The Marvel cinematic universe has grown considerably since “Iron Man”. What began with standard superhero fare, has matured into a complex and fascinating cinematic universe. Not afraid to shy away from a standard formula, Marvel studios began to tell stories within different genres. Now, the MCU is dipping their toes into the supernatural with Doctor Strange. Can they successfully continue this storytelling trend? Is Doctor Strange Marvel's first failure or not? Let's take a look.
Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a “Rock star” neurosurgeon. The only thing bigger than his brilliance is his ego. A car accident puts a stop to his career, and he travels the globe for a way to heal his crippled hands. After conventional surgery fails him, he desperately seeks an alternative method. With the help of a mysterious woman called “The ancient one” (Tilda Swinton) he finds answers. As he learns of the mystic arts, he unwittingly is pulled into an ancient battle against an evil entity. Strange, must choose to use his powers that can restore him to his former glory or use his powers to protect the earth.
Every time I think I've seen it all, along comes a director that ups the bar. The visual effects of Doctor Strange are on a different level. Director, Scott Derrickson and ILM, make Steve Ditko's, psychedelic artwork come to life. The action and fight scenes are beautifully choreographed and lean toward the incredible action of Hong Kong Cinema. Both the effects and action set pieces are fast, furious and is absolutely gorgeous.
While the script may be a bit thin it is definitely one of the better superhero origin stories. Not to say that “Doctor Strange” is without depth. It definitely has some deeper moments and a poignant message about humility. This however would not hit home without the masterful performances of this cast. Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange is a revelation. Cumberbatch loses himself completely in the role and humanizes him. His arc from arrogant to unlikely hero is handled expertly. Unfortunately, just like other marvel villains of the MCU, Mads Mikkelsen's, Kaecilius is the weak link. Mikkelsen's performance is excellent but his character is just underdeveloped and lacks screen time.
Despite the casting controversy, the big surprise and the heart of the movie is Tilda Swinton as the Ancient one. She exudes a certain tenderness, wit and strength. She does a lot with her eyes and facial expressions. By giving less she achieves maximum results. Michael Giacchino's music is brilliant. It supports and enriches the images on screen. With a strong and a recognizable main theme this is quite possibly Marvel's best music score to date.
Not afraid to take chances, Marvel has another winner on their hands. With remarkable visual effects, performances and important story themes, this film definitely belongs up there with Iron man and Captain America: Winter Soldier. Even if you do not like 3D, it is advised to see this on the biggest screen possible in 3D. You will sell yourself short if you do not. Do stay during and after the end credits. A game changer, beautiful and innovative. Go see it!