Not just another obligatory episode in the MCU, Doctor Strange impresses with its sincere efforts to look and feel different.
Doctor Strange Synopsis
Stephen Strange, an accomplished but snobbish neurosurgeon, badly damages his hands in a car accident. To heal himself, he approaches a paraplegic who succeeded in regaining mobility of his legs and is directed to a mysterious sorcerer named the Ancient One. Under The Ancient One, Strange acquires mystical abilities and learns about the constant threats Earth endures in the form of attacks by beings of other dimensions. He soon also comes into conflict with Kaecilius, a former disciple of the Ancient One. The latter is determined to destroy Earth’s defences against the Dark Dimension. An act that would result in the whole planet being engulfed.
Though they are still incredibly profitable, I think a certain cosmic threat looms over superhero movies.
So popular and well-known are they, even non-comic readers are familiar with their many associated tropes. For the lazy producer, this translates into a seductive and convenient checklist of to-dos and not-to-dos.
Tick and tick, exclude and exclude. There. The latest is ready to go. Oh, remember to include a mid-credits scene. Never forget to promote the next movie …
Doctor Strange isn’t ground breaking, be it the story or the effects, but one does still feel an earnest effort to stand apart from other Marvel entries, on top of featuring a splendid cast selection. Benedict Cumberbatch wonderfully brings the mythical Sorcerer Supreme to life, injecting style and flair into an unpleasant snob character. One who also happens to be a classic reluctant hero and quite capable of out-talking anyone in a discussion on why he doesn’t need to fight.
As for effects, the kaleidoscopic backdrops are absolutely intoxicating and quite the antithesis of the wanton destruction scenes moviegoers have been inundated with for years. To put it another way, I am quite willing to pay to watch Doctor Strange again, likely in an IMAX theatre. I so want to gawk once more at those fascinating, dizzying Escher-ish scenes.
In addition, Director Scott Derrickson deserves commendation for his efforts to avoid certain stereotypes of the Silver Age of Comics. Now, I’m Asian, and honestly, these stereotypes have never bothered me that much. (To me, they are manifestations of a duller age.)
Still, it’s heart-warming to see a movie producer actively shun such stereotypes. I’m inclined to pass the romantic statement that it’s proof that the world is now a shade more sensible.
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