Behold and “Marvel” as Disney churns out yet another superhero film in an already oversaturated year. Yet this weekend Benedict Cumberbatch is taking a shot at taking the comic book hero lead in Doctor Strange. Many may not have heard of the celestial wizard charged with guarding the dimensions, and therefore may cock your eyebrows at what the celestial wizard has to offer. So yours truly is going to do his best to give you the scoop on the latest movie to flock theaters. As always sit back, relax and enjoy the review my friends.
- Benedict Cumberbatch as the lead
- A bizarre twist on the Marvel formula
- Well-tuned graphics
Please tell me you aren’t surprised to hear that Cumberbatch is awesome. Once more the dynamic actor impresses me at his ability to play multiple emotions in such a balanced manner. Arrogance pours from him at the beginning, nothing new from his Sherlock days, but gradually transitions into weakness, madness, and confidence as his training progresses. Cumberbatch delivers his lines to perfection all while maintain sorcerer like image that is famous of Dr. Strange. While the other actors nail their parts as well (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, and Tilda Swinton), much of the screen time is dedicated to the leading actor and his tricks.
Speaking of tricks, Doctor Strange deviates from the usual flash bang of the Marvel movies but instead trades it for balance. First off the character development is stronger than other films, using training montages to not only strengthen his magic but also teach life lessons to our doctor. Throughout the journey the humor remains, but it’s much drier and well timed than the famous Marvel one liners. Yet you shouldn’t worry that this is just one big mystical training session. Oh no, Doctor Strange has plenty of action to light up the screen, only this time it involves using spells outside of bad luck for our combatants to brawl with. Yes, rather than explosions and state of the art technology, Strange’s arsenal is all about manipulating the dimensional energy flow to generate weapons. As a result, the fights are a little more evolved and clever rather than straight up brawls. It’s odd at times, but it’s a nice deviation from the combat the other installments choose.
And how is the combat brought to life? With amazing CGI that should be nominated for a few technology awards. The simplistic spells are the usual tricks of the trade, bright, multicolored lights that are fluid and dynamic in motion. One step up are the mystical weapons that our sorcerers hold, a little higher up on the impressive scale, but still nothing Harry Potter hasn’t done before (Cloak of Levitation). No the real masterpiece is seeing the world twisted like origami, watching settings fold, tuck, and converge into a dynamic battle ground to play in. How else to describe it? Think of the scene in Inception where Leo trains the girl to flip buildings and amp that up by ten. Seeing the world fracture as it does was certainly a magical feat on its own, one that might be worth a 3-D viewing…assuming you don’t get sick.
- Not the most exciting
- A bit hokey at times
- Hard to Follow Battles
Despite all the wonderful things this movie has to offer it is not the most exciting thing to visit the Marvel Universe. The focus on character development slows the pace of the movie down and much of the battle lacked the fast pace I’m so used to seeing (Avengers, Civil War, and Iron Man 1). It wasn’t bad that it was boring, it just didn’t have the suspense I like in my superhero movies. In addition to a lack of suspense at times, Doctor strange can also be hokey at moments. Yes, I know this is a superhero movie, much of this series can be hokey at times. However, this movie’s cheesy factor comes from the grandiose hand waving gestures that tried to look mystical, but to me looked just silly. This was particularly the case for the bad guy, who has a bit too enthusiastic in his hand waving gestures, which took some of the bite out of his evil persona. Nevertheless, the graphic at least support the flailing as artificial lights dance around and make our character look prettier.
Perhaps the biggest dislike for me though, was how hard some of the battles were to follow. The constantly shifting scenery, while cool, was a little too busy at times, and often the combatants would be lost in dizzying shots. When the close combat began, the camera was a little erratic at times, which again robbed the fights of their potential to round out the mystic excitement. Throw in that most of the other characters didn’t get to show their forte in battle and hopefully you understand why I was a little disappointed in the battles. As an extra comment, beware those who get nauseous easily, you might find the effects to be a little sickening.
Overall I enjoyed Dr. Strange and found it to be a welcome addition to the Marvel Universe. This movie about the mystical sorcery arts sets the stage for more things to come, especially the end credit scenes, and was a solid film that was balanced on many levels. However, the lack of suspense and some hard to follow fights put this installment in the middle region for me. The effects and Benedict Cumberbatch should be more than enough to visit this movie in theaters, and I do recommend it for all your Marvel fans out there.
Movie Overall: 7.0