A injured surgeon becomes a master in the mystical arts in Doctor Strange. Dr. Stephen Strange is a gifted, yet arrogant, neurosurgeon who works at a hospital with fellow surgeon and girlfriend Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). After a near-fatal car accident, Strange ends up with extreme nerve damage in his hands. Desperate for a cure, Strange travels to secret Kamar-Taj compound in Nepal and studies the mystical arts, under the supervision of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and her pupal Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Doctor Strange must use his newfound powers to stop rogue Master Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), who wants to summon the powerful Dormammu of the Dark Dimension.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has now reached the point where the films can get a bit more adventurous. While on the surface, Doctor Strange might seem to be yet another superhero origin story, it can be argued that Stephen Strange is not your average superhero. Mystical magic powers are abundant in Doctor Strange, which gives off a real “Harry Potter meets Inception” vibe. In fact, I would argue that Doctor Strange is one of the rare films these days that is worth paying the premium charge for 3D, since it would allow the psychedelic visuals to be seem with full effect.
There was a lot of controversy prior to the release of Doctor Strange, over the fact that Tilda Swinton was cast as The Ancient One, who was portrayed as a Tibetan man in the comics. However, even though the film takes the time to mention she is Celtic, this controversy was a bit of a lose/lose situation, since the character can either be “whitewashed” as a white woman or remain faithful to the comics, which is representative of Asian stereotypes. Through all of this controversy, it is funny that no one seemingly paid attention to the fact that they also changed the race of Karl Mordo, even though I suppose the casting of Chiwetel Ejiofor in the role was a much more diverse choice.
I was actually pleasantly surprised at the amount of humour in Doctor Strange, since Stephen Strange’s arrogance gives him a certain snark. This helps somewhat to make Doctor Strange more than simply a special effects fest, even though the film is filled with some very impressive and weird visuals, which almost comes off like a full psychedelic acid trip.
With films such as Guardians and the Galaxy and now Doctor Strange, it is obvious that the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can no longer be distinguished as cookie cutter superhero films. Doctor Strange is an entertainingly weird acid trip of a film and I look forward to more films like this from Marvel Studios.