Over the weekend, I had a chance to go see Doctor Strange in the local cinema. I wasn’t too pushed on the idea of seeing it, as my familiarity with the character extends as far as ‘wasn’t he in Marvel Ultimate Alliance back in 2006?’. I love the Marvel movies, but I like the mainstream characters like Iron Man and Captain America. Doctor Strange just didn’t appeal to me. Oh how I was wrong.
Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness) plays the lead role of brilliant, yet egotistical surgeon Dr Stephen Strange. When he is involved with a horrifying car crash, he loses the use of his hands, and his whole life changes. When traditional medicine fails to help him, he goes on a journey to find alternate means, which takes him to Kamar-Taj in the Himalayan Mountains. There he embarks on a spiritual journey and learns of an evil mystical power hellbent on invading and conquering Earth.
I found Strange to be rather similar to Tony Stark with his bloated ego and belief in himself, plus he portrayed himself as a rather wealthy individual. You see it all go to shambles following his injuries, and the movie follows his transition from self-centered know-it-all to a student learning to believe in something so out there, and the struggles with coming to terms with powers beyond conception. Science challenged by mystical magic, basically.
It’s not all that quiet however, with the movie opening as if it was set hundreds of years ago, catching movie-goers off guard as the movie’s bad guy Kaecilius played by Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Casino Royale) steals forbidden spells from one of the three protected sanctuaries. What follows is an epic, mind-bending fight scene that looks immense, and super exciting. It’s almost like a video game that shows you all of the available powers, before they’re stripped away, leaving you to learn it all over again. In this case, it’s what Doctor Strange will eventually be training to achieve.
The movie’s pacing was superb, giving you enough time to get to know the relevant characters, and the mention of The Avengers tied it back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe very nicely. There are another few tie-ins which I won’t spoil in the review here.
The special effects were top notch, with fantastic alternate universes and crazy colours. It was a feast for the eyes in some scenes, and Benedict Cumberbatch did a great job of taking us along for the ride in this crazy new reality he was coming to terms with. Some great jokes and funny moments also featured, including the wifi joke, which I loved.
It was a smart movie, and a really welcomed addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I would highly recommend it to anyone to go and see. As I said, I went in without much expectation, not even paying too much attention to the trailers, so a lot of it I hadn’t seen and I came out feeling very rewarded and immensely satisfied.
The Marvel movie train continues to power on, and I look forward to what we get next.