Doctor Strange was surrounded by fandom irritation at the wrong casting of Doctor Strange and the so called white washing of the important character of the Ancient One. But how does the movie really do?
It caused quite a stir among fans when it was announced that Tilda Swinson was cast in the role of the Ancient One. But this isn’t relevant, since regardless of the casting it would have been controversial for someone.
The movie opens with a librarian being killed by a group of bad guys led by a man named Kaecilius played by Mads Mikkelson known for his work in Hanibal. We then switch to New York where the beautiful Avengers tower can be seen. But we are not going there, we turn instead to one of New York City’s finest hospitals, where Dr. Strange works, played by Bennedict Cumberbatch. He is an incredibly brilliant, and extremely arrogant neurosurgeon, and he really is as good as he thinks he is.
His arrogance leads to a car accident resulting in serious nerve damage to his hands. There goes that job. In a desperate quest to find a cure he ends up in Nepal and is shown a new way of looking at the world by Mordo and The Ancient One. He studies the Mystic Arts, but his own self-obsession still keeps him from achieving his full potential. This is the origin story of an arrogant former neurosurgeon learning that it isn’t all about him. This lesson is a trip, quite literally and the Marvel Universe is finally infused within magic like never before.
It’s an incredibly funny movie, lots of jokes, particularly as Stephen Strange attempts to make the new librarian, a man named Wong (played by Benedict Wong), laugh. While these jokes were funny, sometimes it felt as though the humor was trying to unnecessarily alleviate the seriousness that was threatening the Marvel universe.
The best part of this movie however can be summarized in two things, one is too good to spoil, while the second is of course the Cloak of Levitation, which chooses to assist Dr. Strange in his fight. The cloak is a wonderful piecece of magic and of movie making and the costume and visual effects of the movie are incredible.
The main villain of this movie is Kaecilius and Dormamu and the question of how far must one go for the greater good and achieving one’s own desires and where the line between the two is. Dormamu is intimidating and incredibly huge and Kaecilius is just creepy and ruthless. The fight scenes are incredible, and are very reminiscent of fighting seen in Inception. It’s like magical inception, incredible from a cinematography perspective, but can be a bit disorienting at times.
The acting is top knotch and the story continues to expand the Marvel Universe and leads us into Thor: Ragnarok, and the awaited Infinity War. This is a trippy adventure, with some obvious flaws, but a fun one never the less.
Final Grade: B