This weekend marks the US release of the newest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Dr. Strange brings the weird and psychedelic world of mysticism into an ever expanding world of costumed heroes and villains. Does it live up to the hype and legacy of it's predecessors? Well, read on true believers and I'll give you my thoughts on the newest live action take of the Sorcerer Supreme! Warning, there may be mild spoilers.
Let's face it, 10 years ago, this movie would have never been made. Dr. Strange is not one of Marvel's A List characters. Outside of comic fans, the general public has very little knowledge about who exactly this character is. That's the beauty of how far we've come in the MCU. We're finally exploring corners of that world that when I was a kid I never would have imagined seeing on the big screen. I certainly wouldn't have thought that it would turn out as spectacular as it did.
Dr. Strange takes the MCU formula and turns it into something entirely new. It's a spectacle that will leave you breathless. At a brisk 1 hour 55 minutes, this film harkens back to the early days of Marvel's franchise. It's a stand alone origin movie that doesn't rely on having any knowledge of the previous 13 films in the series. While it does share some plot points similar to the original Iron Man film from 2008, it's told in such a refreshing way that it doesn't feel derivative.
Famed neurosurgeon and all around egotistical prick, Dr. Stephen Strange sees his world fall apart after a tragic car accident robs him of the use of his hands. He seeks help from the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and starts on his path to becoming the Sorcerer Supreme. That's all you get from me for a synopsis!
From the trailers (see above), it's obvious that Dr. Strange is going to be one trippy movie. It certainly delivers on it's promise of mind blowing special effects and the psychedelic vibe (we even get a little bit of Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive" to set the tone!) that made the original comic run so intriguing. The magic and mysticism throughout is done with such care and precision that you believe it. This isn't the "science" magic of Thor and Asgard. This is Magic magic. As Strange learns his powers, you see him grow more and more confident until the final showdown where instead of overpowering his opponent, he outwits him using all the magic at his disposal. It's a nice twist on the traditional MCU ending and a truly satisfying conclusion to the film.
Benedict Cumberbatch IS Dr. Strange. In the same way that Robert Downey Jr. embodies the role of Tony Stark, Cumberbatch has claimed Dr. Strange as his own. From the comic accurate look (ah--the Cloak of Levitation!) to the performance, it's clear that Marvel may be positioning Dr. Strange as the new face of the MCU when Downey Jr. and company part ways in the near future.
In short, Dr. Strange is a MUST see in the theatre. You don't need any knowledge of any of the films that came before to fully enjoy this one. It's a stand alone in the truest sense of the word. Not since the original Phase One films (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Incredible Hulk) has an origin story relied so little on other movies in the series. If I had to pick, Dr. Strange may actually top ANY of the previous origin films from the MCU. From the story to the visuals, this one will just blow you away and leave you wanting more. If you ever wanted to see Batman Begins meets Iron Man meets Inception meets MC Escher, Dr. Strange is just the ticket!
As always, leave your comments below and let us know what you think about Dr. Strange. Did you see it? Did you love it or hate it? Sound off down there! And while you're here, check the poll in the sidebar and tell us your favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe film.