So this time round we have part 14 in the MCU with Doctor Strange. Now this movie is what I would consider a slight contradiction on what has come before, by this I mean, it’s a movie that feels very familiar, yet also completely different from what we have had before. It’s of course another superhero origin story, yet it is going into a trippier, more psychedelic place than any other comic movie has done before.
So Doc Strange, played excellently by Benedict Cumberbatch, the brilliant yet absolutely arrogant Surgeon Doctor Stephen Strange gets into a car accident where his hands are mangled, putting an abrupt end to his career – something which he refuses to accept and I can only imagine how much of his money he has burnt through trying every experimental surgical technique to repair his body. With no procedure able to help he turns to other avenues which take him to a place called Kama-Taj. Here he is led to believe he will find a more spiritual manner to restore his life to what it once was.
It is here that instead of finding someone who practices medicine he encounters “The Ancient One”, the “Sorcerer Supreme” whose followers include powerful sorcerers Mordo and Wong – who show Strange incredible things to overcome his initial scepticism, and lead him to becoming her newest student. A student who particularly adept and, it seems, destined for great things.
I wish Doctor Strange didn’t feel quite as ‘by the book’ as it does at times, it still follows a pretty standard path and has some of the same issues as several other Marvel films (Most of which I have still loved). It has both a love interest and a villain that feel under served. Take Rachel McAdams she is an innately likable, grounded actress who helps you to invest in Strange’s friend and former lover Doctor Christine Palmer. Yet she isn’t given all that much to do of note beyond some amusing reactions to things occurring around her.
Now as for the film’s villain, much has been said about how the bad guys are often a weak link throughout the generally strong MCU and Strange’s foe here definitely won’t do much to change that reputation. The strengths of Doc Strange are the actors and the visuals. This is a rather incredible cast and there are moments when, with all the Hollywood power on screen, it’s hard not to simply sit back and just smile seeing all these talented actors sharing the screen.
The big final battle of Doctor Strange is a mixed bag. Strange gets to show off his resolve in some rather interesting and clever ways with some shots looking like they could have been lifted from Inception. Although one little issue I have with this final battle is that the supporting cast just feel like they are there for no reason other than just to fill space.
DIAGNOSIS – Inpatient Care
So after so many comic book movies its perhaps unavoidable that Doctor Strange has echoes of films that have come before, the well off, arrogant, sarcastic guy who is brought down a peg after a near death experience and then remade into a true hero. The MCU was built on that formula with Iron Man eight years ago. But the other realms and accompanying visuals it brings into the MCU, are fascinating and thrilling and with a lot of potential for the future. Now that his origin story is out of the way, I truly look forward to seeing what’s next for the good Doctor.