''Doctor Strange' vsually interesting
Despite such a diverse array of genres, perhaps the biggest criticism of Marvel films is that they feel quite similar. Seen one, seen them all, with the origin story formula displayed in Iron Man, applied ad nauseam to films like Ant-Man and Captain America: The First Avenger. I’m of a mind that says if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Plus, similarities among the films could be seen as shameless copying, or thoughtful parallel.
For all that Doctor Strange has in common with the films that preceded it, I found some aspects of it to be refreshing. The story follows Doctor Stephen Strange, a genius surgeon displaying a familiar brand of arrogance. After a car accident leaves his hands unable to be remedied by the medicine he so covets, he travels east to seek the wisdom of The Ancient One. However, instead of a simple patch job, ‘Strange’ is brought the secrets of the multiverse, provided he can see past his own ego.
That idea of submitting oneself to a greater purpose is at the core of many superhero films. I find that it isn’t always done particularly well. Filmmakers tend to take for granted the fact that you probably know how the story will end, and don’t bother to flesh it out. Opting instead for zany oneliners, these are ultimately forgettable. This film, however, feels authentic because of the reverence it shows the story. The pacing is solid. You follow Strange in his struggles to look beyond himself, and you feel his arc develop.
Many times the film will take you on a journey, showing things that defy our concept of reality. It’s by far one of the most visually interesting films out this year, with a world filled with new concepts that I left the film convinced of, thanks to the compelling visuals. Visuals that help give action-oriented magic, different from what’s been seen in films like Harry Potter. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Stephen Strange, with pathos for the somber moments and provides a wide range of dynamic emotions. Actors like Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tilda Swinton elevate the film, with their particular brand of refined extravagance, even if the latter’s ethnicity feels out of place, to say the least. I’d highly recommend Doctor Strange, as a movie that decided to care about what it was trying to be, when so many movies don’t.
Rating: Big-screen watch