Movie review: Doctor Strange is a psychadelic trip

The Marvel cinematic universe (MCU) released its newest film Doctor Strange on Nov. 4, 2016.

The film is the fourteenth release in the MCU after Iron Man released in May 2008. Doctor Strange is something different for the senses and awesomely gives a whole new psychedelic experience to the audience. Marvel has tried to do something fresh from the usual stories of technologically gifted and/or noble super heroes. Doctor Stephen Strange, the center character of the film, is not any newly invented or random character that is being introduced for the first time. In fact, there have been several incarnations of Doctor Strange since July 1963 when the character first appeared in the comic book ‘Strange Tales’, and in August 2007 Marvel released the animated movie Doctor Strange.

Marvel has expimented significantly with the narration and presentation of the newest take on the superhero. You will know this if you are familiar with comics or have seen previous versions of Doctor Strange. The movie is nicely plotted to keep the audience glued to their seats to see what comes next. The CGI and visuals used in the movie are astonishing and create a world that is far different from anything we have seen or witnessed in any fictional adaptation.

Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), is depicted in the movie as a rich, genius and arrogant neurosurgeon who greatly resembles Tony Stark from Iron Man. His career as a neurosurgeon was his whole life besides the glamour and riches, but everything he has is shattered after a tragic car accident which he miraculously survives, but with major damage, especially to his hands. He could no longer use his hands to do even the mundane tasks such as using a razor to shave his facial hair. Performing surgeries now was out of the question.

The accident turns his world upside down. He’s devastated, desperate, furious, confused, anything you can imagine for a person who goes through such tragedy. He tries any possible solution to fix his hands without any concern about the cost it may take only to face disappointments.

But then, the story take s a new turn when Strange learns about some place known as Kamar-Taj in Kathmandu, Nepal from Jonathan Pangborn (Benjamin Bratt) who had miraculously recovered from severe paralysis. Strange travels all the way to Kathmandu to find the cure for his hands.

He meets Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) for the first time when Mordo saves him from the local goons and takes him to the Ancient one (Tilda Swinton), the most powerful and influential character in the mystic world. Strange learns about the existence of multiverses, the dark dimension, and things that would be beyond anyone’s initial comprehension. He continues to learn the sorcery with the hope of finding the cure for his hands. It was bit strange to see that, at one point, Strange was struggling to even create a teleportation portal which was easiest magic or sorcery done by any disciple at Kamar-Taj. Once when he creates the first portal, after being put in a dangerous situation by the Ancient One, he had surpassed every other Ancient one’s disciple in no time. He could even use the Eye of Agamotto to bend the time and this was the one thing that only the Ancient one could do among every sorcerer before him.

A major portion of the film depicted Strange as consumed by his ego and selfish purposes which is obvious when looking at his purpose for being at Kamar-Taj and learning the mystic powers just to fix his hands and gain his old life back but things don’t go as he planned. He’s enlightened about the different worlds and mystical threats to the world, especially about the dark dimension’s Dormammu, an entitywho starves to feed on worlds. Eventually, Strange abandons his weaknesses and takes the responsibility of saving the world from Dormammu and other mystical threats to earth.

One downside of the film is not making the best use of the great actors in the movie. The role of Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) is very poorly written for the movie. Although the warm and caring characterization of her role is a welcome addition to the film, you can see that her role is not stretched enough until Strange needs her. Her role in the movie could have been better than just a prop for Strange. And then we have Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a former pupil of The Ancient One. Mikkensen is an amazing actor who has the potential to create a screen presence that would be perfect for this kind of story, but unfortunately his potential is not effectively used in the movie. His presence could have been more intense.

The best aspect of the film is its visualization. The visuals and CGI used in the film are a feast to the viewers. If you were amazed to see the visuals used in Inception, where structures including streets, buildings or anything in the surrounding area are modified, folded into each other, and reformed by the characters, multiply that experience to 10x. The fight scenes between the folding and constantly reforming structures in Doctor Strange are something rare to see in superhero movies. Other visual effects in the film are equally amazing. For instance, the presentation of astral dimension, the Mirror Dimension, where sorcerers can use their magic without affecting anyone in the real world. Overall, Doctor Strange coupled with rich visuals, intelligent plots and great actors has something fresh and new for the viewers than the usual superhero movie and it’s worth a watch.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.