Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” directed by Scott Derrickson based upon the comics by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko centres upon Dr. Stephen Strange(Benedict Cumberbatch), a brilliant neurosurgeon who encounters an unfortunate car accident resulting in severe and unfortunate consequences for his hands. Strange then seeks spiritual help and training giving him the ability to perform magic as the titular hero. Along with Strange, we have Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), a fellow surgeon and a sort of linchpin to Strange’s normal life in New York City as well as Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a fellow magician with a strict set of principles and a student of the main mentor character the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). The movie also stars Wong (Benedict Wong), a master of the mystic arts and protector of Kamar-Ta’s relics and books along with Kaecilus (Mads Mikelsen), the antagonist of the film who is described as a former student of the Ancient One turned evil.
The supporting characters while minor, both ground Strange and provide a connection to his civilian life. Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer gives decent back and forth banter characteristic to many Marvel movies. If I were to rank her character among the supporting characters of the movies, she wasn’t the worst but not the best, especially when compared to Captain America’s supporting characters. On the mystical side of the movie, Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One was satisfactory and her deadpan demeanour provided humour which contrasted with Strange’s skeptical nature initially. Benedict Wong’s character also provided humour that had the whole cinema laughing too. The clashing of two different worlds provided the humour in both instances. To go further into this would be spoiling it. The most interesting supporting character in my opinion would be Karl Mordo played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. More on that later.First off, Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance of the titular character deserves praise. Cumberbatch is certainly no stranger to roles within the genres of action, fantasy and science fiction so it was no surprise that he could make a master magician work on film. He has made a character that was on the lower end of the totem pole of comic characters digestible for a newer audience following the similar beats in a number of previous solo movies. It will be interesting to see how this characters interacts with the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe and its characters down the line.
The villain of the movie is Kaecilus played by Mads Mikelsen. Although like most Marvel villains in most Marvel solo outings, they did not get explored as much as some would have liked to, the consequences he leaves would provide an interesting outcome. What made Loki great as a villain was that he had more time to develop as a character having been in three films already with a fourth on the way. When it comes to Mordo’s character and his journey, we may see an eventual return to that, especially given that the comics have a precedence in that Mordo has been noted as a villain to Strange.
As was promised by trailers, teasers and previous reviews, the visuals do deliver and are well worth the 3D ticket. They really do “expand your mind” and go to places previous Marvel movies have not really explored, whether it would be when city-scapes change reminiscent of Inception or otherwise. It’s also pleasing to see that the CGI used in the movie was used well when actors had scenes involving it compared to other comic book movies released this year. This especially rings true in a number of action scenes and the later acts within the film.
For a while now, a number of Marvel movies did not really have a theme score for their character with Captain America and occasionally Thor. For the movie here, I found myself humming to the theme music Michael Giacchino made for the movie. It was very fitting and was true to the character and his mystical nature. I hope that Giacchino’s theme for Doctor Strange makes its was into other movies the character will appear in, be it Avengers: Infinity War or other sequels.
As usual with Marvel movies, there are two after-credits scenes placed. Both of these teased sequels for Doctor Strange as well as the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe using an appearance that had the cinema cheering. Once again I’m interested to know what’s in store for these characters.