**Several spell books worth of Spoilers**
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about a movie, I know. October and I never get along when it comes to the real world and unfortunately, time (and money) ran out faster than I would have liked. While there were several movies that passed through the theaters that I had the misfortune to miss, I refused to lose out on the debut of Doctor Strange. Released by Marvel Studios this past weekend, Doctor Strange slammed past DreamWork’s Trolls movie with an awesome $84.9 million start to it’s run. In my opinion, it’s money well earned. This movie has got it all; mystical beings, scientific advances, humor, sadness, and special effects that make Inception seem like child’s play.
No, seriously. The special effects are amazing. And also, if you are smart enough to stick through the credits (how do people still not know this about Marvel movies?) you will easily see that 90% of the credits have to do with the various special effects/CGI/etc. teams that make this movie great. A huge shout-out to every single person on that screen. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a small country to develop a movie these days.
The plot is a classic origin story. Doctor Stephen Strange, one of the world’s premier surgeons, has a car wreck and loses his “magic” fingers. After exhausting all modern day medical options, both verified and experimental, he turns to the mystical to solve all his problems. And of course, chaos ensues. It wouldn’t be a Marvel movie without mass chaos. There are some tender moments between Strange and his not-girlfriend Christine as well as some hilarious banter between Strange and the Ancient One, Strange and Christine, Strange and Wong, Strange and…oh let’s face it, he gets snarky with everyone.
I know there’s been some controversy over casting for this movie, as there always is in the movie industry. Personally, I’m of the opinion that if they can do the job credibly it shouldn’t matter what race, color, creed, religion, and/or gender a person identifies as. All I care about is whether or not they can sell the part. Cumberbatch does a fantastic job as Doctor Strange. Of course, Doctor Strange and Sherlock aren’t all that different, they have the same arrogance, genius intellect, eidetic memory, and odd quirks. With Strange, at least, Cumberbatch was given more freedom of emotion which was fun to see, both on the playful and on the serious end of things. I do wonder, however, what it would be like to see Benedict play someone who didn’t have genius level IQ, just for a change of pace.
The rest of the cast performed brilliantly as well. Tilda Swinton kicked some major butt as the Ancient One and it was hilarious to watch her sweep the feet out from under Benedict Cumberbatch both literally and figuratively. Strange’s not-girlfriend/love interest was Christine, played by the stunning Rachel McAdams. In this take, she plays an E.R. doctor who is all of a sudden forced to deal with a man who can exit his body at will. It makes for some very entertaining sequences. Mordo was played by Chiwetel Ejiofor and was one of the few people to have any sort of character development beyond Stephen Strange. He might have been a bit underutilized but was still a fairly interesting character.
Mads Mikkelsen, as always, makes for a fantastic villain, except I wish there had been more character development. Essentially, he shows up, already evil, and then doesn’t even get defeated by the hero, at least not directly. Which seems to be a recurring theme in Marvel movies. Ultron gets defeated by Vision, who was not even created for most of the movie. Iron Man 3 – Rhodey and Pepper save the day (with some help from J.A.R.V.I.S). And let’s face it, nobody wins in Civil War. Kaecilius (try remembering that name) could have been a very interesting character to explore, unfortunately a significant amount of screen time was devoted to Benedict Cumberbatch, not leaving much for the rest of the characters. If anything, that was it’s only major flaw.
As mentioned before, the special effects were amazing. In fact, I wish I had seen this one in 3D. Many of the shots resembled M.C. Escher’s paintings only in a kaleidoscope of color. In fact, many times, the world did turn into a kaleidoscope. And a mirrorverse. And the dark universe. There were many different color palettes to choose from which made it a very, very visually entertaining movie. The continued whirling could make some sick to their stomach if they chose the wrong thing to focus on, however. It did get intense in several scenes.
Fans of Marvel will be delighted to know that the story does continue and link in at least a superficial way to the other Marvel movies. The Avengers Tower (Or is it back to being Stark’s Tower?) is clearly visible in the New York Skyline several times and references to the Avengers are made. If you stick around for the credits (which you know you should) you will be pleasantly surprised at who turns up.
Overall, an amazing movie. Visually stunning, it lacks a little on character development for all but the most major of characters, but makes up for it with it’s witty banter and dynamic cast.
Adults: A must-see for any Marvel fan and more visually interesting than Captain America: Civil War.
Children: You’d actually probably like it. The kids in front of me did. And the story-line isn’t too complicated for you to follow.