The biggest selling point for Dr Strange (2016) is the awesome visual effects. A solid new character is introduced to the MCU with loads of potential. Benedict Cumberbatch solidifies and anchors his role as Stephen Strange in a similar fashion to RDJ doing so with Tony Stark.
Since “Guardians of the Galaxy 2014” stomped all over the box-office with it’s over $800 million boot and Ant-Man repeating the same process a year later, the Marvel Cinematic Universe have developed quite a knack for bringing to life virtually unknown origin stories in quite a spectacular fashion and that brilliant record shows that Doctor Strange will be no exception. However it may be the weirdest and strangest addition but by no means it is nonetheless an enjoyable addition as this cognitive story offers manipulative sorcery, clever screenplay, mind-melting action and mind-bending CGI it’s fair to say that this will not be forgotten anytime soon.
Get the thought out of your head that you never could see Benedict Cumberbatch in a cape, as he pulls it off so well along with that and the glorious devil look-a-like goatee that it looks like he was born to play this role and his brilliant performance shows it. The whole concept here is that this was strange from day one and the story written and directed by long time fan and look-a-like Scott Derrickson using his own vision this origin story is brilliant, and to put it lightly mind-blowing and is certainly a vast improvement over his last feature Deliver Us From Evil his vision and his screenplay are very clever and cognitive as the screenplay alone will manipulate the mind. In terms of the CGI picture the sorcery of Harry Potter meets the clever screenplay and the reality defying, world building dream worlds of Inception and imagine if those two joined forces and had a baby, well Doctor Strange is that baby weird concept but that’s this in a bag.
It may surprise you to know that the insanity that is this movie starts out ordinary with Dr. Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) working his normal shift as a show off neurosurgeon in a hospital along with his colleague/life partner Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), until he is the victim of a terrible car crash (might this be a lesson to never text and drive) and shatters almost every nerve in his hand and has to undergo several procedures in order to get better. Until he finds an elegant solution which is nicely done in this addition he has to go to the stunning Nepal near the Himalaya mountain range and has to learn the path to power and the kind of responsibilities it holds. However at some points he almost gives up on life and sees no more strength to learn but continues on.
Naturally some origin stories of this style are terribly rushed and get to the action rather quickly and although at some points this does take a while to settle but with the clever screenplay and brilliant time bending and world building powers it’s set out rather well, granted there are a couple of times when some of the scenes are just stuck together and some take a while to get with the story but who cares when the final result and the final battle are so eye achingly impressive, filled with a kaleidoscope of building splits, moving floors and also a levitating cape it’s almost as if he stepped into a dream world but as the story goes on he realizes that its all too real. It’s quite the spectacle.
The first act is used to just settling into the story and introducing the many characters played by big international players, and also training with magic which is done in a very intriguing way as the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) shows him the powers of the mind and he looks very impressed as he has gone from a none believer to becoming a learner – this scene is both inventive and has a colourful kaleidoscope which looks amazing in 3D. The second and third acts are when the world literally turns upside down for Doctor Strange as he has to face Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and a great and powerful entity that he serves but he learns that his power is stronger than he thinks. Interestingly Kaecilius gives Doctor Strange some advice and also a shock which we won’t spoil. During the second act there is a beautiful training lesson with Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) – this is brilliantly done with some very inventive CGI that shows the way he moves looking like he is flying. At one point there is a battle that has never been seen before in any film of this style and that is an astral projection battle between Strange and Lucian (Scott Adkins), which is just a gob smacking few minutes during the battle, and while they are at it they scare Christine this adds a bit of comedy to the scene. The clever screenplay also adds some hilarious moments where they are needed proving that the director can make a serious film with insane CGI and even add some comedy to the final production.
Doctor Strange may be one of the strangest and possibly the most insane addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe but is still nonetheless entertaining and this proves that Marvel are keeping a better record with kick-ass origin stories, that are a spectacular CGI f**kathon and if the end result is this entertaining then that is a record that shall continue for decades, much better than the record currently obtained by the DCEU who at the moment need a miracle to overcome the disastrous films they’ve made lately. Easily one of the best films this year and shall be remembered for ages and who knows may even repeat the box-office record set by Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man. This is a strange world.
VERDICT: The Marvel Cinematic Universe shines again with manipulative sorcery and cognitive storytelling as this may be the strangest addition but still delivers some kick-ass entertainment.