As you probably already know, “Dr. Strange” is the latest superhero movie to hit theaters—the latest installment of the larger “Marvel Cinematic Universe.” This time, the movie is directed by Scott Derrickson, and it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular hero. In addition, the movie also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer, Benedict Wong as Wong, Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecillus and Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One.
Now, as for the movie itself, it begins with a scene that looks like it belongs in a horror movie (or even a new “Harry Potter” film). In the scene, the dark wizard Kaecillus leads his followers—known as zealots—in an attack on a library where they steal a spell from a book that would enable them to contact the dark dimension and be granted power from the demonic entity known as Dormannu. After they kill the librarian, they are confronted by the Ancient One and a reality-bending battle ensues where all but three of the zealots are killed. Meanwhile, Dr. Stephen Strange is a highly respected, extremely arrogant neurosurgeon who gets in a spectacular car wreck. He was lucky to survive, but broke several bones in both of his hands (suffering serious nerve damage in the process). After attempting to go through physical therapy he left for Kamar-Taj, a village hidden in the Himalayas. There, he was able to convince the Ancient One to take him on as an apprentice (after some coaxing from Karl Mordo). After initially struggling to learn magic, he eventually shows himself to be a natural—becoming exceptionally skilled in only a short time. As a result, he becomes one of the primary magicians in combat with Kaecillus and the zealots.
This movie is a bit of a mindbender. The portrayal of magic is shown to warp reality in ways that would likely make even Gandalf sweat. For example, there are various times in the movie where a doorway is used to travel across the world (such as going from Kamar-Taj to New York City). Even more impressive, there is also a fight scene on the side of a building and another one between Dr. Strange and one of the zealots who have both willingly disembodied themselves at that point (i.e. neither one of them is in their physical bodies at the time). Speaking of fight scenes they have a very strong basis in kung fu films, only the special effects are far more impressive than that of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” or “Iron Monkey.”
Also, there’s something else that deserves praise. When I first heard about this movie, I remember saying I felt Benedict Cumberbatch would be the perfect choice for this role. And I was right. The scene where he’s wallowing in his own pity displays some of the best acting I’ve seen in a superhero movie. In the end, he possessed both the intellectual depth and the emotional range to play the character. Not to mention, he actually looks like his comic book counterpart.
With that being said, I would recommend this movie to any fan of superhero movies or martial arts ones. It’s honestly one of the best fantasy movies I’ve seen in the last decade.