Another entry into the Marvel cinematic universe, Doctor Strange follows the now established formula used in the stand alone films but thankfully the mind bending visuals and breath taking action sequences keep it fresh and engaging.
Doctor Strange is simple in its story structure, following beat by beat the hero’s rise plotline used in Ant Man and, more blatantly, Iron Man. In fact, many parallels can be drawn between Strange and the 2008 springboard for Marvels success; Stark and Strange are eerily similar, a selfish man’s turn to heroics, with Benedict Cumberbatch bringing a charm and wit matched only by Downey Jr. The main selling point here is the introduction of magic and hence the opportunity to create stunning visuals that warp our perception of the cinematic world; each action set piece revolving around a particular form of magic and a particular visual style – the standout being an Escher inspired battle in New York.
Of course, being a Marvel movie, the usual drawbacks are still present; a weak villain, despite Mads Mikkelsens best efforts, and a weak romantic interest stop the film from rising above its popcorn entertainment status. However, it does have one of the stronger third acts of the stand-alone films. The masterful blending of suspense and humour is another Marvel staple that Strange delivers without fail; one of the more enjoyable clichés we have come to expect. In terms of the controversy surrounding the casting of Tilda Swinton as the Asian ‘Ancient One,’ I don’t find white washing detracts from the role as an already vague character.
I’m excited to see how Strange fits into the wider universe, the unique visual traits of the film would give an aesthetic edge to future releases. They certainly salvaged this movie from becoming a re-tread of past characters and plots, making it in some strange way a breath of fresh air for Marvel.