Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch , Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen and Michael Stuhlbarg
Director: Scott Derrickson
Runtime: 130 minutes
Synopsis: Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a former surgeon who suffered severe after effects from a car accident, begins his tutelage under the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) in order to treat his injury. Strange becomes a powerful sorcerer and chooses to protect sanctums in different cities instead of returning to his life as a surgeon. Review: Scott Derrickson is known as a horror director, but he often adds humor to the story unexpectedly. Although the story can be a little heavy, the director successfully eases off the seriousness by adding playfulness into the story.
Just like other Marvel movies, Doctor Strange also includes action and special effects. However, the movie is unique in the sense that the main character gains his supernatural powers on purpose. At first, like Captain America and Spiderman, the main character, Strange, is a normal human being and does not possess any magical powers. However, after he gets injured in a car accident and subsequently studies from the Ancient One to overcome his injury, he learns the order of nature, and thus slowly learns to use the art of sorcery.
The action sequences and computer-generated effects were reminiscent of former Marvel movies in the way that the characters fought with traditional martial arts charged with magical powers created by the “magic” of advanced computer graphics. However, some new visual elements were brought into the movie, such as the ability for sorcerers to “fold” their environments around them like the movie “Inception”. Also, the introduction of the “mirror dimension” showed how the laws of physics had no place in this world. These rich, new elements provided a fresh feeling to the movie, even though the actual narrative remained similar to other superhero movies in the past.
Doctor Strange is a unique character for the Marvel universe, because he shows a significant change of character over time. At first, Strange is very selfish and full of self confidence like many other successful and skilled surgeons. He’s also as intelligent (and snarky) or even more as his actor’s character in “Sherlock Holmes”. Yet, as he slowly acknowledges humanity through the turning point of his life, he beings to think and care for others. Most Marvel characters like Captain America and Spiderman do not show much character change, but rather, the ability for their characters to shine through their new-found powers. But, Strange, like Iron Man, actually undergoes significant humblings through traumatic life experiences.
Overall, the movie is a fun-filled, enjoyable family experience. Many audience members will leave the theater feeling energized and grinning. Even though the movie does not provide strong messages about important worldly issues or turns the genre on its head, the movie provided a rich, satisfying experience for those expecting just that.