Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mini-Review: Doctor Strange (2016)

It has been awhile since I've actually posted a review on this blog. I bet some of you here didn't think I did them in the first place as it has been that long. I'm hoping to get more reviews out by doing this mini-review format. If I want to go into actual depth on this movie I'll do so via multi-vlog reviews or other posts.

In this review of Doctor Strange there will be spoilers. So if you haven't seen the movie stop reading now and go see it before continuing.
The Visuals

One thing about the visuals is that they were amazing. I am extremely happy to have seen the movie in theaters because of them. Some movies it doesn't really matter whether or not you see it on the small screen: Doctor Strange is not one of them.

If you are able to see Doctor Strange in theaters you should. No question about it.
Another way to describe the visuals in Doctor Strange is that they're drug-like. More than once in the film I wanted to drink some absinthe to see how blown away I got. Upon reading up a little, aka going over the trivia on imdb about Doctor Strange, drug influences have been a common theory about the creation of the series. Something that Marvel has denied.

This might be why Stan Lee is holding The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley in his cameo and laughing at it. The book is about Huxley experimenting with certain drugs.
I'm not the first to say it and I won't be the last: some of the visuals reminded me of Inception.

The Christopher Nolan film played up the dream aspect with some stunning visuals. However, that movie kept the dreams as close to reality as possible. There were some scenes where what was happening could never happen in reality, but it was mostly balanced. Doctor Strange, though, saw what Inception had done and turned it up a few notches.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Stephen Strange as another variation of Sherlock Holmes. Doctor Strange has a little arch over the film. Actually a few different minor ones. First is that he goes from not believing in 'magic' to fully embracing it. He also goes from being selfish, the Ancient One even comments he became a surgeon for less than honorable reasons, to dying over and over to protect Earth.

He wouldn't have become a sorcerer if he had only driven safely, though. I mean...yeah...
Tilda Swinton, famous for her role of Brienne of Tarth in HBO's Game of Thrones, plays the Ancient One with charisma. You can easily see why people decide to follow her and obey her. She is mysterious and powerful.
I like that the Ancient One is given a little bit of complexity in Doctor Strange. Her using the dark dimension, something that is forbidden among sorcerers, is what leads Mordo to abandoning the sorcerers. She doesn't like using the dark dimension but feels that sometimes certain rules need to be broken for the betterment of all.
Kaecilius, played by Mads Mikkelsen who played Hannibal Lecter in NBC's Hannibal, is a former pupil of the Ancient One. He is the reason Swinton's character originally rejects Doctor Strange. The former pupil wants to go beyond death and believes serving Dormammu will make that a reality.

Mikkelsen, as always, is a welcome presence on screen and makes a very fine villain.
Baron Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is Doctor Strange's sorcerer friend. He's the one that both convinces the Ancient One to take Strange as a pupil and then helps to train him. In this film he is a good guy but by the end Mordo's faith has been shattered. The Ancient One tells Doctor Strange that Mordo isn't willing to compromise. This means when he realizes the one he looks up to is breaking an important rule, he breaks.

In the Post Credits scene he reveals himself to be a villain in the future. He has decided that there are 'too many sorcerers'. So happy times all around.
Magic and Science

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) explains the more magical elements as having a basis in science. In the first Thor movie, the title character basically says that science and magic are the same thing. So that could be said to explain away the odd things that happen in Doctor Strange.

However, there didn't seem to be a direct quote in the movie about how things are actually happening. When the Ancient One first talks to Doctor Strange her replies seems to be more about appeasing him than telling him the truth.
Even though I can't personally tell you how the science in Doctor Strange works, I can tell you that Marvel hired the astrophysicist Adam Frank. He helped with both the science and philosophy of the movie.
Rating: 4.5/5

Additional Notes:
*should be seen in theater
*3D isn't needed

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