Thoughts On: Doctor Strange

Will Marvel’s blistering box office success ever come to an end? If Doctor Strange is anything to go by, not anytime soon.

Narrative

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An unfortunate event leads Stephen Strange to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu

Doctor Strange is an origin story the likes of which we’ve seen many times before. But as the name implies, the film takes this formula and makes it weird – in a good way. It follows the same beats as your standard origin story, but adds its own personality and charm that ultimately results in a finished product that not only separates itself from the pack, but also succeeds in feeling like a competent, self-standing Marvel adventure.

If I’m to nitpick a little, there are a few facets of the film that don’t quite hit the mark. Whether it’s the hit-and-miss humour or the rushed middle section, Doctor Strange makes a point to remind you that it’s not a perfect superhero flick, and far from a perfect film.

Direction

Doctor Strange is one of the most visually striking films I’ve seen in years. Naturally, it does invite comparisons with Inception and The Matrix, but it never feels like it’s ripping off either. Does it ever feel overdone? Maybe a little towards the end. But apart from that, CGI has been expertly used here.

Director Scott Derrickson also does a great job at making the film feel like a Marvel flick, whilst at the same imbuing Doctor Strange with its own quirky flair.

Characters

Of course, Badminton Tennismatch is the main star here, and he really does prove he fits the leading man role. However, even though his performance is fine, it’s his American that can be a little off-putting – would it have hurt to just stick with the British?

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Tilda Swinton also gives a great performance as the ‘The Ancient One’, as does Chiwetel Ejiofor as Modor. Mads Mikkelsen as the big bad Kaecilius also gives a good performance, but he’s given too little screen time to truly flesh out his character. Given Mikkelsen’s ability, his part does feel a little wasted, and ultimately fails to ameliorate the perennial Marvel problem of producing an interesting and engaging antagonist.

In a few words…

While not one of Marvel’s best, Doctor Strange is sure to maintain the studio’s stranglehold on the superhero genre.

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