Howdy ladies and gents, its been a while right? I was meant to review Jack Reacher: Never Go Back last week, but since Doctor Strange just came out I thought I’d skip ahead and review the latest Marvel film instead because it’s one of my most anticipated films of 2016.
So the story can be described as the following:
“Steven Strange is a brilliant yet arrogant neurosurgeon, but after his hands get horribly damaged in a car accident he seeks out help and on his journey he gets drawn into world of the mystic arts. And so Strange has to put aside his ego and open his mind to become a hero and save the world from dark forces.“
Firstly I think everyone who worked on this film deserve a pat on the back, they took what is arguably the hardest sell yet from Marvel Studios and made a solid, fun and entertaining film. Now this film isn’t without its flaws, but for what it was able to do with adapting its source material while also keeping in line with Marvel’s current style of comic book films is impressive. Doctor Strange‘s story is an origin story and certainly has familiar elements that we’ve seen in other superhero films, however, it has its own presence, sense of style and unique elements which make it feel completely different from what’s come in the genre before. This adventure was filled with excitement, mystery, drama and humour with some really interesting themes about life and death, the corruption of power, trust and betrayal, and changing for the better. This film did well to incorporate magic into the real world by diving in early in on, explaining how it worked and then dug even deeper as the film progressed and for the most part it worked. The only nitpicks I had with the film was that I thought the humour was a little hit or miss sometimes, and even though this film introduced magic in the MCU in an effective way, I feel like there were a few points where a bit more an explanation about the way magic works wouldn’t have gone a miss.
When it comes to the cast they were all really solid. Firstly there’s Benedict Cumberbatch who killed it as Doctor Stephen Strange, this man was smart and great at his craft yet arrogant, self-centered and not very likeable, however his transformation was quite significant and he later became someone you could root for. This film continues to show the brilliance of Cumberbatch’s acting skills as he showed a great deal of range and committed 100% to this character so you could understand him, love him, hate him and love him again over the course of the film. The next strongest performance came from Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, I knew she’d be good in this role but I didn’t expect to love as much as I did. The Ancient One was wise, calm and collected, but was also tough, badass and quite witty too and I really liked what Swinton brought to the role. I also loved Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, Mondo was clearly a strong-willed individual with charm, wisdom but also some minor issues of his own and Ejiofor added such a good level of energy, charisma and intensity to this character. Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer was also quite good, while I would have liked more screen time and information about her beyond her interactions with Strange, she worked well in the film as she had good chemistry with Strange and had some pretty humourous moments too. As for Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius I thought he was good, his villain character went the way of Nero from Star Trek (2009) as he was relevant but took a backseat to Strange’s hero-based journey, so overall I thought Mikkelsen brought a great screen presence and charisma to the character, but he wasn’t a MCU villain to write home about. Also Benedict Wong as Wong was quite good, he was a no-nonsense, stern and knowledgeable character and I liked Wong’s performance. And finally Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt and Scott Adkins had minor yet notable roles to play in this film and did well too.
Ad then there’s the presentation which was lovely. Visually the film was amazing and beyond what I could have imagined, before this film came out there was a lot of talk from Kevin Feige and Scott Derrickson about the use of visual effects and how they’d not only honour the Steve Ditko artwork but also expand upon the crazy visual material in last year’s Ant-Man, and boy do they deliver. Visually the film’s very colourful and has some good cinematography, but it was the use of GCI that was truly impressive. Whether it was other dimensions, magical symbols, shape-shifting buildings or astral forms, there were some really cool and unexplainable imagery, and some super trippy sequences in particular were just insane, plus the action scenes were really cool with an “Inception times 1000, on drugs” kind of vibe and a fair amount of it was incredibly inventive, fun, frantic and made good use of hand-to-hand combat and magic. And the film score by Michael Giacchino is really good, I’ve made it no secret on this blog that Giacchino is one of my favourite film composers and his work in this film was familiar yet quirky, beautiful, harrowing and heroic and while it’s not overly memorable when compared to some of Marvel’s other films, it certainly has some standout moments especially with the two songs playing in credits, they were gorgeous and should have been incorporated into the main film.
In conclusion Doctor Strange was a lot of fun and continues to show the diversity of Marvel Studios’ work with their comic book properties. This was film was a pretty big risk which for the most part paid off with a solid origin story, solid performances from the cast, awesome visuals and a lovely soundtrack. Now while this film doesn’t correct a lot of the issues that the MCU films have accumulated over the last few years and some might not understand or like what this film has to offer, overall I do believe it is worth a watch. Oh and if you get the chance to see it in IMAX do it! 😀
So are you going to see Doctor Strange or if you have seen it what do you think of the film? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments section and I’ll see ya on the next review! Laters!:)