The magical world is not exclusive to the wizarding world of Harry Potter and the magicians of Now You See Me, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken a jump into the magical niche with Doctor Strange.
Doctor Strange introduced himself officially on Friday Nov. 4. If you had read my previous review here, you could get a better idea of who the character is.
For a TL;DR version, Dr. Stephen Strange was a neurosurgeon who was involved in a tragic car accident that leaves his hands broken, leading him to lose the precision he needs in his field. After trying every method in western medicine that could help bring his hands back, Strange turns to mystic medicine after hearing how a paralyzed man was able to walk again after receiving this mysterious medication. Soon, he travels to Tibet to find how the man regained his ability to walk. He finds the people who helped the patient, and talk about how they did it, but they showed Strange more than just that.
Movie Magic: The Real Magic
In today’s day and age, triple-A title movies have taken a large leap forward into visual effects. Doctor Strange goes above and beyond astronomically with what VFX can do.
If you thought the wizarding world of Harry Potter or the shifting world of Inception was mind-bending, then prepare yourself for something extraordinary. The visuals in this film stay true to the original psychedelic style of the original Doctor Strange comics, therefore, the movie is not for the faint of heart, motion sick, or LSD users (we do not condone drug use, it can fry your brain, take our word for it).
Taking inspiration from Buddhism, martial arts, and stereotypical eastern mystic magic, the movie brings to life both the culture of the worlds they talk about. The film brings them to life in a well-paced balance between story-telling, action, and setting manipulation.
Sherlock, The Doctor, and His Cast of Companions
It was not a strange idea casting Benedict Cumberbatch for the role. Known for his work on BBC’s Sherlock, Cumberbatch brought that clever, cocky, and arrogant charm that Stephen Strange naturally has. He was able to bring the doctor to life (not that Doctor).
The cast as a whole for the movie is relatively small, but the dynamic between the actors fit their respective roles fairly well. The mystic trainer, the arrogant hero who learns his ways, the questioning protégé, and the villains who strayed too far for their own good.
A Movie About Why I Don’t Play Magic Users
Alongside the acid trip effects, the movie blends well with the lore of magic. Even though every medium has its own form of magic, I couldn’t help but think: yeah this is why I hate magic, but in the fun way.
During one point in the film, The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) explained how their magic worked in a manner that kept the story sci-fi and fantasy with a complete hero element. This kind of magic did not rely on too many incantations like Harry Potter, but more hand motions, like Avatar: The Last Airbender, the TV show of course.
The way the effects were implemented in showcasing the magic were seamless, blending the movie magic, the mystic magic and the parlor trick that leaves the audience in awe.
Look Closely or You’ll Miss It
Aside from the fact that it is a Marvel movie and that there will be something worth waiting for after both credits, there are many hints and nods towards the other Marvel movies.
Slowly all the pieces for Marvel’s big crossover is falling into place with Doctor Strange with hints, references, and cross-connections between other heroes. Not only will it make a speculative fans go “oh oh oh, it’s that thing!!” It has subtle tongue-in-cheek jokes to the other Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Overall, Doctor Strange is an acceptable addition to the Avenger lineup. We can only hope to see what he brings to the Avenger dynamic in Infinity War when it comes out as two installments in the coming years.