Marvel Gets Trippy with the Stunning Spectacle of ‘Doctor Strange’

VANAPHASE™ the Vanadium powerhouse!

Doctor Strange

Marvel Studios has done little to relinquish their iron-clad grip over the state of superhero cinema, and their chief competitor seems more than willing to shoot themselves in the foot. Now that Marvel has become a cornerstone of the pop culture conversation for nearly a decade, the studio has been focusing on getting some of their lesser known characters to grace the silver screen. First was the surprise hit of Guardians of the Galaxy, and then Ant-Man came and surprised many people. Now the Marvel Cinematic Universe is ready to crossover into its oddest corners yet with Doctor Strange, an enduring character that has never been overly popular despite being the figurehead of Marvel’s mystical elements.

All of the problems that afflict most Marvel movies – underwhelming villains, epic final battles that seemingly always have the fate of the world hanging in the balance – are here. All of the things that set Marvel apart from their competitors are also here – a great cast, a light touch to its sense of humor. What Doctor Strange has that no other comic book movie does is a wild visual style that pushes the boundaries of effects technology while dazzling the audiences with imagery that is as colorful and bizarre as anything Jack Kirby committed to paper with pencil and ink.

Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a neurosurgeon whose talents are only matched by his hubris. Working alongside his former lover and current colleague Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), Strange works wonders on patients that are teetering on the brink of life and death. When a car accident severely damages his gifted hands, the brilliant surgeon goes in the midst of a personal crisis as he’s always identified himself through his work which he is now incapable of performing. Having exhausted the limits of medicine, Strange travels to Kathmandu in search of a mystical place that can teach one to channel unknown healing abilities. With an assist from the stranger Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Strange finds himself under the tutelage of the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who opens up the world to Strange beyond the simple façade of everyday life. As Strange becomes a student in this world of secret mysticism, he finds himself a soldier in an impending war between the sorcerers for good and Kaecillius (Mads Mikkelsen), a former student of the Ancient One turned bad who wishes to surrender Earth to the world-eating demon from another dimension Dormammu.

Not only does director Scott Derrickson’s film feature some of the most eye-popping visuals of any modern blockbuster, it breezes along despite a large amount of expository dialogue that defines the film’s first half. Screenwriters John Spaihts, C. Robert Cargill, and Derrickson are tasked with establishing a wildly complicated world that exists on the fringes of the MCU, but with a few well-placed jokes and a lot of forward momentum they overcome this obstacle with ease. Whereas most Marvel movies are concerned with nods to the past and winks towards the future, Doctor Strange is probably the best of the recent standalone films to emerge from the MCU.

In his first turn within the MCU, Benedict Cumberbatch holds own. He’s magnificent in presenting the complexities that define the character – his early egotism and latter altruism – as he’s going through these changes before us. Cumberbatch brings a deft sense of comedic timing to his role as well. Shinning opposite Cumberbatch is Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One. Of course, Swinton’s casting has caused its own set of controversy for whitewashing of the traditionally Asian character in the book. I guess the only way the filmmakers could dodge this charge is by casting someone who is practically an alien. In brief supporting roles, Benedict Wong and Michael Stuhlbarg flesh out each side of Strange’s multi-faceted reality. Sadly, Mads Mikkelsen isn’t destined to be the next great Marvel villain. The Danish actor is given a fairly undefined character, though he does get a few moments that are slightly notable. However, Kaecillius is just another in a long line of interchangeable, underwhelming villains within the MCU, all of which pale in comparison to Tom Hiddleston’s Loki.

The real reason to purchase a ticket for Doctor Strange are the astounding visuals that Derrickson brings to the screen. From its opening scene to its conclusion, Doctor Strange is a visual feast that is never anything short of spectacular. In the modern era of CGI, visual effects have lost the quality to inspire wonder because the answer to “how did they do that?” is simple: computers. But Doctor Strange defies such a simple answer and despite its ample CGI imagery, there’s still that sense of wonder as to how these amazing images were brought to the screen. Rarely do I feel the need to endorse a film’s 3D presentation, but Doctor Strange is the exception (and the IMAX isn’t too shabby either). Whereas previous Marvel films have felt as if 3D was an afterthought included only for the few extra bucks it adds to ticket cost, it feels absolutely necessary with Doctor Strange, as the added depth to the film enhances the interdimensional psychedelia on display.

Every year the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. With Doctor Strange, it’s undoubtedly for the better as the Sorcerer Supreme unleashes a new level to the MCU that stands on its own, though we all know it’s going to tie in to the whole in the very near future (a mid-credits scene also provides a tease that is a genuine surprise). At this point, I’m left to wonder just which unlikely character Marvel wouldn’t be able to effectively introduce into the MCU. (I don’t know, Super Pro?) Armed with the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto, Doctor Strange is equipped to fight any form evil, even your own cynicism towards the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
ronnie coleman
Become a King with a Free Gym Pass – Ronnie Coleman: The King Review

A long, long time ago before IG fitness models were a thing,...

netflix anime
New Anime Series for Netflix Starting this Fall

Netflix announced two new anime series during the Netflix Anime panel at...

zombie land saga
From the Creators of Yuri on Ice, Zombie Land Saga

TLDR Cygames announced an all new anime, Zombie Land Saga, at...

Event News Event Reviews
Blizzard SDCC 2018
Blizzard SDCC 2018 – Blizzard Entertainment Brings Massive Lineup to SDCC

Blizzard in SDCC 2018 – Blizzard Entertainment brings Overwatch, StarCraft, and...

Nuclear Blast SDCC 2018
Nuclear Blast SDCC 2018 – Nuclear Blast Teams Up with JSR and Stern Pinball

Nuclear Blast SDCC 2018 – Nuclear Blast Teams Up with JSR...

Anime expo 2018
Anime Expo 2018 Brings the Heat to Los Angeles

Last year, I picked on Anime Expo not being worth the...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Jurassic Park: The Chaos Gene
Mondo Games Unleashes Jurassic Park: The Chaos Gene Board Game

MONDO GAMES unleashes Jurassic Park: The Chaos Gene board game for 25th Anniversary...

Great Coffee Break
Escape Work By Playing The Great Coffee Break

You can escape work, in more ways than one, by playing The...

Marvel Contest of Champions Battlerealm Review
Marvel Contest of Champions Battlerealm Review

Upper Deck’s Marvel Contest of Champions Battlerealm Review – Travel the...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
black torch
Black Torch – New Supernatural, Action Manga from Viz Media

VIZ Media releases a new, supernatural story with the release of...

Batman / The Maxx: Arkham Dreams
Sam Kieth Makes Long-Awaited Return to The Outback in Batman / The Maxx: Arkham Dreams

SAN DIEGO, CA and BURBANK, CA (June 21, 2018) – Batman...

Wrestling Writer Legends Bill Apter & Gary Morgenstein Announce, ‘The Last Wrestler’

To names that are synonymous with professional wrestling journalism and well...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
heaven's feel
Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] THE MOVIE I. presage flower Blu-ray Release

TLDR Aniplex of America announced that box office hit, Fate/stay night ...

Few Even Come Close – EVEN H2 Headphones Review

Even headphones are like having prescription glasses, but for your ears...

Black Widow Ozobot Skin
Learn the Code, then Break It With The Ozobot Black Widow Skin

Hands down the most fun anyone can have learning to code...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
NJPW G1 Special from San Francisco Results

New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) the King of Sports returns to...

Jeanie Buss & MGM TV Tags AXS TV to Broadcast WOW-Women of Wrestling Events

Jeanie Buss and MGM Television Tags AXS TV to Broadcast WOW-Women...

Kevin Belington Faces Martin Nguyen for the ONE FC Interim Bantamweight Title

From ONE FC – 07 June 2018 – Manila, Philippines: The...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Harlan Ellison: A tribute (of sorts)

For the longest time in my life I was afraid of...

Iron Fist Racist
Is Marvel Iron Fist Racist? Part 2- Yeah…

After the casting controversy, two shows, and a guest appearance in Marvel...

Cultural Junkdrawer – Season’s end: The Flash season 4


Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming. Related

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack
Blake Neely Behind-the-Scenes Recording of Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack

Check out this exclusive Behind-The-Scenes video with Blake Neely as he...

Rising Country Music Artist Kaylin Roberson Talks About her work with St. Jude

Kaylin Roberson is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Raleigh, North...

MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

%d bloggers like this: