By Elijah Varner
Two weeks ago, a rather strange movie came out. Really strange. Awesomely strange. Of course, I’m referring to Doctor Strange. That movie came out, and I went into it not knowing what to expect. We’ve seen a lot from Marvel so far. We’ve seen street fighting, politics fighting, cosmic spaceship fighting, even microscopic fighting. But most of them conclude in punching the bad guy really hard. That was pretty much how I expected this one to go. Boy, was I in for a surprise! To start off, I want to point out the amazing casting choices made by Marvel on this movie, especially that of the protagonist himself. Benedict Cumberbatch took on the character perfectly. He’s always been good at playing cocky, arrogant guys (Sherlock, Khan, Smaug, etc.), and Stephen Strange is no exception. He made for a Tony Stark-esque character, but with a new flair to it. You see, with Tony Stark, we have a character whose arrogance is slightly covered up by his sarcasm and sense of humor, while Doctor Strange was just plain arrogant. Cumberbatch played that role extremely well. The other cast members did a fine job, too, mind you. Just not as good as Cumberbatch.
One thing director Scott Derrickson promised would be a major part of the film was some mind-bending special effects. “Oh,” I thought, “this will just be like Inception.” Yeah, it was kind of like Inception. If Leonardo DiCaprio had gone mental and started creating new dimensions while jumping in and out of them while fighting bad guys with magic, then, yes it was like Inception. The main part that stood out to me as far as special effects, was the part where Strange is first shown all the multiple dimensions and realities that exist (dubbed the multiverse). This part goes on for about 4-5 minutes, and the visuals were insane. No joke. These visuals were better than anything I had ever seen before, and I’ve seen a lot. If I were to even try to compare the visuals to another movie, it would be James Cameron’s Avatar (the one with the blue people). The screenplay crew for this movie had way too much fun on this movie. And, lucky me, I saw it in 3D, which I would highly recommend.
The character development of Strange was better than any other Marvel movie I’ve seen. We start out with a real jerk. If you see the movie, you know what I’m talking about. You really despise Strange at the beginning. He’s a jerk. Then he gets pretty much everything important to him (which is not a lot, mind you) ripped away, and that makes him even more of a jerk. But then you see him go on this journey where he realizes that there are things bigger than him and his wants and needs, and that makes for a good story. The character arc was nice and clean, where you really see a changed man, not like Iron Man, who frequently slips in and out of alcoholism and fighting with Pepper. I applaud the scripters on this movie. It was well thought-out.
I liked how they took on magic in this movie. They weren’t trying to do the whole science-that’s-so-advanced-it’s-like-magic trick like Thor. It’s just, plain and simple, magic. The different spells they used are very entertaining, and a pleasure to the eyes. I can’t reveal anymore without spoiling, so I’ll shut up.
This may seem rather random for me to pay attention to, but the music of this movie was very impressive. It was composed by legendary Michael Giachinno, the mind behind some of the most memorable film scores, such as Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Star Trek, Zootopia and Jurassic World. Giachinno likes to use a lot of obscure instruments, and this movie was no exception. There’s electric guitars, harpsichords, Indian drum kits, all kinds of instruments that blend into a sound that is, pardon the expression, magic. He will also be composing Rogue One, the Star Wars spin-off coming later this year, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, coming July 2017, both of which I am extremely excited for.
The only thing that kinda sorta bugged me was *minor spoiler* one of the villains. Yes, there are two. Kaecilius, the guy that we see in the trailer with the funky looking purple eyes. He made a good antagonist for Strange, don’t get me wrong. But his reasons for fighting for his cause were rather blurred. I mean, they mention his backstory in short quips, but it’s not enough to see why it compels him to his cause. It’s a minor detail, but I need to be a stickler.
As, for the conclusion, it was my favorite part. As stated above, I expected it to be just an even tougher guy for Strange to punch in the face. But I was wrong. The antagonist was a guy who is impossible to punch in the face. He’s stronger than anything we’ve seen in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). So, for a impossibly strong villain, you need an impossibly smart way to beat him. And it was. The smartest I’ve seen in a Marvel movie. It was well thought out, and perfectly fitting to be thought up by a super intelligent doctor like Strange.
Now, I give this movie a lot of credit. But, I’m not saying that this was the ‘best Marvel movie by far’ by any means. I rate it highly for the things it did well. I do the same with other movies. I rated Captain America: Civil War highly for it’s well-coordinated fight scenes and the way it balanced out all the characters equally and gave them each a time to shine. I rated Guardians of the Galaxy highly for it’s humor and ability to bring characters who are like oil and water, and blend them into a family under circumstance. And I do the same for all Marvel movies. They all have an aspect they do exceptionally well at. I rate Doctor Strange highly for being the smartest Marvel movie and it’s impressive character development. It is definitely in my top 3. Overall, I give it a 95%. Oh, and there are two end credit scenes so stay until the very end. Enjoy the movie.