Marvel Studios has made an incredible name for themselves from 2008 (Iron Man) to now, 2016. In 8 years we’ve seen a lot of fun and entertaining films that reach levels of character development never really explored in previous films based on Comic Book characters. Fox was close in the early 2000’s with “X-Men” but I argue they didn’t dig as deep into the core of the characters as Marvel Studios. So let’s dive in and take a look at my thoughts on the 14th film, “Doctor Strange” in this box office review…
When Kevin Feige first announced they were making a movie based on the character Doctor Strange I thought, like most people, “Who?” I had no clue who this character was in the greater mythos of Marvel comics. Fortunately I had about 3 years to do research because the leading man Benedict Cumberbatch wasn’t announced as playing Doctor Strange until 2014. After buying dozens upon dozens of his comics and reading up on who he is, his stories, his villains and how he plays into the Marvel comic world, I fell in love with this character. To say I was excited for this film would be a gross understatement. I saw this film three times to ensure that what I saw was actually what I saw and not my fan boy eagerness to believe my excitement was what I saw on screen.
I love this movie! Are there some weak points? Yup. Just like any other movie there are high and low points but the high points far outweigh the low. This film captured the essence of the character of Doctor Strange who is an overly confident, condescending asshole who is involved in a situation only as long as it benefits him in some way to becoming a selfless student of magic and his role of protecting reality, not the world, but the actual fabric of reality. The story arc made sense but I would have appreciated a more definite look at how time is passing while he is training to become the Sorcerer Supreme. It’s not very clear how much time passes from his car accident which leaves him a cripple to the finale where he is facing one of realities greatest threats, Dormammu, ruler of the dark dimension, who is trying to literally transform reality on earth into an infinite abyss of dark suffering and nothingness. Additionally, to this character, I enjoyed how by the end of the film he’s only a Master Magician and not actually Sorcerer Supreme. I appreciated that the story didn’t just wrap it all up in a nice bow but left the sequel open for more development and growth.
The visuals in this film are revolutionary. I saw this twice in IMAX 3D and once in standard 2D. If you have the opportunity, IMAX 3D is the way to go. This film was made for the depth that 3D films can achieve. I normally hate 3D because I feel it’s a cheap gimmick to raise ticket prices but this is the exception to the rule. This film was colorful, dark and vibrant. The fight scene in his house (Sanctum Sanctorum) had 3 doors that allow him to travel to anywhere in the world and the detail they went into covering the different locations on earth looked stunning. The martial arts meets magic looked spectacular. The reality bending of buildings and cities was beyond impressive. Plus seeing a building twist and shift on top of villains was fabulous. This movie was both the creative and logical side of the brain coming together into one masterful and brilliant film. The different realities that we are taken into look spectacular. It’s like a brain box kaleidoscope of psychedlic crazy brilliance that will be the best visual treat you can give your eyes this year. I’m calling it.
I should warn you that this film is also exposition city. The characters talk, a lot. If you’re into what it means to explore the value of individuals in this reality and what their role is beyond this life and deeper meanings, etc, this is a film for you. This film examines what is known and how what is not yet known all play together and how we must be open to receiving the unknown in order to learn from it and evolve into more. If you don’t find yourself thinking about much when you leave the film I will be surprised because it’s like a philosophy class on life with ninja magicians who can shape shift buildings and cities while still being clever and insightful.
“Doctor Strange” is in theaters now. I’ll probably see this film another time or two because I enjoyed it that much. Ninja Magicians people. Ninja Magicians. This isn’t like Harry Potter. This isn’t like Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table. This is something entirely new and different and director Scott Derrickson knocked it out of the park. Marvel Studios continue to give a fresh approach to story telling with each new film. Go see this film in IMAX 3D! It’s worth every penny, dollar and moment spent in the theater. It’s just so good!