Saturday, November 5, 2016

Dr. Strange

Marvel Studios has been an unstoppable juggernaut with their films in recent years with countless hits such as Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, and Iron Man. Now it’s time for a fresh face to enter the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” and that face is Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme himself, Dr. Strange. A character that’s known just as much as Black Panther and appeals to a certain fan base. In this case, people who are a fan of the supernatural or mystical arts which is ironic considering the doctor’s origin as a man of science and medicine. Allow me to explain his origin for those who know virtually nothing about the character.

Dr. Steven Strange is a well-known surgeon with an ego the size of his success and that’s something he has an abundance of. Because of a terrible accident that leaves him handicapped in a certain way, he waists his fortune looking for any and every way to fix himself to regain his life. Upon losing his way, he stumbles upon a secret sect of mystics whose battle with an ancient evil is ongoing. Led by the original Sorcerer Supreme or the Ancient One as they all say, takes the broken doctor in and begins to train him personally with the help of the faithful servant, Wong. Eventually, Steven learns the mystic arts and becomes the new Sorcerer Supreme when he earns the ability to use mystic items like the famous cloak of levitation and his popular Eye of Agamotto.

Dr. Strange stays true for most the story but with minor difference that separate it from the comics. For one, the casting caused some stir with fans considering the Ancient One is played by Tilda Swinton (Constantine) who is a white woman and fans couldn’t see how she landed the part. She turned out to be a great fit for the part as someone who is like the tough mother who never holds your hand through life but gives you what you need to survive. The second difference is the ancient evil and his realm which has mostly been depicted as Hell with fire and brimstone. In the film, it appears to be a purplish outer space deal which wasn’t anything appealing.

The ancient evil that runs that realm is none other than the powerful god, Dormammu. The powerful act was pulled off but unfortunately not the terrifying aspect of the character which has always been known as monster covered in fire and steel. In the film, he’s pulling off a great wizard of Oz kind of appearance which is disappointing at best. Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor (Salt, 12 Years a Slave) was portrayed accurately during the course of the film as he makes his transition. The chemistry between him and Cumberbatch was fair, it wasn’t anything that clicked well but it was good enough considering the history of the characters. The main villain of the film however was Kaecilius, a former student of the Ancient One who turned away and joined Dormammu, played by Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Casino Royale).

As a villain, he ranked average but he was mostly used to deliver a backstory on the Ancient One instead of trying to become the main attraction. Another average appearance was Rachel McAdams who played the love interest of Dr. Strange but her on film time was short and almost irrelevant to an extent. I’m sure though she’ll have a bigger role to play in a sequel that will no doubt be in production real soon. If you’re a fan of 3D then this film is definitely for you because the fight scenes are a theatrical roller coaster ride. There’s something during the credits to promote Thor: Ragnarok coming next year and something at the end of the credits to promote a sequel when you go yourself.

I give this film an 8 out of 10 because the story telling is great and it’s tremendously entertaining to someone looking for a good time. The reason this film isn’t a perfect ten is because of Dormammu’s appearance, no real boss fight and the non-existent love interest. If you have a problem with motion sickness then you might also have a problem watching this film when it becomes Marvel’s version of Inception. Dr. Strange is a welcomed fresh face to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it’s only going to get better with the arrival of Thor’s third film and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. This will lead to the long awaited Avengers: Infinity Wars.