Doctor Strange is the latest film and already a blockbuster hit under the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Casting All the Right Spells
Since Doctor Strange premiered last Friday, November 4th, it just about broke even after just one day hitting $165-plus million in global ticket sales at the box office. Over the weekend it’s moved that haul to $325 million (Box Office Mojo). The slightly unconventional superhero blockbuster is yet another hit for Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Studios (photos from London World Premiere)!
The story follows Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), an extraordinary neurosurgeon who ends up getting into a life-changing car accident that renders his gifted hands useless. His quest to Kathmandu (Nepal) to find a way to restore his steady hands with eastern medicine leads him on a journey of self-discovery and an immersion into a world of the mystic arts…spells, multi-universe, sorcerers, gods, and time…bending (not time travel). What he’s yet to find out is that this new journey involves being on the front line and facing unseen dark forces aimed at destroying the world that we know.
It Feels Like Looking Through a Kaleidoscope
The film is visually stunning and is reminiscent of CGI (computer-generated imagery) you would’ve seen if you watched The Matrix trilogy (1999 & 2003) and most recently Inception (2010). Mind-bending images of buildings that twist and turn at will (the Ancient One); mirror dimensions (parallel dimension) that allows the user to practice using their magical abilities and fight their enemies without the public’s knowledge.
A Little Humour Adds “Dimension”
Doctor Strange manages to weave comedic wit into the script, with each actor delivering their one-liners perfectly. It’s refreshing and something we’ve come to expect from the MCU since the first Iron Man film (2oo8). The film is fast-paced and wastes no time showing us the transformation of Stephen Strange from mere mortal to truly gifted sorcerer. It’s action-packed with elements of martial arts throughout the fighting styles of good versus evil.
It’s fantastic to see Marvel expand the storytelling to include other superheroes within the MCU outside of just The Avengers. Guardians of the Galaxy was the initial introduction to the other realities (across space) that were out there and now we get a glimpse into the mystical world and of battles yet to come.
Diversity Brings Intensity and Authenticity
The film brings together a stellar diverse ensemble cast that features (in addition to Cumberbatch): Chiwetel Ejiofor (Karl Mordo), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Rachel McAdams (Dr. Christine Palmer), and Mads Mikkelsen (Kaecilius). Each actor/actress plays their role perfectly and the overall performances are authentic and believable as we watch them feed off each other’s energy. Director Scott Derrickson known for horror films like Sinister (2012) and Deliver Us From Evil (2014), brings the story to life with his attention to detail and immersive storytelling technique.
That aside, I’m surprised they didn’t cast an Asian actress for the role of the Ancient One. Somebody like Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000) would’ve been perfect.
Scale of 1 to 10
It’s an entertaining film that will leave you questioning what you’ve seen, but keep in mind it’s all fictional. You’ll be in awe of all its vibrant visuals. Marvel Studios manages to balance light and darkness just like the universe. I give the film 8.5 out of 10, just a little under Rotten Tomatoes’ score of 90% (Certified Fresh).
If you have the option, see it in 3D. It’s worth every penny. And if you’ve seen enough Marvel films, you’ll know you should always stay ’til the end credits. Doctor Strange is no different. So grab a large popcorn and enjoy every bit of this “strange” ( I couldn’t resist!) two-hour blockbuster.