*Seeing as this movie was just released (and for some reason available sooner in Dubrovnik than in the U.S.), I write about some spoilers that may impact your experience watching the movie for the first time. If this upsets you, see “Doctor Strange” first, and then come back to my review.
I love Marvel movies. Nothing compares to the feeling of being sucked into the Marvel universe and following your favorite superheroes (or villains) fight for the safety of Earth (because, for the most part, that’s what happens). I entered “Doctor Strange” ready to embrace the Marvel universe yet again, and it did not disappoint.
For anyone unfamiliar with the premise of the movie, Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a very successful neurosurgeon. He’s confident, rich, in love with a beautiful woman (Dr. Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams), and has a bright future ahead of him. One fateful car crash later, tremors in his hands have effectively ended his career as a medical doctor. Strange becomes obsessed with healing his body to return to a life of stardom, alienating Palmer and his other friends. After hearing of a healer in Nepal who made a paralyzed man walk again, Strange flies to Kathmandu to seek help from The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). He is soon thrust into a global race filled with magic and mayhem to stop an estranged student from opening a portal to the Dark World. (That’s a very quick overview, but IMDb has a more in-depth one for anyone interested.)
In typical Marvel fashion, “Doctor Strange” was filled with the same wit and humor evident in “The Avengers” (2012), “Captain America” (2011), “Iron Man” (2008), and every other beloved movie. “Doctor Strange” also contained references to other characters in the Marvel universe (The Avengers), mentioned the mysterious infinity stones (also seen in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”), and the final clip after the credits even included Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Everything was up to the Marvel standard of excellence; it was action-packed, filled with loveable characters (especially Strange’s new cape sidekick), and left you yearning for the very-probable sequel.
The CGI effects deserve their own mention. The Masters and Strange endure many chases through twisting buildings and changing dimensional planes, similar to the “Inception” promotional posters. These scenes turning buildings inside out and flipping cities upside down added visual interest to otherwise anti-climactic chase scenes.
Now that I’ve listed everything I liked, I feel like I should write about what I didn’t like. The casting was adequate; Cumberbatch delivered a very convincing role alongside McAdams, Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Mads Mikkelsen. However, I was suspicious of Swinton’s character. Nothing against Swinton, but Marvel could have saved a lot of effort if they hired a Nepalese actress to play The Ancient One instead of styling Swinton to look like one. I’m not the first one to notice this, as Ben Child and Alyssa Sage have each dedicated articles to the whitewashing controversy.
“Doctor Strange” is definitely the movie for all Marvel fans. If you’re able to experience it on the big-screen, it’s even better.