“Doctor Strange” appears to direct the Marvel Cinematic Universe on a radically new path.
“Doctor Strange” seems brand new by avoiding the conventional storylines of technologically-gifted playboys and honorable super warriors in favor of a world dominated by magic. Bursting with vigor as it moves from one narrative point to the next without any time wasted. On my first viewing of a Marvel movie, I noticed the musical score, which I have never paid attention to before. It doesn’t establish a unique theme for its hero, but it helps fill the film with the proper atmosphere. The film visuals are dazzling, and CGI is utilized nicely to create a universe unlike anything else we’ve caught in recent superhero films. Despite its spectacular world-building and hallucinogenic visual effects, “Doctor Strange” isn’t the necessary evolutionary step forward for Marvel in terms of storytelling. The primary plot is one we’ve watched countless times before beneath all of its enhancements.
It sounds pretty familiar when Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is not only a brilliant and wealthy neurosurgeon, but he also has an ego rivaling Tony Stark‘s. He glides through life with as little consideration as possible for others around him. Strange’s hands are wrecked in a severe vehicle accident after being sidetracked by medical records while driving (despite his cleverness, his ego makes him believe he’s not vulnerable). His scarred, trembling hands serve as a continuous reminder of the genius doctor he was and will never be again. Strange’s life isn’t changed as a result of this. Instead, when all surgery fails, he gets crueler and more reclusive, even mocking the last one on whom he can rely, ex-lover/colleague Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). He has been disappointed by his world of medicine and research. After getting a recommendation from Jonathon Pangborn (a charming, underutilized Benjamin Bratt)Strange, however, finds himself in Nepal under the protection of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who unlocks him up to realms he never imagined existed. The film’s most audacious sequence is the visual landscape where they first meet. We have access to worlds fully filled with vibrant purples, cerulean blues, and blood reds, as we watch Strange is surrounded by hundreds of hands, as though in a breathless nightmare. He shifts between realms that resemble the somber looks of outer space and those that are a rainbow of hues. Even Strange, despite his arrogance, can’t deny what’s been shown in front of his eyes.
Strange maybe a figure that is too similar to the kind of wealthy, narcissistic white guys that superhero films are fascinated with. However, the film had the chance to achieve something fresh by depicting the inner of a guy who is forced to reassess all he knows as well as the core of reality itself. Instead, “Doctor Strange” makes some critical mistakes, narrative-wise.
One of the most noticeable flaws in “Doctor Strange” is Strange’s rapid mastery of using magic. His storyline doesn’t have a lot of pressure. After struggling for only a short time to catch up with the other students taken under the care of The Ancient One, he’s soon able to steal precious textbooks from under the watchful eye of master Wong (Benedict Wong), who guards the books at The Ancient One’s request. Strange follows his own set of laws, developing sufficiently exceeding the abilities of everyone around him. Moreover, he even goes further as he soon can manipulate time, read prohibited manuscripts in secret, and wield the Eye of Agamotto. Many viewers couldn’t have helped but roll their eyes as me when Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) says Strange seems fated for this. He was, of course.
Strange is, in fact, proven correct. Noone cares about regulations and defying natural laws when you’re genuinely correct and rescue the world instead. Because of proving to be correct far too often, validating his ego and pretentious arrogance, Strange never develops as a character. Despite having a lot of pleasure with the character (albeit he doesn’t provide anything unexpected), Cumberbatch can’t get away from the fact that nothing in Strange’s story seems earned. It’s also undeniable that “Doctor Strange” is simply the narrative of a white guy traveling to a “strange” place whose culture and people he doesn’t respect and he even does not understand the language here. Nonetheless, he discovers he’s innate at magic and improves to the point where he can defeat practitioners who have been practicing it for years before him.
As a result, “Doctor Strange” illustrates the perilous position in which superhero movies locate themselves. Director Scott Derrickson and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige have defended the film’s contentious casts on several occasions, while they are well conscious of growing expectations in their viewers. But simply casting performers like Benedict Wong and Chiwetel Ejiofor in supporting roles isn’t sufficient; giving them something intriguing to do is necessary. As entertaining and lighthearted as “Doctor Strange” is, it’s tough to overlook the issues that come with casting Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One.
Swinton plays the sorcerer with her characteristic strangeness and witty humor. It only takes her a slight tilt of the head or a casual comment to Strange to make her look like a woman who has been alive for hundreds of years. Swinton’s existence seemed to be from a different movie thoroughly—one that would genuinely adopt the concept of strangeness beyond some dizzying visual effects.
Talking extensively about the decision to cast Swinton in the character of a Tibetan man in the comics, Derrickson and co-writer C. Robert Cargill were concerned that casting an Asian man or woman might result in the role falling into outdated clichés. Therefore, they whitewashed the character. If whitewashing the character is the only way to avoid these difficulties (while retaining the Asian background and vague mysticism), the fault isn’t with the role, but with your limited vision as a creator in terms of imagination. However, those good intentions of the “Doctor Strange” filmmakers don’t lessen the racism arguments rising around the movie. Despite its ambition to be innovative, “Doctor Strange” sadly reproduces many of its predecessors’ mistakes, including awkward racial politics.
Although there are a lot of outstanding casts in the movie, “Doctor Strange” doesn’t make the most use of them. I have to admit that I’ve never seen any superhero love interests worse written than the one portrayed by Rachel McAdams. She has pleasant, flirty energy that adds a nice touch to the film. But she is not really a person but a useful prop that goes unnoticed for lengthy periods of time until Strange demands her.
Besides, the villain is “Doctor Strange’s” worst flaw in terms of casting. Has any big franchise squandered as lots of amazing actors in weakly written villains as the MCU? Mads Mikkelsen is a fantastic actor who frequently delivers an enticing blend of darkness, sadness, and passion. His bizarre presence on screen is ideal for this type of scenario. However, Mikkelsen’s character, Kaecilius, a former trainee of The Ancient One, has such convoluted reasons and little emotional depth that he unexpectedly becomes unremarkable. Strange’s conflict with him boils down to being in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Strange isn’t interested in living a hero. The rivalry between Kaecilius and Strange is one of the most ill-conceived primary battles in a blockbuster movie in recent years. They’re not at odds because of different ideas or a deep passionate past but merely inconvenience to the other. Mordo’s fixation with ranking, on the other hand, would make him a more fascinating contrast for Kaecilius.
The film’s stunning graphics are unquestionably its strongest feature. “Doctor Strange” is a visual feast in ways that superhero movies seldom are, from costume creation to CGI to framing. In the Mirror Dimension, where the participants’ magic has no effect on humans in the actual world, the way characters cut loose showed off the breadth of their talents. Buildings disintegrate, collapse into one another, then reconstruct in ways reminding of “Inception.” Basically, each scene blasts in various colors—crimson, marigold, glowing purples, and inky blacks. “Doctor Strange” uses video game jargon in ways I’ve never noticed earlier, with its protagonists crushed by huge, falling buildings. The physics laws are irrelevant in this case. And, after a time, the Mirror Dimension becomes haunting, an issue is eventually happening to the world-building. We just get a sliver of an idea of how any of this works. Yes, it’s exhilarating to see, but it’s difficult to feel excited, afraid, or astonished after a time without comprehending the effects of the Mirror Dimension’s magic or the ripple effect of messing with physics rules. In conclusion, In the end, “Doctor Strange’s” magnificence and visual wonders are frustratingly weightless.
But even with those significant flaws, “Doctor Strange” still can be an amusing movie. It’s a brisk film full of amazing details, startling images, and delight. It helps propel the MCU into a captivating realm that’s full of magic and notable villains that live outside of our grasp of time and reality—perhaps in the near future, they’ll do something even more intriguing when discovering that external zone.