Let me begin with the mandatory superhero movie disclaimer: The guy who has written this review has no experience of reading these comics. He belongs to that percentage of the audience who are familiar to these characters only through movies and therefore there won’t be any actual comic vs movie comparisons.
Doctor strange, Marvel’s new Superhero to its universe marks an impressive entry and this under two hours long cinema is largely entertaining. Being the first in the franchise, the main aim here is to establish the characters and also to let us know their significance in the universe that already has avengers. With stunning visuals that rightly conveys the dimensions and the zone of Strange’s abilities, Doctor Strange is a smartly made entertainer.
The character in the comic was set in the 60’s and here we have him in the modern day. Stephen Strange is this arrogant, self centered, egoistic and highly capable neurosurgeon. The Tony Stark of the medical world unfortunately met with an accident which limited his capabilities to do very basic things using his hands. Strange gets mentally destroyed and is desperately looking for a solution and his quest takes him to Kamar-Taj. What happens there and how Strange manages to learn about the world of dimensions is what the movie talking about.
When it comes to the superhero genre, Marvel has this edge. Their movies have that right mix of intellect and entertainment. Doctor Strange as a one liner is pretty much a story we have heard in many formats. But it is the way they packages everything effectively in to one single movie that makes it an exciting product. Scott Derrickson in a very small span of time introduces us to the character of Stephen Strange. The minimal and efficient introduction of the character and his quest for solution etc. are happening in brisk pace and yet you don’t feel that it was too less. The training phase has that right mix of quirky humor and intellectualized piece of writing which describes about the dimensions and its possibilities. Because of the emphasis they have given to the “trick” in the first half, you might be able to guess about how it will get used again. But there also Derrickson thrashes out your skepticism with a stunning visual rendering of the concept.
Benedict Cumberbatch was super cool in being Doctor Strange. The ego, the grace and that sense of humor of Strange got presented in a very elegant way. It would be really interesting to see him and Tony Stark in a conversation. The next best thing would be the casting of Tilda Swinton as the mentor of Strange. This character in the comic is a male and Derrickson has taken a risk by doing this casting and for someone like me who hasn’t read the comics Tilda’s performance looked really graceful. The kind of maturity and simplicity you would expect for such a role was there in Tilda’s performance. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo delivers a nice performance. Rachel McAdams was fine in her character. Benedict Wong was good and the antagonist Kaecilius played by Mads Mikkelsen was also impressive.
Scott Derrickson who has a lot of horror thrillers to his credit has managed to strike a good balance between fun and sentiments with Doctor Strange. The sort of humor we have seen in Marvel’s universe was there here as well. To be honest, I felt it would be the darkest film in this Marvel universe as it has all these elements of magic and all. But to my surprise it was pretty much entertaining. Whenever the content moves to a darker zone, Derrickson and Robert Cargill pulls it out of that patch by adding minimal quirks or some pretty big ones like that time loop. The predictability because of the formulaic inclusion of certain elements is probably the main demerit of the movie. The visuals are stunning and no wonder we had to wait so long for the VFX credits to finish and see that post credit scene.
Doctor Strange has arrived in style and the movie succeeds in entertaining the viewers. With such a character getting added up to the big franchise, it is going to be more fun I guess.
Doctor Strange has arrived in style and the movie succeeds in entertaining the viewers.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended