‘Doctor Strange’ conjures visually stunning story

By Francisco Portillo

The Sorcerer Supreme makes his big screen debut in the visually stunning origin story “Doctor Strange.”

The addition of Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) introduces the audience to the mystical elements of the fictional world.

The visual effects in the movie take the audience on a psychedelic experience that seems to mirror that of an LSD trip. 

Some of the special effects in the movie mirrors the artwork that was originally created by the character’s co-creator, Steve Ditko.

The movie follows Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is an arrogant, successful neurosurgeon who often uses his precision to show off to his fellow colleagues and love interest, Christine Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams.

Cumberbatch plays a great Stephen Strange and despite some of the forced comedy in the film, he elevates the role and the film as a whole.McAdams is delegated to very little screen time but does a great job with what she is given.

After an accident, Strange severely injures his hands and loses his ability to continue his career. With his ego at an all time low, he sets out on a path to cure his ailing hands.

During his search, he comes across sorcerers named Karl Mordo and his master The Ancient One, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tilda Swinton.

Of all the actors in the movie, Swinton delivers the strongest performance. Her gravitas as an actor lends to the believability of her character being so old and powerful. She also adds much needed emotion to a story that is full of spectacle.

With the introduction of Doctor Strange, it is exciting to see the many cool things that inhabit Strange’s world and how it will be integrated into the larger Marvel film universe.

Iconic aspects, such as his magical home and headquarters- the Sanctum Sanctorum, which houses many magical artifacts including the iconic all-seeing Eye of Agamotto, the Cloak of Levitation, and a portal to virtually anywhere in the world.

Director Scott Derrickson did a great job of making the magic believable.

Instead of enchanting spells, the sorcerers use hand gestures to use their magic.

The final act of the movie is formulaic and familiar to the other Marvel movies in that the world is at the risk of being taken over and includes the Marvel one-off villain trope.

Mads Mikkelson plays the villainous sorcerer Kaecilius, a former student of the Ancient One, who questions the ways of his former master.

Like other Marvel movies, other than “Thor,” they fail to solve the woes of the weak villains, and delegates the character as simply a pawn to a larger scheme.

The character may not have provided a lasting effect on the audience, but provides a certain amount of humanity for the character. Audience members will fully understand the motives of the villain.

The humor in the film mostly felt forced in order to match the tone of the other Marvel films. Some moments that are meant to play as jokes, just fall flat.

Despite its flaws, “Doctor Strange” still manages to provide an entertaining experience while including many aspects of the character that will make comic book fans excited.

“Doctor Strange” is rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout, and an intense crash sequence.

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