BY GREG CHISHOLM
Doctor Strange is a wonderfully entertaining movie from a story perspective and more notably a visual one. Marvel has been pumping out hit after hit for the last 10 years with all their superhero movies. While the vast majority are entertaining, Doctor Strange blows you away even though Marvel has done many of these cookie-cutter formula-driven origin stories.
Doctor Strange is no exception. The formula, while familiar, seems to work and once again Marvel has found the right balance of being faithful to the source material, humour, tone, and story can appeal to a general audience.
Almost beat for beat this film is a copy of Iron Man. In our hero starts off as an arrogant rich guy who loses everything and is forced to reinvent himself.
Stephen Strange, brilliantly portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, is the world’s top neurosurgeon whose abilities far exceed that his peers. He is arrogant, cocky, brash and has a very clear superiority complex.
He had the love a good woman in Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) but because of his personality flaws he drove her away. One thing that distinguished the character of Palmer is that unlike most Marvel films where the girlfriend is just an accessory or a damsel in distress, she plays a pivotal role in helping Doctor Strange grow. She was able to stand on her own two feet and the on-screen chemistry between Cumberbatch and McAdams is palpable.
After being in a car accident caused by texting and driving at dangerous speeds, he suffers some serious nerve damage in his hands and is no longer able to perform the surgeries that made him so successful. His life is over. He has no purpose. Defeated and alone Strange begins searching the world for a way to heal the damaged nerves in his hands.
After several failed attempts at getting fellow doctors to accept his case he tries physical therapy as a last hope. At his lowest he is ready to quit when the physical therapist tells him that there is one man he had as a client who achieved the impossible. He went from a severe, life altered state as a quadriplegic to a fully functioning able bodied individual with the help of an ancient healer.
With his last dime, Stephen Strange travels overseas in search of this mysterious healer. Upon discovering the site of the alleged healer, Strange quickly learns that this was no healer. What he found was a whole new world, an introduction to the multiverse. Other dimensions where rules of time, space and science don’t apply. An infinite number of other universes and dimensions exist.
Led by the teachings of The Ancient One, powerfully portrayed by Tilda Swinton, Strange is given the opportunity to heal himself, but not in the way he was hoping. Through learning magic and how to manipulate it, Strange is given the second chance to make a difference he desires to make the world a better place.
Marvel has taken the visuals to a whole new level in, Doctor Strange, which is the most visually interesting movie they have made to date. It’s like Inception with its world bending mixed with Harry Potter if he were a member of the Avengers.
Where this movie takes a turn away from the simple cookie cutter Marvel origin story is in the ending, with how the villain is defeated. It’s not just a fight, it’s a character evolution we haven’t quite seen in an origin story yet.
With the spectacular visuals, the familiar, yet lovable story and the outstanding performances across the board, Doctor Strange is a movie that is worth your $15 at the theatre. See it in IMAX for the best experience possible.
DOCTOR STRANGE 8.7/10