Sounds familiar, no?
Seriously, does no-one find it strange that these two guys always play the same kinds of characters? Blows my mind.
After an accident leaves his hands damaged beyond all medical science, Strange discovers that the answers to reclaim his previous life may lie with the leader of an order of (I want to say for want of a better word) monks, who’s known only as the Ancient One. She (in this instance as opposed to the ‘he’ of the comics) endeavours to enlighten Strange into drawing on forces from other dimensions and utilize them into spells. But within the infinite aspects of these dimensions lies their infinite dangers.
Now this aspect alone is something I would probably be intrigued by and they even highlight this in the film by saying (and I adlib at my peril) ‘Heroes like the Avengers protect the world from physical dangers. We safeguard it against more mystical threats.’ So this prospect is something that personally interested me from the start. This is in much the same way which Thor does because that means storylines can be kept fresh and interesting because there’s no limit to what new dangers can be faced, always allowing for original content.
The reason I feel the need to wax lyrical about the aspect of other dimensions is as a segway to one of the strongest things about this movie, which hasn’t been done in any other comic book adaptation, and that is its visual prestige.
Seriously, my eyeballs are still tingling. I watched it in 3D and the frontal lobes of my brain, that I’m pretty sure can be associated with hallucinations, were left reeling. To say that Marvel literally bent the world might even be an understatement. It was like looking at several kaleidoscopes at once with several more eyes than you actually own. I’m hoping by now that you realise that I literally could not fully verbalise how strong and fantastic the visuals are throughout the movie and even weaving stunning fight scenes within them. To put it bluntly, it’s kind of like Doctor Strange has become Leo Dicaprio in Inception and it’s just a real rush to see in its full cinema glory.
Another positive point which I quite enjoyed is that we’re seeing our very first British actor with his own stand-alone Marvel movie, as Paul Bettany quietly weeps in a corner. I point this out because it’s almost like the writing was moulded purely to the natural speech of Benedict Cumberbatch (Cumberbund as my mum calls him), who is just freakin’ awesome in anything he attempts anyway. But it’s almost as if he was always going to play this role, donning the cape that literally chose him.
Geek joke, sorry.
But humour and light-heartedness is something that Marvel never fails to bring to its movies, ensuring its wider base as a whole across their respective generations. Even in this, good ol’ Benedict nails his lines in a way that left my father (everyone needs a cinema buddy) chuckling uproariously next to me throughout. But this humour seemed different, delivered in dry witticisms that Brits will always be quick to identify, but also popping up invariably in fight scenes at the most unexpected moments, which really elevated and spurred along the character and plot progressions respectively.
I’ve seen many people complain about how they’re tired of comic book movies and the like, but I think Doctor Strange has really shown that it’s finally gearing for that uphill slope that takes us beyond predictable plot lines and simple explosions to keep us glued to the screen. This felt much more like Marvel trying to treat its audience like adults, adding a layer of fantasy that previously has gone unexplored in comic book movies.
Personally, I think you know what you’re always going to be in for with a Marvel movie. It’s enjoyable, well-written with always something wonderfully satisfying in its action scenes. And while many would argue that this is Marvel trying to fill another coffer that they noticed was empty around the staff room one day, I think this has been a necessary step in furthering the quality of comic book movies to come, enriching it for both old and new viewers alike.
Oh. And yes, as always, stay for the cheeky scene after the credits.