The Sorcerer Supreme comes to life in this brilliant, fun, and gloriously weird adaptation in our Doctor Strange review!
(Minor spoilers below.)
Iron Man debuted in the summer of 2008, and to date Marvel has released thirteen other comic book films. Of the lot, five of them told origin stories, so there had been talk of early onset superhero fatigue. We can safely put that conversation to rest for the foreseeable future. Doctor Strange not only proves Marvel still has stories tell, they deserve the benefit of the doubt when launching new franchises.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays the role of Doctor Stephen Strange perfectly. He blends blends arrogance, wonder, and odd duck humor (who knew the Sorcerer Supreme was such a music junkie!). Comparisons to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark on the surface make sense, but outside of both characters starting off rich, famous, and egotistical, their journeys go in two completely different directions. Tony Stark spends his trilogy battling against problems he helped create. Strange’s pilgrimage sets him on journey beyond his own myopic view of the world. Even the final battle ends in an atypical superhero victory.
We also get our first glimpse into the world of magic from Marvel. Again, comparisons to movies like Inception or even Avatar seem valid, but trust me, you’ve never seen anything like this. The battles are gorgeous and imaginative. The realms are diverse and mystical.
The supporting cast also does a superb job. Tilda Swinton balances compassion, wisdom, and strength. Rachel McAdams adds humanity. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays a worthy companion for the great doctor, and Wong receives a much needed and well executed revision for our current times. Hell, even Strange’s cloak has an awesome personality!
The strongest, most agreed upon critique of the MCU concerns their weak villains. Unfortunately Doctor Strange does nothing to stem that criticism. While Mads Mikkelson’s presence is foreboding, we get another half-formed antagonist. However, layers of future villains are seeded in this origin story, and it should be fun to witness these individuals turn toward the darkside.
Adventure lovers everywhere will enjoy Doctor Strange. If you’re a superhero fanatic like me, you’ll probably see it at least three times. If Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t prove it, Marvel has dived head first into the trippy and the weird, and we all benefit from that decision.
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