Where can I begin when there are already so many videos reviewing this movie? I’ll start by saying that I’m in no manner an expert when it comes to all things connected to Doctor Strange. What I know about him, I know from cartoons I’ve seen. I haven’t read any of his comics. If you’re a fan of special effects, fantasy and great acting, then this movie is for you.
Some of you may complain that the plot is so similar to other Marvel movies. Yet… you still watched all of them, didn’t you? Why? Because Marvel has a winning formula and it keeps using it and adding only slight changes and the human brain just gobbles it up like a drug. We loved it once, we will keep returning if our brain thinks it will get the same satisfaction even if it’s the same starting point: a cocky, (somewhat) average main character faces a life changing/ threatening situation, finds out about a way to regain some or all of his former strength, pursues it, doubts the solution put in front of him; then comes acceptance, the villain’s entrance, the world’s in danger and only he can save it. It sounds like almost every other superhero movie, action movie and fairy tale we heard as children. Now, it may sound like I am criticizing it, but I am not. I am pointing that you will most probably enjoy it since it is something that has influenced you positively so many other times before.
With the above things mentioned, Benedict Cumberbatch does a flawless American accent. I did not hear him, not even once, slip an English sound or word. Besides that, if you know him from his roles in Sherlock, The Imitation Game, The Hobbit, The Hollow Crown, Hamlet, Hawking, etc, you know he delivers terrific performances. And in the same excellent category as him is Tilda Swindon (nothing more needs to be mentioned; if it does, then look her up NOW!).
Tilda plays the role of the Ancient One (who is a Tibetan man in the comics), mentor and ruler over all sanctums of the Earth (three in total). These sanctums are magical sanctuaries that form a barrier which protects the earth from the malevolent magical forces of this and infinite other universes (look up the multiverse theory which is also somewhat explained in the movie). Tilda trains those who are willing to learn the skills necessary for such a job. Most of her trainees have gone through a life changing crisis and sought her out, learning that they can be part of a higher purpose along the way.
Did that sound familiar? Yes? Well it’s because Cumberbatch’s character follows the same steps. But unlike most of The Ancient One’s trainees, Dr. Stephen Strange picks up advanced magical techniques quickly due to his years of experience as a surgeon. Now, the whole training does not fly smoothly from the get go. As a rational person, Strange is punched in the face with the irrational and one does not simply ignore years and years of facts and reasoning instilled into the brain. This is where the Ancient One comes in (I will not say how because it would spoil the experience).
Moreover, for those who want a laugh or two, they will get their dose. Marvel offers similar humour to what we’ve seen in Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, Ant Man and so on. For those who want a good origin story, you have that too. Villain fans are also treated to good stuff, as the main baddie is Mads Mikkelsen (who plays Dr Hannibal Lecter in the show Hannibal, which I started watching after seeing his role in this movie and love it). Actually, he’s more an instrument of the main villain who sounds more or less like Galactus (look him up if I lost you here), except Galactus is a physical entity in contrast to the movie’s villain puppeteer.
I don’t know if my words piqued your interest or not, so I will add this: there are some scenes involving Strange having some unique, funny and introspective (out-of-body) experiences. Last but not least… if you are patient enough, there are two post credit scenes which are definitely worth the wait, as they set the stage for future Marvel adventures.
by Vlad-Ovidiu Adam