Get ready to marvel at the magic of Doctor Strange.
Dr Stephen Strange is a world famous neurosurgeon who’s career is destroyed when his hands are crushed in a car accident. Unable to move on, Strange becomes increasingly desperate in his search for a cure. This desperation leads him to The Ancient One, the current Sorcerer Supreme, who opens his mind to the impossible.
This movie marks the introduction of magic into the Marvel cinematic universe (MCU) and it’s a hell of an introduction; weapons made out of pure energy, reversing time and a sentient cap so funny it’d make the Incredibles’ Edna Mode reconsider her no caps policy. The movie is filled with beautiful visual effects so anyone worried that the adaptation won’t do justice to the comic book character can rest easy.
Benedict Cumberbach plays the surgeon turned sorcerer Stephen Strange. Strange is a man who has dedicated himself to science, so seeing him lose his skepticism was the perfect way to ease the audience into accepting magic as part of the MCU. Though the incredibly cool effects didn’t hurt either. Cumberbach was perfectly cast and the film definitely benefits from his comedic timing.
Not all casting choices were as spot on. Changing the race and gender of The Ancient One caused a bit of controversy during the production of the film and casting Tilda Swinton doesn’t really pay off. She does a fine job playing a character who is more complex than is immediately apparent, but she doesn’t do enough with it to say it was worth the change. In fact, it seems as if she was cast simply to add another female character into the almost entirely male cast.
The only other relatively important female character is Christine Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams. In the comics, Palmer is a surgical nurse who inherits the mantle of the Night Nurse. Currently, Rosario Dawson’s character Claire Temple is the MCU’s version of the Night Nurse, so instead the movie version of Christine is a surgeon and former colleague of Dr Strange who could be taken out of the movie easily without it really effecting the story.
When it comes to villains, Marvel’s reputation is really bad. Loki was fun for a while, but he stuck around way too long. Mads Mikkelsen does a nice job as Kaecilius a former student turned enemy of The Ancient One. He may have been one of Marvel’s better villains, were it not for his astounding lack of screen time. Kaecilius is one of those rare villains who actually has a very relatable motive, but the problem with an origin story is that so much time is spent on training the hero that there’s not much left to really delve into the villain.
Even with all the magic, the hardest thing to believe is that anyone could have survived the car accident that crushed Strange’s hands. It’s also not the magic that will make it hard for Doctor Strange to fit in with the Avengers, it’s the films scope. The story does such a great job establishing the importance of the sorcerers and their mission that it actually makes Doctor Strange seem too important all on his own to actually benefit from the help of the Avengers.
One Avenger does make a cameo in the first of two after credits scenes. It gives a pretty clear tease about the next time we can expect to see Doctor Strange on the big screen. The second post credits scene should get fans excited that the next Doctor Strange villain will be more developmented than this one.
Doctor Strange is a fun movie with plenty of humour and a visual effects team that know what they’re doing. It’s connected to the overarching Infinity Stone plot of the MCU, but not so much that is lot of homework is required. In fact, this would be a great jumping on point the more casual fans.
Sit back, grab some popcorn and prepare for things to get a little Strange.