Hey Pulp Nation! Have you had a chance to see Doctor Strange? I saw it last night and I wanted to share my Doctor Strange movie review.
Doctor Stephen Strange is an arrogant, hotshot neurosurgeon living the high life, until the night his car veers off the road. As a result of the accident, his hands are useless and the life of the brilliant surgeon seems over. During rehabilitation, Strange hears of a man—played by Benjamin Bratt—who miraculously recovers from paralysis. Strange begins a journey to Kamar-Taj to learn about the secret of his healing power. Of course, Strange has no idea he is about to be pulled into mystical warfare that threatens humankind’s existence.
Astounding Visual Effects
The visual effects of Doctor Strange are nothing short of stunning. I get the feeling that this film is what an acid trip might be like. Of course, having never touched such things, I would not know. Maybe someone in Pulp Nation can tell me. Doctor Strange moved me physically; I actually felt dizzy while watching particular street bending scenes. The introduction of the multiverse is outstanding. Wow, just wow.
Formulaic, but it Works
If you have yet to see this film, you still may have an idea of the plot because it follows the MCU standard story line for moody geniuses. The cynical and sardonic titular character attempts to find himself after a traumatic event. The difference with Doctor Strange is that it makes sense. We can even relate to Strange. Strange is flummoxed by the absurdity of his new life and greets it with cynical commentary. In a way, it shows his insecurity. Even a genius such as Doctor Stephen Strange has a defense mechanism.
Of course, Marvel injects humour—even in sad moments—but it does not feel forced. In previous MCU films, humour plays an important part but sometimes the action or the plot played second fiddle to getting a laugh.
A Strong Cast
Doctor Strange has an excellent cast to bring this comic book to life. Benedict Cumberbatch, of course plays the eponymous hero to perfection, even if seeing him with facial hair was a tad unnerving. He brings his razor sharp wit to yet and becomes the Doctor Strange we see in the comics books.
Any misgivings about Tilda Swinton‘s controversial casting as the Ancient One need to be cast aside. Swinton steals every scene in which she appears. Of course, this is not surprising considering her ‘thing’ is being awesome. Swinton brings a mystical aura to the role of the Sorcerer Supreme as only she could.
The character of Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is introduced in the source material as a villain immediately while the movie shows him initially as an ally. For those without knowledge of the comics this does not seem strange at all, but for comic purists anticipating a battle between Strange and Mordo, the villain of Doctor Strange Kaecilius, played by Mads Mikkelsen might be disappointing. For the purposes of this Doctor Strange movie review, I tend to view the MCU as inspired, yet separate from the comic book source material.
If there is any disappointment in the cast, it is not the cast members themselves but they way they were used, or in this case underutilized. Rachel McAdams, who plays trauma surgeon Christine Palmer, is a talented actress who is not given much to do in Doctor Strange. It would appear her role is to provide a counterbalance to Stephen Strange’s emotional turmoil as he comes to terms with his new life as a master of the mystic arts. Of course, if the film had merely played her as a former lover, that might have been worse.
Final Thoughts: Doctor Strange Movie Review
Yes, Doctor Strange does follow the MCU formula but it does so better than most, if not all, of Marvel’s previous offerings. And to be quite blunt: Doctor Strange shows why Marvel produces the best superhero films.
Does Doctor Strange deserve the sequel treatment? Absolutely. This is Marvel’s best outing in quite some time. Doctor Strange is the measuring stick by which all future MCU—and all comic book adaptations—should be judged.