by Fernando Lyons
Doctor Strange is the latest in a string of comic book based movies from Marvel Studios. This movie follows the story of Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a talented, yet very arrogant, neurosurgeon, who loses his ability to operate in a horrific accident. On his quest for restoration, finds himself in a world of magic and mysticism.
From the sorcery-based premise to the spectacular visual effects, this is perhaps Marvel's most daring cinematic release to date. This is the first Marvel movie to delve into the world of sorcery. Like Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) did before it by opening up the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the stars, this movie opened up a new universe (no pun intended), and a potential for original, creative, and exciting story-telling elements. The visual effects in this movie are second to none. Some of the effects, like warping environments, were heavily inspired by movies like Inception, but this movie used the effects in a much more creative fashion. The time-bending, end sequence is like nothing I have seen.
While some movie events seemed measured and somewhat predictable, the overall story was quite solid, and the acting was very good. Benedict Cumberbatch really seemed to embrace the role, and was the perfect actor to play the title character. While I didn't like the initial decision to cast Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One (an old Asian man in the comic book), her portrayal and performance won me over. Chiwetel Ejiofor was a solid Baron Mordo, however, he didn't demonstrate the same devious tendencies as in the comics..at least not during the movie. While Mads Mikkelson performed admirably as the villain Kaecilius, his character suffers the same fate as most other villains in Marvel movies, and receives very little as far as screen time and character development. Doctor Strange's most powerful and dangerous villain from the comic, Dormammu (CGI), makes an appearance, which will make some comic purists happy.
Doctor Strange is one of the best and most refreshing Marvel efforts to date. The spectuacular visual effects fully warrant the extra money it takes to purchase of a 3D ticket. There are mid-credit and post-credit scenes, which set up future events with heavy implications for the Marvel Universe and the inevitable Doctor Strange sequel, so don't leave your seat when the movie is over.
+ Spectacular Visual Effects, Great Casting, Solid Story, & Expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Underwhelming Villain, & Some Predictable Moments