Arts & Reviews

Dr. Strange Review: Marvel Dives Into Sorcery

By: Mike Massotto

Since the late 2000s, Marvel has been well known for delivering amazing films featuring various heroes from their comic book franchises. With worldwide bestselling movies like The Avengers and Guardians of The Galaxy, it’s easy to see why the superhero genre has had a resurgence in the past fifteen years. But early this November we received the story of a Marvel hero that is more… strange. Not a man in shining high-tech armor, not a scientist who has been altered by gamma rays, or even a very patriotic superhuman wielding a shield. No, this November we were given the story of Stephen Strange, a world renowned neurosurgeon who in a bizarre series events finds himself delving into a world of magic and spells, which he previously thought was nothing but silly fiction.

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inverse.com

The main character in Dr. Strange is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and once you’ve seen his performance as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s TV show Sherlock, it is easy to see how well Cumberbatch fits the role. Both Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Strange are smart and arrogant characters who strive to better themselves by any means possible, taking their intellect very seriously. I found myself liking Dr. Strange for his wit and questioning attitude rather than the humor many Marvel characters use as a cantrip. But this is a Marvel movie after all, and some humor was going to be had, and unfortunately it wasn’t delivered as well as it could have been.

The world in which Dr. Strange lives still feels like any good Marvel movie, but also has a feel reminiscent to The Matrix and Harry Potter, with surreal, landscape bending combat scenes and tomes and artifacts that felt straight out of a J.K. Rowling novel. The special effects are amazing, and this is one of the few movies that are better when watching in 3D. It just makes the surreality of the world that much more amazing.

Dr. Strange’s plot began a little clunky, probably taking slightly too much time explaining how Stephen Strange became a sorcerer. When watching the movie this isn’t noticeable, but afterwards I wished that Dr. Strange focused more on the progress of Stephen Strange’s training as opposed to him desperately searching for cures before travelling to Nepal. This would have also left room to explore the motives of Kaecilius, the villain in Dr. Strange, who is obsessed with the Dark Dimension. Not to say that is wasn’t explained, but it could have been explained further or in a more interesting manner. But after the movie began picking up in speed, it went from good to amazing. The battle scenes had purpose and were well paced while simultaneously pushing the plot forward. The supporting roles became more important and interesting, and the ending was brilliant. I won’t spoil exactly what happens, but how Dr. Strange defeats the final villain is not in an epic fight to the death, but by pure wit. This encounter between the protagonist and antagonist was beautifully done, and took a step away from simply beating the main villain to a pulp and instead delivered a cunning loophole that felt like something out of a Greco-Roman myth.

Marvel fans should not miss the chance to see this movie, and even if you aren’t a superhero movie addict, Dr. Strange should be high on anyone’s “To Watch” list. Personally, I consider Dr. Strange to be the best solo superhero movie with the exception of the critically acclaimed Deadpool. With a good cast choice, stunning special effects, solid plot, and my favorite ending of a superhero movie to date, I give Marvel’s Dr. Strange a deserving 9 out of 10. That’s all folks!