Dr. Strange is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Marvel Studios. It’s got A-list actors, solid screenwriting and visual effects that can challenge any other studio. Is it without it’s faults though? Unfortunately, not quite.
This film begins by showing us an action sequence that sets the stage for the rest of the film by with wild set changes and different effects that really make this film stand out from any of the previous ones. There’s multiple points where the world basically turns into a giant kaleidoscope that is constantly changing which is honestly one of the more enthralling sequences that they’ve done since the start of the MCU.
Marvel has perfected the Origin story with films like this, Ant-Man and Iron Man. Seeing Stephen Strange change from the arrogant Neurosurgeon to the Master of Mystic Arts was just a perfect transition and I loved that the ending of the film doesn’t leave you feeling like it’s done, Dr. Strange still has a lot of character growth and I like that instead of cramming everything in the first one we get to see just enough for the origin and the rest will be shown over future films…which are set up perfectly in the two after credit scenes. A lot of people will say that the story is a bit too linear for their taste but it never felt like more of the same for me. It is a story about a man becoming a hero and learning how to stop the villain but it’s done in a new way that was very refreshing to me and I think it will be to a lot of people.
Benedict Cumberbatch shines as the Doctor. He’s a man that you wouldn’t normally root for due to his shortcomings but you quickly fall in love with him after you see how he changes over the course of the film. His changes from an emotional and mental level happen primarily due to the efforts of The Ancient One who is wonderfully performed by Tilda Swinton. Her interactions with Strange are clearly the highlights of the film, particularly when they’re together on the astral plane towards the end of the film. It’s at this point that you realize how far Strange has come as a character and I don’t think it would’ve worked as well if it had been anybody besides Cumberbatch and Swinton.
They’re joined by Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo, a contemporary for Strange after he joins with them at Kamar Taj. Ejiofor delivers a solid performance here and it’s to be expected from this oscar-caliber star. In fact, one of the few issues I have with this film is that it needed a bit more of him but there’s always time for him in the sequels.
Mads Mikkelsen plays Kaecilius, A sorcerer who has defected from the Ancient One’s teachings and begun to seek out an opportunity to gain more power elsewhere. Mikkelsen does very well in this role, but he remains downplayed throughout much of the film and that’s really my main issue with this film : the villain is good, could be great. I know I’m a little nit-picky but that’s the point of the review.
Last but not least Benedict Wong plays Wong, who is the stoic librarian. Unfortunately, talking more about his character would spoil some of the films better scenes but just know that he, the cloak of levitation and any scene involving the astral plane are all scene stealers that will surely go down as some of Marvel’s best moments.