“Doctor Strange” Movie Review

It’s official. After a few years of hiatus, Gregory House has become a sorcerer. Kind of. Well, actually… not at all. This fantasy comic book superhero movie from director Scott Derrickson released on November 4th, 2016, conjuring up nearly $580 million by its third weekend. The second installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Three and the fourteenth outing overall, Doctor Strange has had a grueling pre-production beginning as far back as 1986, before producer Kevin Feige formally announced in October of 2014. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Stephen Strange, an acclaimed but arrogant and pragmatic neurosurgeon who gets into a car wreck one rainy night. The wreck renders his hands almost useless, and in a desperate quest for help, he joins a group of monks in the mountains of Nepal. Their leader, The Ancient One, chooses instead to widen his keyhole of life and teach him in the Mystic Arts. And now they must stop a former acolyte named Kaecilius from collapsing the multiverse in on itself. The result is one hell of an enjoyable movie. Soon after the film was announced a couple years ago, everyone on the Internet, myself included, speculated that Benedict Cumberbatch would get the part. And he’s fantastic in the role, and as said my intro, the Batch of Cumber’s American accent makes him sound like the titular character from the Fox television series, House M.D. You can tell he had a fun time filming his role, especially since this origin story shows that Stephen Strange initially does not want to become a defender of the dimensions. He can choose to use his learnings for a higher cause than himself and really break his inflated ego, or take the magic to simply heal his hands forever. The rest of the supporting cast was great. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tilda Swinton are two actors who should just be cast into any script that comes their way, and their performances as Mordo and The Ancient One, respectively, felt right. Mads Mikkelsen, formerly known as Hannibal Lecter on the canceled NBC drama, proved yet again his ability to play great villains. At this point, he’s kind of like Christopher Walken from the 90’s; you want him to play a kickass antagonist no matter how ridiculous the role. Kaecilius isn’t in the movie so much, but he’s not totally useless like other Marvel villains, such as Zemo from Civil War or Whiplash from Iron Man 2. You get the idea that he was actually important to get the ball rolling. I also like how the magic in the movie worked. The characters explain each of the abilities on a molecular-based level,  bolstered by the film’s dazzling visual effects. When Strange remarks how none of this makes any sense, The Ancient One simply replies, “Not everything does. Not everything has to.” I’m not going to say that Doctor Strange will get nominated for Best Special Effects, but it’s definitely… strange. I know, it was too easy, but I really couldn’t help myself. After proving his worth on big-budget projects such as Mission Impossible, Star Trek, and various Pixar movies, composer Michael Giacchino comes to score the soundtrack, and boy does it sound different than what I expected. Heavily influenced by the likes of Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan in the 1970’s, the musical score largely consists of twangy electric guitars and extensive percussion sets. This by far the only Marvel movie where I have driven home and was constantly humming the main theme song. Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t count because it’s soundtrack is made up of classic pop songs. However, in moving on, as one would probably expect from a Marvel entry at this point, there is a need to stick around after the credits have rolled to get clues about the next movie lined up for next year. And like many of the recent entries, there are actually two post-credits-scenes to look out for. Without spoiling anything, I personally enjoyed the second one better because it was just far more surprising and foreshadowing for a certain character’s future. I will say that Doctor Strange is one of the best introductions to new Marvel characters we’ve had in a while. Best of the tear? That’s still debatable. But if you’re a fan of Marvel Studios, Benedict Cumberbatch, or just weird movies in general, it’s a solid film to see with your kids this holiday break.

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