Being the MCU, Sherlock fanboy with a whiff of Cumberbitch, Doctor Strange is one of the most anticipated movies of the year for me. Once that trailer came out, man was I hyped.
Did the film live up to the hype? Yes it did. Well, for me anyway.
Doctor Strange is conceptually probably the most different MCU film thus far. Sure, we do have many dimensions and Norse gods, but the Thor interpretation is that magic is simply science we haven’t yet understood. But here, magic is almost truly magic. And the movie gets very trippy at times.
The movie didn’t really sell itself very differently though. Tonally, it really felt like the movie that launched this behemoth: Iron Man. Arrogant genius who encounters something that changed his life to be a superhero. But the character arcs are still different. Tony Stark was inspired by his ordeal once he survived it, whereas Stephen Strange was helped back by others and only really embraced his new role near the end.
Plot-wise, it’s pretty standard fare to be honest. It’s a Marvel superhero movie from beginning to end, but that formula works. The ending felt more Guardians of the Galaxy than a typical fight to the end though, which was interesting but a little anticlimactic.
But I do love the cast and characters. Everyone was brilliant in their roles, and this has got to be the best cast of any MCU movie I’ve ever watched. Benedict Cumberbatch couldn’t be any more perfect for the role, bringing his Sherlock chops over to play the arrogant neurosurgeon. Tilda Swinton was wonderful as a mysterious and playful Ancient One, while Benedict Wong was the unfunny straight man to Cumberbatch’s cheekiness.
Chiwetel Ejiofor was the straight-laced Mordo, so convinced of the rightness of his master’s teachings. They really weaved his disagreements with Strange into the plot quite well, which was expected by those in the know because he’s one of Doctor Strange’s main villains in the comics. He could be a villain with some real depth as opposed to a good majority of the MCU villains.
Mads Mikkelsen did what he could with his villainous character, giving him presence despite having a pretty bog-standard villain backstory. And Rachel McAdams was a great love interest, playing an important role and being the best comedic character in the film. Plus, she is just as incredibly talented a doctor as Strange, and she didn’t just melt into a pile of goo at a whiff of Cumbermusk and actually sort-of-rejected him. It’s a far cry from the demeaning Jane Foster that Natalie Portman had to play in Thor and Thor 2.
Finally, an addendum. As someone studying healthcare, all that medical talk was great to hear. It wasn’t (or didn’t sound like) bogus, which is something more Hollywood movies should take note of. Some of the medical and technical babble in some movies gives me aneurysms.
MatPat recently just uploaded a video explaining how Doctor Strange still adheres to the Thor interpretation that magic is just science we don’t yet understand. Wonderful piece of film theory.