Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swindon
Director: Scott Derrickson
Producer: Kevin Feige
Screenplay: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Story: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Based on: Doctor Strange by Steve Ditko
Music: Michael Giacchino
Cinematography: Ben Davis
Editing: Wyatt Smith, Sabrina Plisco
Budget: $165 million
Running time: 115 minutes
3D Score: 4.25
Technical Aspects: 4
THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE (& FAT-FREE) REVIEW
Script & Screenplay
Marvel’s Doctor Strange is as formulaic in plotting and execution as an origin story can become, but they still deliver thoroughly exciting and occasionally mind-bending entertainment.
The plot follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilizing a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel cinematic universe.The action shifts from New York to Kathmandu to multiverses to sanctum to Hong Kong and finally to the dark realms.The pace is slick and you will almost feel like you are on LSD or any other psychedelic drug if you will.
The film revolves around magic and mysticism which transcend the bounds of time.If only the makers would have put in an effort to transcend their bounds yet we still have at our hands a superhero film unlike any other and this is Doctor Strange’s biggest win.
The movie has a generous sprinkling of clever aspects as well as visual tricks and trippy action scenes envisioned by director Scott Derrickson.I can bet that 99.9% of the world’s population would find the action as unique, original and mind-bending.
While comparisons to Inception are obvious, with cities bending and folding into themselves, this goes way beyond that. The colors, the upside-down, fight-on-the-wall, jump-to-this-dimension action; the way the mystical powers they use enhance everything even further, it all left me astounded by how awesome it was to watch on the big screen. I don’t even know how they pulled it off, nor do I care, I was so caught up in what I was watching that I didn’t even need to think about what filmmaking trickery they were using
Benedict Cumberbatch owns this film totally immersing himself into the initially arrogant and egotistical Doctor(yeah shades of Sherlock) and later a gifted and mature sorcerer.Suave in dialogue delivery and brilliance in action scenes, he leaves a lasting impact.
Chiwetel Ejiofor impresses as the strong-willed master sorcerer Modo & Tilda Swindon is brilliant cast as the complicated and seemingly immortal Sorcerer Supreme.
Rachel McAdams leaves her mark in the similar capacity as did Pepper to Tony and Jane to Thor.
Mads Mikkelson plays the primary antagonist Kaecilius playing the generic not-so-powerful Marvel villain and the role doesn’t do justice to his talent.
Overall the performances are great and nobody disappoints.
Action, VFX & 3D Score
While Marvel fans got a taste of what to expect with the kaleidoscopic Quantum Realm at the end of Ant-Man, Derrickson’s movie cranks that up at every opportunity, and it’s honestly breathtaking. In an early sequence, The Ancient One rockets a skeptical Doctor Strange through a series of alternate dimensions, and as the Ancient One narrates through voice over the display of infinite universes, you can’t help but be just as hypnotically stunned as the arrogant surgeon
Clear inspiration is drawn from the beautiful work of Steve Ditko in the character’s earliest comics, and it’s brought to life in a stunning fashion with awesome visual effects that just weren’t cinematically available up until now
Much more than just portal-hopping, the film utilizes what is called “the Mirror Dimension” to create what is essentially a most surreal interpretation of the real world where cityscapes can be shifted and turned at will and gravity flipped (all of it imperceptible to the non-magically inclined). These sequences, along with a finale that utilizes time manipulation in amazing ways truly make Doctor Strange stand out as one of the most visually inventive and incredible films put out by Marvel Studios.
If there was ever a film that needed to be seen in 3D, it’s certainly Doctor Strange. Marvel has stepped up their 3D game to no end, and while there’s still elements that need a little more tweaking, the usage of the format really does carry this film out of this world, and into the next. Don’t hesitate to book an IMAX 3D if you will, as the aspect ratio and sound tweaks in large format really do go well with this 3D masterwork.
Music/BGM & other Technical Aspects
The brilliant score by Michael Giacchino has an uncanny touch to it and is absolutely fitting for the film jumping between somber and crescendos as the scene demands with ease.
The production values are awesome with majestic set-pieces and breakneck cinematography by Ben Davis.This is one of the biggest films in terms of vision that Marvel has ever produced and they have done total justice to it.
This a must watch (theatrical) for Marvel aficionados.Experiences and interpretations with this movie will be different for everyone, and casual movie goers might not connect with Strange’s story as deeply as MCU followers would.Nevertheless, everyone is sure to be blown away by how totally stunning this vibrant, visual extravaganza is.
P.S. : Don’t miss the mid-credits(brilliant animation) and the mid-credits scene feat…well see for yourself.By the time the second post-credits scene(you can easily skip it) plays out and the words “Doctor Strange will return” appear in big white letters against a black backdrop, you’ll be left craving for more.
Enjoy this fantastic trailer in the meantime.Until next time…
HOW ‘DOCTOR STRANGE’ FITS INTO THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE ?
Possible Spoilers ahead
MCU is already leaps and bounds ahead of DC and with Doctor Strange, they have already set up brilliantly the final pieces for the epic finale( read Infinity War) as DC struggle to get even the basics right.
The core difference between DC and Marvel films that I observe is that MCU has been set up in a very real world and all the super-powers and infinity stones and Chitauri can be (more or less) explained as high-science, future world or alien tech.
Doctor Strange is the game-changer for MCU with its roots being magic, mysticism and spirituality.
Then how does Doctor Strange fit in the world where Avengers and Guardians exist?
Essentially they are six incredibly powerful stones that each represent a different aspect of the universe: Space, Mind, Reality, Power, Soul and Time. All but two of these (Soul and Time) have popped up in various Marvel movies leading up to Doctor Strange.
Interestingly ….(drumroll) the fifth stone has shown up in Doctor Strange and there is your connection to MCU.I would not reveal the details of the stone, go and watch the movie for that.
As we approach Avengers: Infinity War and Thanos’ quest to hold all of the Infinity Stones grows even more intense, expect Doctor Strange and his unique ability to help fend off threats from other dimensions to play a large role in assisting the Avengers with whatever crazy other-dimensional nastiness Thanos throws at them.