Movie Review: Doctor Strange


The most recent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Doctor Strange. Doctor Strange came out on November 4, 2016.

Spoilers are ahead!

This image released by Disney shows Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from Marvel's "Doctor Strange." ( Jay Maidment/Disney/Marvel via AP)
This image released by Disney shows Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from Marvel’s “Doctor Strange.” ( Jay Maidment/Disney/Marvel via AP)

Accomplished British actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, plays the titular character and is easily the stand out performance of the film.  The movie covers the origin story of Dr. Stephen Strange, a very successful and egotistical neurosurgeon. His life pulls a one-eighty when he gets involved in a horrible car crash, and his hands are completely smashed. The surprising jolt to reality was that he crashed due to distracted driving.

After the crash, his career is completely ruined and he can’t live with himself anymore, because the work that gave his life purpose was taken from him. He proceeds to spend his immense fortune, in the hopes of finding a cure to no avail.

Along the way his ex-girlfriend, Christine Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams, tries to help and comfort him in his struggles, but Stephen shoves her away. In a final desperate act he travels to Nepal in search of a place that can cure him.

He meets the ancient one, played by Tilda Swinton, which is a surprising gender swap from the comics, where the ancient one has always been a male. After much pleading the ancient one decides to take Strange in and teach him the mystic arts. What makes this movie stand out from other marvel films is the visual experience it turned out to be. Doctor strange features some of the most immersive and trippy visuals to date in a marvel movie. It makes for one very colorful psychedelic thrill ride in the theater.

Doctor Strange (the movie), does suffer from two things. While the first act does seem a little rushed, and takes away from feeling the real struggle that Stephen Strange feels after his accident, it still manages to get the message across. The much bigger dilemma is one that has plagued the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, the one shot villain. Mads Mikkelson plays the villain, Kaecilius. He really just is used as a physical menace throughout the film, and had a very brutal introduction mind you, but he is gotten rid of by the end of the movie, probably never to be seen again. The more interesting villain is Dormammu, the ruler of the dark dimension who wants to conquer the earth. The Sorcerers guard the earth from threats from other dimensions and realities. Dormammu being chief among these threats.

This image released by Disney shows Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from Marvel's "Doctor Strange." (Disney/Marvel via AP)
This image released by Disney shows Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from Marvel’s “Doctor Strange.” (Disney/Marvel via AP)

A satisfying twist was with the ancient one, who we find out isn’t a perfect human being, as it turns out she was using dark powers to prolong her own life. This doesn’t sit well with fellow sorcerer, Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who does actually turn out to be the real villain by the end of the movie, because too many people broke the rules.

The other rule being that at the end of the movie Strange uses the infinity stone of time to turn back the clock and save the world. The more impressive thing about the movie is that Doctor Strange is making fun of the action movie trope, bright swirling spiral of destruction.

When Kaecilius succeeds in bringing the Dark dimension to earth, strange flies into the dark dimension with the help of the cloak of levitation, and meets the master of the dark dimension, Dormammu, where he uses the time stone in the most hilarious way to defeat him. No epic showdown, he uses his wits to win the day, which is something we don’t really see happen to much in Marvel films.

The movie deals with some relevant themes, like distracted driving, the line between right and wrong that is blurred by the ancients one’s actions, the power of one’s will to overcome obstacles in life, and at one point, Doctor strange really questions his place in the organization when he is forced to kill one of the fanatics, even though as a doctor he has sworn against doing that.

On the flip side of that, the movie has some very funny parts put throughout like we come to expect from a good Marvel movie. Chief among these the scenes with the Cloak of Levitation and the ending with the time stone. There is one very important post credits scene where we see Thor talking to Doctor Strange, and it is very significant because Thor: Ragnorok comes out next year.

Doctor Strange has an 8.0 on IMDB and is certified 90% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie has pulled nearly 500 million worldwide. Over all Doctor strange is a welcome addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and opened up a whole world of possibility for the future.

Looking for more about Doctor Strange? Check out the 1-Minute Review and Full Review by ACE and Tree on YouTube.