Disclaimer: No one at theworkhorseback.com has read any comic book featuring any of the characters that will be discussed in this article. Also, SPOILER ALERT!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Just as you know the cycle of the seasons in Canada, you know that Marvel Studios has something cooking in their production vault to keep fan interest piqued every couple months. Earlier in 2016 seen the huge success of Captain America: Civil War, essentially another instalment of The Avengers franchise sans the Blonde with a hammer (Thor) and the Big Green Angry guy (Hulk). This fall Marvel keeping up with the timeline that was leaked years ago debuted Doctor Strange.
This is actually the second attempt at Dr. Strange in film as there was another film of the same name done in 1978. Perhaps that may explain the use of psychedelic trips to other dimensions in the latest adaption. While most of the other Marvel’s super heroes that have their own movies were pretty famous since their inception, Dr. Strange is only familiar to us based on his guest appearance with other heroes, such as Spiderman. However, we had similar thoughts when Guardians of the Galaxy came to the big screen and were dead wrong in our initial assessment.
So does Dr. Strange maintain our interest in the Marvel universe?
There is little questioning in the most of the actors chosen to portray characters in this movie. Benedict Cumberbatch is on a Drake level hot streak when it comes to role selection and performance. Rachel McAdams does a good job in a role that doesn’t receive too much screen time, but makes the best use of which when allowed to. I’m sure there were a couple people perplexed as to why the role of Mordo was played by Chiwetel Ejifor (in the cartoons Mordo was believed to be white) but this was not a stumbling block given a good performance by the actor.
We may be alone in this boat, but Dr. Strange was not that funny in comparison to other Marvel films. The comedic moments felt too scripted more than they felt organic, and while there were a couple references to the Avengers it was still murky as to what was going on in the Marvel universe during the time of the film. It a nagging issue with the film that we come to expect, with a origin, gaining their power and overcoming their first evil obstacle in film debut of a new character. With a Marvel film you come in knowing what you’re going to get almost from start to finish, you just need the actors to provide the dialogue to make it happen.
The film taps into the primetime drama format in the early stages of being in the Operating Room in styling of Grey’s Anatomy or ER. Strange is the rock star of his field, with a bit more humour, less nihilism but equal intellectual quip as fellow English actor playing an American doctor, Hugh Lawrie’s portrayal of Dr. House. The background does set up an intriguing sense of identity for Strange who essentially is a superhero because of what he can do with his hands, along with the knowledge he posses. Reviewing past Marvel films you’ll notice that before granted superhuman powers most heroes were gifted in a mean that enhanced their natural human gifts.
That said the graphics for this movie were something else. From the opening scene of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) pursuing her former pupil, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelson), through a European street only to bend the buildings into these beautiful abstract forms as a platform for battle. It felt as if Marvel produced their own version of Inception. The scenes fit with the ideology of the movie in that illusion or “magic” is tangible part of this make-believe universe.
While the graphics are incredible the biggest draw that has us funding the movie theatre industry each time a new Marvel film opens is the continuity. The thread, regardless of if the movie is about a band of heroes, an incredibly shrinking man, or a man that puts on a cool metal suit that can defy physics, it’s still there weaving its way through. While there weren’t too many gems being dropped in this film, there was another stone revealed, as well as a post-credit tease towards the next superhero team up film soon to come on the timeline.
Another Infinity Stone was revealed by Mordo to be in the Amulet that Dr. Strange wields in the later portion of the film. The assumption is that Thanos (Josh Brolin) from the first Guardians of the Galaxy, who is in possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, will begin collecting the stones from characters in the Marvel Universe to surpass Conner McGregor as the baddest man (or living being) in the universe. Hence why a Guardians sequel trailer before Dr. Strange makes more sense in the chronology of the Marvel matrix. While the Infinity stone plotline has been on the slowest of burns, the payoff of the Infinity Wars should be epic to comic consumers, kids and kids at heart, and casual fans that want to see the big payoff from the storyline.
While Dr. Strange will likely not get the franchise love that his will known predecessors Captain America, Ironman and Thor received, it was a nice change of pace from the Dream Team to a player that knows his role, will come off the bench and do what you need in the minutes you give him. Definitely not our MVP, but little doubt in his sixth man abilities.