Doctor Strange is the latest in Marvel’s fantastic Cinematic Universe that treads very similar ground to its predecessors, but still manages to conjure up something different at the same time.
If I were to describe this movie in one sentence, I would call it Iron Man 2.0. but I don’t get paid to write one sentence reviews.
The reason I call this Iron Man 2.0 is because this is the story of a witty and arrogant jerk, who undergoes tragedy and physical trauma, and uses his experience to rebuild not only their body, but themselves into a better person. See? Very familiar. But this is where the familiarity stops, and this movie becomes something quite unlike any other superhero movie.
While Iron Man’s Tony Stark rebuilt himself and saved people with science. Doctor Strange’s hero, Doctor Stephen Strange uses the power of faith and magic. Though begrudgingly at first, as Strange, lived his life as a man of science before suffering a catastrophic injury that nearly costs him everything.
In his globe trotting quest to find a way to fix himself, he stumbles upon a being that not only convinces him that there are things in this world that cannot be explained by science alone, but that belief in something more than what you can see can be very powerful.
The introduction of faith is something both new and quite refreshing to superhero movies and I found it quite welcome here. Tackling these themes head on is starring actor Benedict Cumberbatch who gives both a spellbinding performance and my autocorrect a field day.
Cumberbatch starts off the film playing what seems less like a hero, and more of a selfish and arrogant jerk with very few redeeming qualities. Through a slow build and few quiet character moments, Strange becomes not necessarily a hero still, but a man who’s willing to try and change to become a better person.
Also throughout the film they really grasp that this change from doctor to sorcerer doesn’t happen instantly. Strange struggles with his magic, playing the underdog for most fights. That is, until the very disappointing finale of this movie.
The final battle between good and evil lasts about what seems five to 10 minutes. On top of that, the climax of the movie seemingly comes out of nowhere with little build up. Which is a shame, seeing as how this is also one of the funniest and most visually striking Marvel movies ever. Along with a very impressive soundtrack containing a mix of classic rock and what sounds like 70’s psychedelic jams.
To me, this movie felt more like testing of the waters. But it has shown that with a bit more, the saga of Strange could be something fantastic. I give it three reels out of five.