Captivating visuals, with amazing acting.
Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a highly talented neurosurgeon. However, after totaling both his car and his body in a car accident (don’t speed and text people), his hands are no longer able to operate as they used to. Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) tries to be there for support, but his arrogance pushes her away. Strange then chases after whatever possibility there is to fix his condition. He then meets Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who open his mind to the spiritual world. Together, they must ward off attacks from Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and his followers. Directed by Scott Derrickson.
Benedict Cumberbatch is a great casting choice for Dr. Strange. While I had my doubts as to Cumberbatch’s ability to play a ‘superhero’, his personality and character portrayal fits well into this persona. I do think this isn’t a totally accurate representation of the Dr. Strange in the comics, but it is still a good one. McAdams does well in her supporting role, and I am glad they did not give her character a useless role. As well, Swinton is kick-ass as the Ancient One, and her calm demeanor completes her character.
The only problem I have with the casting, is that it tries and fails to be diverse. There’s Ejiofor, and Benedict Wong (who plays a character named Wong), and while it is great that these two are in the film, the ‘organization’ was in Nepal, and I saw no Nepalese characters with a role in the film. Swinton herself is a very white contrast to the supposedly Asian setting. Apart from that, the whole cast did their parts well, and helped to sell this fantasy world.
A major aspect of this film are the creative and mind-bending visuals, producing such complex and intricate designs that are simply baffling. Before watching the film, I read some comments which encouraged watching the 3D/IMAX version of this film, and I gave in. I watched this in ordinary 3D, and while I can’t be completely sure, I think it did add to the effect of visuals. There are many manipulations and distortions of reality that are better seen in 3D. Of course, I would have to watch this again in 2D to see if there really was much of a difference.
I would not be at all surprised if Doctor Strange won awards for its visuals and design. The intricate details with vivid colors are really magnificent, and must have taken the visual team ages to complete. Not only that, but the film is heavily invested in visual effects (with the sorcery and what not), and this too is impressive.
The story is presented well, and I liked how it started with the fantasy world, and then transitioned into Strange’s ‘ordinary’ world. The action scenes between the ‘real’ and the ‘fantasy’ world complement each other nicely. I’ve noticed some of the supporting casts (who had no dialogue) are trained in martial arts, and so pretty much make up the stunt team. That’s a good way to get fights in…to just have characters acting as muscle.
Anyway, it was a fantastic watch, certain to bring you on a ride to fantasy land. The only complaints I have with the film is the not so diverse cast, and the fact that the almighty dark under-lord did not seem very scary. It was more comical, which I felt could have been made in a darker tone with a more serious ending. This ending was almost childlike – which would fit well in the cartoons like Justice League.
PROS: Amazing visuals, effects, acting
CONS: Non-diverse cast, ending
I give this a 9/10.
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P.S. There are two end credits, so make sure you stay till the end if you want to catch it.