Doctor Strange Joins the Marvel Universe

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Wikipedia

The most recent Marvel film hitting theaters this month is “Doctor Strange,” directed by Scott Derrickson. It features the origin story of Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), an arrogant and talented neurosurgeon who gets into a horrendous car accident. After numerous attempts to surgically fix his hands, Strange leaves everything behind to go down the less travelled path of Eastern medicine, particularly that of meditation and the mystic arts.

The film features many well-known actors, most notably Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton, who plays The Ancient One. Both actors fit their roles perfectly: Cumberbatch brings his excellent delivery of quick-witted humor that he is known for using in the BBC series, “Sherlock,” while Swinton brings to her role the silent and mysterious leadership quality she has delivered brilliantly in many of her past films. A supporting character that sticks out in this film is Wong (played by Benedict Wong). He has great comedic timing and his scenes with Cumberbatch lighten up a film that could have taken itself too seriously.

The screenwriters of the movie (Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill) boast credits from notable movies in the horror genre, such as “Sinister” and “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” but when it comes to taking on a superhero origin story, it is apparent that they are sorely lacking. The script weighs down the film with numerous exposition scenes. After Strange begins to learn about the mystic arts, the film follows a linear model of exposition scenes followed by action sequences. If it were not for the ambitiously trippy masterpiece that is the CGI warping reality in each action scene, the film would have completely faltered.

After Strange is introduced to the mystic arts, CGI is used extensively like many other blockbuster movies of recent years. Most films lose believability when adding in so many computer-generated images, but the CGI in this movie goes well with its surroundings. The only time it does not work is when Strange meets a CGI character toward the end of the film. The character looks like it came straight out of a cartoon, and is clearly out of place in relation to the rest of the film. However, he luckily does not have a long amount of screen time and it does not take long to get back into the movie.

In relation to the Marvel universe that has been set up in previous installments, Strange is a great addition because of how much of a polar opposite he is from the other superheroes. This film is only meant to introduce Dr. Strange so he can star in future films alongside the Avengers, and it definitely succeeds at that.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the movie comes after the credits. In a short scene, Cumberbatch introduces what is coming up for his character in the next film with a humorous scene featuring a popular Avengers superhero. It leaves the movie on a high note, with audience members walking out of the theatre excited to see the next film in this series.