THE MOST MAGICAL FEATURE MARVEL HAS EVER PRODUCED!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: **** out of 4
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange
Out of all the superheroes Marvel Comics has ever created, the one that felt absolutely perfect for Disney to distribute a movie on was Doctor Strange. For one reason alone, he’s magic, and isn’t that what Disney has been known for since the beginning? It was pretty much a match made in heaven after the studio acquired Marvel.
I did not know much about Doctor Strange in the world of comics, when I came into this movie, I got to know who he was through word of mouth, appearances in other comics, and video games like Marvel VS Capcom. Basically he falls under the category of Marvel heroes like Ant-Man or Guardians of the Galaxy where I knew very little of the characters and didn’t follow their adventures compared to other heroes like Spider-Man, X-Men, or The Avengers.
So I didn’t judge the film as a representation of the comics because I don’t know how it holds up, I was judging the movie as a standalone movie and as an installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film, directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, Deliver Us from Evil) and starring Benedict Cumberbatch (The Hobbit trilogy, Star Trek into Darkness, The Imitation Game) as the titular character, is an absolute mind-trip from start to finish, and it’s even more wild in IMAX 3D.
Doctor Strange is a refreshing new take on the superhero origin story movie, with Christopher Nolan style visuals, scientific and mythological narratives, and top notch acting. It’s not the traditional origin where an average person gets either experimented on, exposed to a substance, or builds a suit of armor to fight bad guys, take a listen to this.
The film follows a man named Doctor Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch), who is a very successful neurosurgeon, or at least he was, before he lost his hands in a fatal car accident. His co-worker, Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams-Mean Girls, Sherlock Holmes, Spotlight) tries to help him move on in life, but Strange is confident that he can regain the use of his hands and uses all of his resources to pursue experimental surgeries in vain.
Strange then learns about a mystic known as the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton-The Chronicles of Narnia, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hail, Caesar!) who may be able to help him regain his hands and even unlock powers he never knew he had. With the help of sorcerer student, Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor-12 Years a Slave, The Martian, Triple 9), and Master of the Mystic Arts, Wong (Benedict Wong-Prometheus, Kick-Ass 2, The Martian), Strange must unlock the full capacity of his powers, don his Cloak of Levitation, and save the universe from a ruthless sorcerer named Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen-Casino Royale, Clash of the Titans, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) who plans to unleash a creature called Dormammu (voice and motion-capture by Cumberbatch), the ruler of the Dark Dimension in hopes to gain immortality.
Overall, Doctor Strange is a very fun adventure for the holiday season and a great follow-up to Captain America: Civil War in Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even if you don’t follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you could watch the movie on its own and still enjoy it, the film makes very few references to other Avengers movies, to me, making a great movie on its own is more important than throwing in as many Avengers universe references as possible, because I go to these movies for entertainment, not out of curiosity of how it’s going to connect to the other movies.
The film feels larger than life when watching it in IMAX 3D and it delivered some of the best 3D I’ve seen in a long time. If you have a chance to see it in IMAX 3D, definitely take it, because it looks and sounds amazing.
The visuals are very eye-catching and pretty much feels like a massive drug trip in the best way possible. Cities and streets folding, buildings being divided in half, people running across buildings, jumping high, and flying around, Strange getting blasted into other dimensions, it’s like watching Inception on steroids.
Besides the visuals and thrills, the acting is very strong, especially for a superhero movie, Benedict Cumberbatch with an American accent, and he nails it perfectly. Team him up with another Oscar favorite, Chiwetel Ejiofor and you get character chemistry that could be Oscar worthy.
2016 is by far the best year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, two fantastic movies in one year, 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and both completely different types of superhero films, one is traditional, the other is very “Strange”.