After an almost decade of establishing their Mega Brand on film with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, Marvel Studios (with the help of owner Disney) is showing no fear tapping into their library of lesser prominent characters to expand the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. Proof of that is their new venture Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch as gifted neurosurgeon who must tap into the mystic arts after a serious injury leaves him unable to perform his job. The realm of magic may seem like an odd turn for Marvel and Disney, but just like they made us buy into a tree and a talking raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy; you’ll believe in magic after seeing Doctor Strange.
The first thing that should be addressed is Doctor Strange is the most unusual Marvel movie to date. Audiences have become accustomed to superhero throw downs with iron suits, super soldiers and a big green Hulks in their Marvel movies. Doctor Strange takes psychedelic approach with its world of magic, dimensions and astral planes. The film looks like one big Marvel LSD trip with the environments turning into a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors as sorcerers battle one another through different planes of existence. Doctor Strange is a sight to behold and is the most visually stunning film Marvel has ever produced. The movie is meant to be seen in IMAX 3-D to get the full effect of the day in the life of Marvel’s favorite sorcerer.
Doctor Strange is a vibrant experience with its spells and out-of-body experiences, but one cannot live on beauty alone. That is where the Marvel casting department comes into play making sure everyone is perfect for their part. Cumberbatch was born to play the Sorcerer Supreme in training as he takes the Doctor from arrogant glory hound, to a broken man who finds redemption and a new purpose in the most unusual of places. For all the controversy surrounding the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One instead of an actor of Asian descent, the Oscar-winning actress is fabulous as Strange’s new teacher with incredible powers. Swinton is not the only one who shines in the cast as Chiwetel Ejiofor brings his A-game as always as another Magical warrior who aides Strange in his new role. The scene stealer in the group turns out to be another Benedict, Wong that is who fitting plays a librarian named Wong who has some great interactions with the other Benedict in the film. Marvel and Disney prove once again in Doctor Strange that they have an eye like no other when it comes to selecting talent for their big budget tent pole films.
Doctor Strange is the most unusual Marvel film, but just like the first Iron Man film, non comic book fans should enjoy the doctor and his magic tricks. The film is heavy on the origin story and doesn’t rely on the other past films in the franchise to create its own story arch. This is Doctor Strange’s tale for now, but as people will see if they hang around during the credits that this will soon change. The film still has villain issues that have plagued the overall franchise, yet the colorful display on-screen and the superb cast make you once again forget that Marvel has struggled bringing their iconic villains to life not named Loki. Doctor Strange is one of the coolest movies of the fall and should cast a spell over the audience whether they’re familiar with the character or not thanks to Cumberbatch and the mind bending images created on film.
Overall, I give Doctor Strange 3 out of 4 mind altering stars.
Read all T.M.’s reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell