The latest instalment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) sees another one of the lesser known Marvel properties, Dr Stephen Strange, being brought to life. Fan favourite Benedict Cumberbatch plays the titular character and, slightly off putting American accent aside, does well to bring a character to life that the majority of the viewing public will know little about.
Dr Strange is another perfectly solid addition to the MCU. The story traverses the now well-worn trail of the selfish genius, who becomes injured and begins a subsequent quest to rediscover and redeem themselves. Despite this familiar trope, Marvel should certainly be given credit for bringing yet another genre of film into their repertoire. Where ‘Ant-Man’ was a heist film, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ a space opera, ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’ a Cold War spy thriller, Dr Strange is an Inception-esque reality-bending comic book movie.
Possibly the best part of the movie is its phenomenal visual effects, which bring various locales crashing into each other in a handful of set pieces – something that is refreshing from the usual death and destruction seen in your standard comic book film, (see Batman v Superman & Avengers: Age of Ultron) and something director Scott Derrickson should be commended for. Indeed, the film is also reasonably well woven into the rest of the MCU, bringing us another step closer to the next ‘Avengers’ movie and the uniting of all the Infinity Stones.
On the other hand, like almost every other Marvel movie, the villain (played by Mads Mikkelsen) is largely forgettable. Of the rest of the cast, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams play well off Cumberbatch’s Strange (as another student of the Magic Arts and his love interest respectively). Despite criticisms surrounding Tilda Swinton’s casting as The Ancient One, she does a rather standard performance as Strange’s mentor, and takes part in a couple of well-choreographed fight scenes.
Overall, the film is certainly one of the better first instalments within the MCU. In my opinion, some of the trademark humour of the Marvel films does take you out of the film. Perhaps heavy wit and humour is more suited to other characters within the Universe, such as Iron/Ant-Man.