This movie is an origin story. From my perspective, there were moments that conveyed a deep introspective of the world we live in. The broken seeking to repair themselves using unconventional means in a conventional world. “Changing Reality” seemed to be the underlying theme of the film.
“Breaking Beliefs” – The Ancient One’s use of the Black Arts to maintain eternal life went against the rules she imposed on her followers. What is good for the goose was not good for the ganders. Kaecilius learned the truth and defied the rules. Mordo was a stickler for the rules because it kept him grounded; when he learned the truth, it reshaped his reality.
“Breaking Barriers – Stephen Strange’s loss of the use of his hands defined his journey. However, he refused to let go of what he once knew in the hope of restoring his reality. His search and assessment was grounded in the things he knew thus creating a subconscious barrier to the various possibilities outside the norm. His conventional intellect was the barrier to an unconventional healing of sorts.
“Breaking Rules” – If the rules prevent the accomplishment of a greater purpose then ignore them or better yet, redefine them. Stephen Strange did this when he used the “Eye of Agamotto” to manipulate time. He operated outside the laws of magic to end the impending destruction of the Hong Kong Sanctum. Much like the Ancient One’s use of dark magic to sustain her immortality.
“Dormammu, I’ve come to Bargain.”
A key revelation is that the Eye of Agamotto contains the Time Gem infinity stone. Doctor Strange quickly mastered the spells to use the stone effectively and prevent the arrival of Dormammu. This is also a clear indicator that magic will be involved during the Infinity War.
Overall, this is a very good movie. It ranks up there with the first Iron Man movie, and Antman. It is a must see film and critical piece to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.