“Doctor Strange” Bursts onto the Movie Scene



“Doctor Strange” opened Nov. 4 and has received high praise by critics and moviegoers.

By Jake Herman, Online Opinions Editor

With stunning visuals, memorable characters and a storyline that overcomes a complicated premise to deliver twists and turns, Marvel’s latest superhero movie “Doctor Strange” delivers an action-packed hero tale that’s worth the trip to see.

Directed and written by Scott Derrickson, the movie follows the story of the brilliant, yet arrogant young surgeon, Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). When an accident leaves Strange’s hands damaged beyond repair, he seeks to heal them, leaving behind love interest and fellow doctor, Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams).

Strange’s search takes him to Kathmandu, Nepal, where he finds a woman known as the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who is said to have incredible healing powers. Little does Strange know, the Ancient One and her students are sorcerers of the mystic arts; they can teleport, control time and space as well as interact with gods to protect Earth from malevolent outside threats, such as the main villain of the film, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen). A former student of the Ancient One, Kaecilius succumbed to the dark spirit of Dormammu, ruler of the dark dimension, and seeks to merge Earth with the terror of Dormammu’s kingdom.

Strange’s journey to heal his hands quickly evolves into a passion for sorcery and mystic arts as he selflessly sacrifices the medical career that previously defined his life’s success. Although he continues to overcome his big ego when trying to defeat Kaecilius and save the Earth, Strange’s character matures as he puts his life on the line.

All of the unique powers that the characters possess can certainly seem overwhelming to audiences, but in “Doctor Strange”, actions speak louder than words. A lot of the key details explaining the powers of the sorcerers are revealed through spectacular action scenes that make up for patches of subpar dialogue explanations with humor that seems cheesy and forced.

Even though this is the 14th installment of Marvel’s cinematic universe and will eventually relate back to the franchise’s other films, Strange’s story feels enthralling enough to stand alone.

This is due, in large part, to the outstanding performance by Cumberbatch, who wins audiences over with his complex and flawed character. Strange goes from an egotistical hotshot surgeon looking to repair his hands to a hero who sacrifices his own lavish life and relationship with Christine Palmer to protect the Earth. The fact that Strange’s hands are still shaky at the end of the film signifies that his character is still recovering, but shows how much wisdom and resolve he has learned throughout his odyssey.

In tune with the emotions and actions of the characters, Michael Giacchino’s original score provides just the right undertones to capture the triumph and angst of Strange and his supporting cast. Although there’s no signature song on the soundtrack that makes or breaks a scene, the whole soundtrack is better than the sum of its parts.

“Doctor Strange” faces the tall task of introducing viewers who have never read Marvel comics to a whole new universe with a seemingly different set of rules. The film provides fans both familiar and new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a refreshingly thoughtful and visually stunning action movie.