In 2014, after the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, Saturday Night Live broadcast a clever parody video which claimed that Marvel could make a movie about anything – random people on a bus, shopping carts, ghosts dressed in tuxedos, a normal unremarkable woman named Pam – and it would still make billions of dollars.
Doctor Strange feels like the first movie to really put this theory to the test, and because of strong storytelling, groundbreaking effects, and top-notch performances, Marvel likely has another blockbuster to add to the arsenal.
Doctor Strange doesn’t seem like your classic comic book film. At times, it has much more in common with films like Inception and Empire Strikes Back than any other Marvel film. The world of Doctor Strange consists of multiple universes, alternate dimensions, and beings who can magically transport between worlds while controlling time. This film could have easily gotten bogged down in the complexity of all the exposition required to explain these difficult concepts.
But it doesn’t. Benedict Cumberbatch, who already has a ton of fans due to his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on BBC, does a fantastic job of inhabiting the character of Doctor Stephen Strange and bringing his flaws and strengths to life on the screen. (Side note: fittingly, it’s more than a little strange to hear Benedict drop his British accept in favor of an American one.)
Stephen Strange’s very human, personal struggle deftly carries this potentially unwieldy film – giving it a solid foundation filled with heart, humor, and inspiration. The storytelling is strong enough to carry the weight of establishing a whole new frontier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This is one film that you don’t want to save for home viewing. Whole battles are fought within a dazzling living mashups of M.C. Esher, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso. It’s worth the price of admission to get lost in the massive scale of the IMAX screen.
If you have a chance to watch this film in 3-D, do it. While many people think that 3-D is about the objects that fly towards the audience, in truth the format really makes an impact by adding depth to the image – in this film that depth is a wonder to behold.
With very strong performances from Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, and Mads Mikkelsen rounding out the cast, and a truly creative, satisfying final showdown that plays out differently from any other Marvel film, Doctor Strange is worth seeing in the theater. You won’t regret it!
Author bio: Jason Latshaw is a writer who lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two kids, and a couple of gecko lizards.