Benedict Cumberbatch dons the levitating cape, a blue mystic outfit, and a Vincent Price hairdo, as Marvel’s own Mystic superhero, Doctor Strange. In the newest Marvel Studios outing (which is reported to tie into ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, and ‘Thor: Ragnarok’) Strange starts off as a real doctor named Steven Strange; (the name isn’t made to sound cool either.) he has a PhD, but what makes him different from the other doctors is his knack for 70’s music, (which turns into a game of Name-That-Tune with him and his colleagues while getting the job done), sarcastic wit, and arrogance which somewhat makes him the jerk of the hospital. It also makes him clash with two of his colleagues; Christine Palmer (Rachael McAdams), the former love of his life; and Nicodemus West (Michael Stuhlbarg), who he gives a ton of guff to.
One day, as he is driving to get the job done (while also giving me the feeling of watching a 2016 car commercial), he gets into an accident that causes him to get treated by his hospital. This also causes him to lose his job until further recovery. Days pass and he recovers, but his only struggle is controlling his hands. He eventually learns of a place that he believes does only physical therapy from a former patient he rejected who got healed from the same form. Strange goes to Nepal to find the place, but gets more than he bargained for when he learns from a bald-headed mystic known as The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) that the place does a lot more than physical healing; it teaches him about spirituality, mysticism, and travelling to different dimensions. (Which I’m pretty sure is why ‘Ant-Man’ had a trippy shrinking sequence during its climax)
I love Marvel Studios, and especially Benedict Cumberbatch. To be honest, I was however skeptical with the way it presented itself in trailer-form. It looked to be similar in comparison to a martial-arts fantasy film in the same vein as a Wachowski film. Once I saw the movie, I was impressed with almost every moment it gave me. The visual effects are spectacular and Oscar-worthy; they do not feel fake at all. The humor is genuine and feels like the most lighthearted Marvel Studios movie set on Earth (‘Ant-Man’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’s humor doesn’t compare to this. I especially laughed more than I thought I would when watching a fantasy film by the Disney-bought studio.) Benedict Cumberbatch also proves himself to be a likable presence on-screen once again.
Not trying to change the subject, but I forgot to mention that the reason I like Cumberbatch is because his deadpan delivery can make for great performances (Alan Turing in ‘The Imitation Game’), and he can change his vocal range and accent based on role given (Smaug in the last two films in the ‘Hobbit’ trilogy, and Billy Bulger in ‘Black Mass’.) I especially need to get caught up with the many films he has been in order to view the British actor in his acting glory. (Maybe I need to start watching the BBC program ‘Sherlock’.) In this film, he is once again great, maybe even perfect, for a role he’s been given.
‘Doctor Strange’ may be the best film I’ve seen from what I’ve seen in Marvel Studios’ filmography. In a few scenes, it tends to get a little over-the-top, but the way ‘Doctor Strange’ presents itself as a movie makes it remarkable and amazing. If you’re very analytical, it has a bit of religious subtlety that may irk some people of religion. This does not stop me from calling ‘Doctor Strange’ an amazing movie, a worthy experience, and one of the best films of the year. This is one of those films that AFI needs to mention when this year is close to over.