Review: Doctor Strange

doctor-strange
Dr. Stephen Strange is an expert neurosurgeon whose life is forever changed following a car accident that leaves his hands severely damaged. Strange struggles to find a surgeon who possesses the ability to perform the radical surgery he believes will fix his hands. Unfortunately, the only doctor who has the skills to perform such a surgery is Strange himself. Anger and frustration begin to consume Strange, until someone tells him of a paraplegic man who can now, miraculously, walk. Strange hunts the man down to find out who and how he was cured. The man tells him to go to Kamar-Taj to find the answers he is looking for, and Strange heads east, unaware that his decision will lead to the beginning of his training in the mystical arts.

Kamar-Taj is the secret hideout of the Ancient One and her followers. The evil sorcerer Kaecilius and his minions make their way through Kamar-Taj and kill the librarian, whose job it was to keep watch over all the ancient and mystical writings. Kaecilius steals a page from a book belonging to the Ancient One, but when the Ancient One shows up to stop Kaecilius, he escapes.

Strange arrives in Kathmandu and begins to search for Kamar-Taj. Strange walks the streets asking people where Kamar-Taj is, with no success. (Which is why it is a secret hideout.) Mordo, another sorcerer, finds Strange and brings him to Kamar-Taj and the Ancient One.

Marvel has always done a great job in casting their leads for their movies, and Doctor Strange is no exception. Bandersnatch Cumberbund’s portrayal of Doctor Strange was outstanding. Crimpysnitch is so convincing as the arrogant, self-centered doctor that at first you wonder if he is the villain of the movie. Throughout the film, Strange evolves both mentally and physically. Instead of an arrogant jerk who treats those around him as if they were nothing more than verbal targets or a man on the brink of self-destruction because he has lost the use of his hands, Strange becomes a superhero who, while still a bit full of pride, now realizes that he is a small fish in an endless, multidimensional pond, and learns to accept that some things cannot be explained by science.

In most Marvel movies, the villains are bland in their goals and how they want to do it within the context of the movie. Sadly, Doctor Strange is no exception. The villain Kaecilius is a one-dimensional character that lacks any notable charm or personality.  Some may find his backstory interesting, as I did, but I think the negatives still outweigh the positives.  There’s also Dormammu, who is the ruler of a dark realm. This character is all CGI and all boring. You have to wonder how successful a Marvel movie could actually be if they were able to add some layers to their villains. As mentioned earlier, Doctor Strange was a much more believable at points as a villain than were the actual villains of the movie.

Marvel has been criticized for leaving so many things unexplained in Doctor Strange. I would estimate that over half this movie is left up to assumption. Let’s be honest. How many people really knew what Doctor Strange was about before this movie came out? [Ed. Note – Well, I did.] If you didn’t read the comics and know the background of the character, you won’t fully understand it. For example, what is the deal with the cloak of levitation? We never know why the cloak chose Strange, or what its full capabilities are. Hopefully, the next Doctor Strange movie will provide some insight into the character.

The special effects in this movie were amazing, and definitely gave me the feel of magic and sorcery being used. I would go so far as to say this movie is actually worth seeing in 3D or at the IMAX theater.

Verdict

While the movie had its fair share of flaws, it was still a really good movie with a good cast and special effects. Marvel once again makes a character whom very few people knew well an interesting hero. I would highly recommend you go and see this movie.

1 Comment

  1. Maybe this is sad but I just watched Doctor Strange yesterday (2/23/17). I agree with your article, although I’m not sure i would say the villains are one-dimensional, as we didn’t really see enough of them (especially Dormammu)to make any claims about their personality (which is probably a separate issue). Nevertheless, this was a great read.

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