Features/A&E

Marvel Embraces Magic in Latest Movie

Marvel Studios has making comic book movies down to a science. Thanks to the success of the movies starring the various members of The Avengers, Marvel began to make movies based on some of the more obscure characters from the comics. So, after hinting that they would for several years, Marvel finally gave Dr. Strange his own movie. Whereas most superhero movies try to explain anything mystical with science, “Dr. Strange” was a comic that fully embraced magic. The movie follows suit, creating an experience different than any previous Marvel movie. But does it pay off?

The plot of “Dr. Strange” centers around Stephen Strange, a brilliant neurosurgeon played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Strange is kind of a jerk, but he’s still a really entertaining jerk who you can’t help but like. Unfortunately, Strange is badly injured in a car crash and goes on a journey to find a way to fix his hands. He discovers a secret society of sorcerers and ends up having to join in their quest to protect the world. Watching Strange come to accept his place in this mystical world is very entertaining and engaging.

Many memorable characters from the “Dr. Strange” comics show up in the film as well. Mordo, a sorcerer portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is actually given more backstory in the movie than in the comics. Fans are certain to want a sequel just to see how Mordo’s character arc plays out. Tilda Swinton and Benedict Wong, who portray The Ancient One and Wong, also get many memorable moments in the movie.

One major departure from the comics is Dr. Strange’s romantic interest. Rachel McAdam’s character, Christine Palmer, is actually based on a minor comic book character who is not connected to Dr. Strange. Adding her into Strange’s backstory in the film, however, is a great idea. The fact that she has no knowledge of magic gives her a different perspective on what happens to Strange, and she gets one of the funniest moments in the movie.

The antagonist of the film, Mads Mikkelsen’s character Kacellius, is one of the better Marvel movie villains. He’s still nowhere near as captivating of a character as Loki or Zemo, but this is likely because the pacing of the movie prevents many scenes from centering around him. The fact that Kacellius has motivations that are understandable and somewhat sympathetic still puts him a level above many other comic-book movie villains.

One of the largest factors that separates “Dr. Strange” from other Marvel movies is the visuals. The original “Dr. Strange” comic attained great acclaim for all of its creative imagery. The movie does a great job including as many visuals as possible. From the very first fight scene, the movie makes it clear that a great amount of care has gone into capturing the spirit of the imagery the comics are known for. The fight scene in the Mirror Dimension alone makes it the most visually stunning superhero movie to be released by Marvel.

If that wasn’t enough, “Dr. Strange” is packed with clever references to the comics. If you love the Dr. Strange comics, then you’ll love seeing things like The Wand of Watoomb show up. Understanding all the references is in no way essential, however, to enjoying the movie, whereas some other recent superhero movies have attempted to disguise their poor plots by throwing comic references at fans.

Overall, “Dr Strange” takes Marvel’s movie-verse in a bold new direction that pans out very well. From the great characters to the stunning visuals, everything about the movie has clearly had a great amount of care and detail put into it. “Dr. Strange” is not just a great film for comic book fans, but also a great way to introduce new fans to the Marvel Universe without having to explain too much in the way of previous movies. If you can only see one superhero movie this year, “Dr. Strange” is the one to choose.

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