The latest movie to join the long line of Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch (AKA Sherlock Holmes, AKA Khan, AKA Smaug, etc) as the renowned surgeon Stephen Strange. Director Scott Derrickson has done an extraordinary job bringing the beloved Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme himself, to life from the pages of Marvel comic books.
After playing extremely serious and intense characters like Sherlock Holmes, it was a welcome change to watch Benedict Cumberbatch enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the arrogant and, quite often, rude Stephen Strange. In order to mend himself after his hands were damaged in a horrific car accident, Doctor Strange seeks the rumoured land of Kamar-Taj.
Despite Strange’s skepticism and arrogance, he progresses extremely quickly as a sorcerer, encountering the mystical Cloak of Levitation, which, let’s face it, had quite an attitude for a floating piece of cloth. The fact that so much character was given to a normally inanimate object provided a twist to Doctor Strange’s atmosphere, integrating some much-appreciated comedy and chemistry between the cloak and Doctor Strange throughout the second half of the film. (By the way, Benedict Cumberbatch just completely nails the look of Doctor Strange.)
The Astral (“soul) Dimension, the Mirror Dimension, the Dark Dimension; Guardians of the Galaxy may have brought the cosmos to the big screen, but Doctor Strange really brings a whole lot of mysticism to the table. This allows the film to present itself as a distant cousin to the other Marvel Studios films we’ve had so far.
However, by far the most interesting aspect of Doctor Strange was the concept of bending space and time, especially during Cumberbatch’s showdown with Dormammu, a supposedly infinitely powerful being from the Dark Dimension. In an unexpected turn of events, Strange uses an artifact called the Eye of Agamotto to create an infinite time loop within the Dark Dimension, starting with Strange meeting Dormammu and ending with Strange’s death every time. It was painful to watch Cumberbatch die over and over again, in so many different, gruesome ways that only the video game Mortal Kombat’s fatalities can seem to match.
The flow of Doctor Strange seemed a tad bit rushed in the beginning, with Stephen Strange seemingly mastering the elementary and intermediate skills as a sorcerer and already learning to control time by nearly the 70-minute mark of the film. Furthermore, Stephen Strange may be the most arrogant character we’ve seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet. Nevertheless, as we saw in the film’s first mid-credits scene, Doctor Strange most definitely will become a hero and join up with the Avengers sooner than we might think, starting with helping Thor look for Loki in Thor: Ragnarok.
Rather than another long, drawn-out fight between heroes and robots, Marvel Studios decided to spice things up a bit and bring us this intriguing and exciting new film Doctor Strange. Stephen Strange’s pure intellect but desire to help brought us back to the days when the first Iron Man movie was released, making the two moustached geniuses seem like long-lost twins.
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 coming up next, Marvel Studios has quite some hype to live up to. Let’s hope they deliver in 2017 as they did this year with Doctor Strange!
Dormammu, I’ve come to bargain.
– Daniel Park (‘17)
Featured Image: Marvel Studios