Looking back at the year which comes to an end next month, 2016 has been great to fans of comic book movies. With the latest one featuring Marvel’s most mystical character of all, Doctor Strange. And so far it appears to have enjoyed a strong opening weekend at the box office where it conjured up $85 million and surpassed expectations. After watching it myself I completely understand why.
The story was great and remained loyal to Dr. Strange’s origin in the comics, which dates back all the way to 1963 (first appearing in Strange Tales #110). That of a brilliant and ambitious neurosurgeon who is also somewhat arrogant and self-centered and whose meteoric career is tragically cut short in an automobile accident. One that leaves his hands with nerve damage and will make holding a scalpel again impossible. It’s also the triggering event that sets him off on a journey all the way to Tibet in an effort to fully fix his hands, but what he finds instead will change his life forever. This part of the film was spot on I thought.
As for the acting I thought it was great across the board. While there was some controversy surrounding the choice of certain actors (see here), Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor nailed their roles I thought! As did the rest of the cast. I could nitpick a bit that the Stephen Strange in this movie was perhaps a tad more jokey than I recall him being in the comic books, but nothing too over the top. Over all it was a solid performance by Cumberbatch as the Master of the Mystic Arts.
The visuals of the movie were fantastic to behold, especially in 3D and the way reality was shown to be manipulated by magic during the fight scenes. New York City buildings that came to life and moved in a way, that, well, you’d expect if we lived in a world filled with real magic and mystical powers. And as you watch it there will be a few different times where you will absolutely feel like you’re tripping on peyote, and I mean that in a good way.
Doctor Strange was worth watching in my book and I look forward to seeing more of the good Doctor in the MCU down the line. This genre of the super natural that Marvel has just tapped into opens up a whole new group of characters that would be awesome to see on the big screen. Like Brother Voodoo, who had his own Sanctum Sanctorum headquarters in New Orleans at one time in the comic books. As far as bad guys go Dracula is also a plausible option as one who has tangoed with Dr. Strange a few times in the books. In other words, there is a lot that can be done with this character, but one step at a time I guess. In the end this was a great start for a cool character and so I’m happy to give Doctor Strange two thumbs up!
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