Wow! DOCTOR STRANGE is an incredible mindtrip. Its VFX alone makes Christopher Nolan's 'Inception' look like some kind of beta test. And this film is so much fun, it's hilarious, it's got some of the most complex, most elaborate action sequences I've seen all year, and I can't stop geekin' out about the cloak of levitation. This is Benedict Cumberbatch making his grand entrance into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Directed by Scott Derrickson who helped provide the script, DOCTOR STRANGE is about a successful, talented, arrogant neurosurgeon, Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Suddenly, a tragic car accident leaves Strange's hands permanently damaged, which means he can no longer perform surgery. After trying western medicine, he hears of a man who was badly injured and then got miraculously healed, this leads Strange to the secrets of a hidden world of alternate dimensions. Under the teaching and guidance of the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) Strange unleashes metaphysical abilities and ultimately takes on the responsibility of protecting earth from mystical threats.
Created by Marvel's legendary artist, Steve Ditko, the character Doctor Strange is a very unique one because he's not a product of some kind of technological armor, he's not a nordic god nor a space alien, and he doesn't get his powers from super serum nor gamma rays, and so kudos to Marvel Studios for taking a chance on this one of a kind character because it makes for an unbelievably fantastic origin story on screen that's just different from the rest of the bunch that Marvel has introduced to us so far. And there's just something refreshing about that.
What a great cast, they could not have picked a better lead star, Benedict Cumberbatch knocks it out of the park. Whenever Strange gets a bit cocky, you can see a little bit of Cumberbatch's Sherlock attitude kicking in there. But Strange is more quick to sensibility whereas Sherlock would still have to put them all through his reasoning filters. And Cumberbatch's sense of humor is absolutely sharp. There's a ton of funny moments in this film but they never take away from the problem at hand or what Strange has to tackle at that very moment.
I'm Asian but I'm not bothered by Tilda Swinton playing the Ancient One, I understand this is supposedly the film's biggest controversy but the fact of the matter is that once you've seen DOCTOR STRANGE, you'll understand why Tilda is perfect in this role. The woman is an impeccable actress and she exudes the specific wisdom needed for this because in many ways, when you deal with a monastery-like setting where people learn martial art and philosophies about self- control, the expectation is that the master would preach parables, analogies, or metaphors in bestowing that wisdom and Tilda does it with ease like David Carradine's Kwai Chang Caine from the old "Kung Fu" series.
Mads Mikkelsen's Kaecilius, I gotta say, is not my favorite villain in MCU, I think Mikkelsen does a fine job but the character just doesn't land for me. But I gotta give Scott Derrickson and his co-writers much credit for introducing as many elements as they could from Doctor Strange comic books including Dormammu, and so those who watch the film and may be confused by the jargons, like the Eye of Agamotto, can go to the comic books and discover why it is important to include those in a Doctor Strange movie along with the manipulation of space, energy and time which is also another big deal. And that leads me to what I think is the film's most amazing appeal,.. seeing buildings bend over on itself, characters teleporting, and the insane things that the cloak of levitation can do because it carries its own consciousness. It really doesn't get more of a movie magic than DOCTOR STRANGE.
-- Rama's Screen --