Doctor Strange is the newest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the first one to explore the mystic side of the Marvel universe.
“Dr. Stephen Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.”
This movie is definitely an origin story, but one we have never seen on screen before (sorry Spider-Man/Batman, we all know who dies and that’s why you are who you are). The second movie in MCUs Phase 3 of movies, the universe has been well established, and doesn’t even need to be really mentioned. There were only two times that its touched on that it’s connected, one with the Avengers Tower in Manhattan, and the other with the Ancient One’s (Tilda Swinton) line “Heroes like the Avengers protect the world from physical dangers. We safeguard it against more mystical threats.”
The film has visual effects that definitely remind the audience of 2010’s Inception, but bumped up to a new level. This is more than just what dreams can come up with, but how magic can change the fabric of space and time as we know it.
Benedict Cumberbatchs performance fits perfectly in the MCU, and is a good change from other films we have seen him in. His arrogance goes beyond Sherlock into almost a Tony Stark level at the beginning of the film, and gets more humbled as the movie continues, which hopefully will be a good conversation between the two in later films. He is also very funny, funnier than any film I can remember him being in previously. While the rest of the cast is a little dry, it shows the gravity of the responsibility that they hold that Strange has never realized. When Strange is in his previous life, it has lots of humor, but most of the scenes on the mystic side is humorless, unless Strange is the one to put it there.
Lastly, this film has a perfect view of the “Hero Cycle” of starting in one place in life, going to an entirely different place, and lastly bringing the two together in order to be greater than the sum of its parts.
It’s Strange Casting, But Who Am I to Judge?
Doctor Strange > Benedict Cumberbatch > Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock) / Khan (Star Trek: Into Darkness)
Mordo > Chiwetel Ejiofor > Solomon Northup (12 Years a Slave) / The Operative (Serenity)
Christine Palmer > Rachel McAdams > Irene Adler (Sherlock Holmes) / Regina George (Mean Girls)
Wong > Benedict Wong > Bruce Ng (The Martian) / Kublai Khan (Marco Polo)
Kaecilius > Mads Mikkelsen > Hannibal Lecter (Hannibal)
The Ancient One > Tilda Swinton > The White Witch (The Chronicles of Narnia)