“From Marvel Studios comes Doctor Strange, the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident renders his hands useless. When traditional medicine fails him, he travels to remote Kamar-Taj in search of a cure, but instead discovers the mystical arts and becomes a powerful sorcerer battling dark forces bent on destroying our reality.”
Marvel continues to expand its universe as it brings sorcery and magic into its new phase of movies. It is no mistake that Marvel is one of the more successful studios in recent years, and is vastly superior to those that try and imitate it. Although the reasoning why its counterparts continue to fail time after time, reboot after reboot, may be contributed to a number of things beyond the control of the studios, it really boils down to one thing. Time. Marvel took its time to establish a vast universe that is still changing nine years after Iron Man. Plans and plotlines that span decades, over the course of dozens of films give Marvel a leg up when it comes to character and backstory. When you have source material that spans half a century of publication, trying to cram it all into a neat two hour movie proves to be impossible. Marvel gives their films time to grow, careful not to overload their films with too much that may bog down the focus of the story. Most importantly they don’t decide to throw everything away and try to cash in on the same character with the same origin story with nothing new to offer. The organization of all these stories that take place in the same universe, which also encompasses a TV universe which DC could never manage, is one of the most impressive feats in film. Unfortunately for us, studios rarely see anything besides dollar signs, so until they realize that they can’t try to set up an entire universe in one movie which took Marvel a decade to accomplish, they will continue to fall short on some great stories and characters that are so much more deserving than what we have gotten, and Marvel will continue to add great content to an already impressively established world.
Another great addition is Doctor Strange. As we move from self-made, mortal heroes, to aliens, and now to the world of magic and sorcery, an entirely new and exciting world is opened up to us.
As far as origin stories go, Doctor Strange is concise and to the point. Though the obsessive rich-kid past has been done already, there is something humanizing about the story that sets it apart from ones similar. Stephen Strange is obsessed with becoming the best, and he has an ego to match. Though he seems to have everything a man could ever want, he continues to push himself further and further. When a car accident causes his hands to become injured beyond repair in the realm of modern medical science, Doctor Strange begins to explore other alternatives that take him around the world. Of course, his reasoning is purely selfish. Although his hands work miracles that heal countless people, he views them as instruments that propel him to the top of his field, gawking at other doctors who aren’t as skilled as him. Doctor Strange has a lot to overcome when it comes to redeeming himself and his selfishness.
As with all Marvel films, there is a great balance of action and humor. This is helped tremendously by the perfect delivery of Benedict Cumberbatch, with his deadpan commentary as he learns the basics of magic and sorcery. The rest of the cast add to a well-rounded story that gives us only a tiny glimpse of what’s to come. Being the first film to introduce the character, Marvel understandably takes its time to lay the ground work for future films and encounters with Stephen Strange. One thing that I believe this causes to hinder is the antagonist of the film. Mads Mikkelsen, an amazing talent that I was so excited to see attached to the film, is kind of overshadowed by everything happening. We are learning so much about different universes and planes of existence with an all-powerful evil entity who wants to devour it all, that poor Mads seems to get the short end of the straw. Sure, there are some great fight scenes between him and Doctor Strange, but we get very little backstory on him. If his beliefs really are based on the pages in a spell-book and could have all been avoided if he simply read the next page, then that is a pretty poor villain to start us out with. Of course, there are bigger fish to fry in the upcoming films for sure, as well as a set up for another villain that starts out close to Doctor Strange.
Doctor Strange is going to appeal to both fans of the comic and newcomers alike. It’s a solid introduction to what promises to be a favorite of the Marvel Universe, and I for one cannot wait for this character to be added into the mix with the other heroes who will no doubt hold his own amongst the most powerful.
Doctor Strange is presented in High Definition Widescreen 1080p 2.39:1. The transfer is quite spectacular. Colors and balance look amazing, with some great special effects scenes.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. As expected, the track is basically flawless, with a powerful score and action-packed sound, this film will exercise your surround system. Levels are great, with clear dialogue coming through the center channel, and highly utilized surround channels in a lot of those action sequences that will make you think you are actually in the middle of it all.
Doctor Strange is packed with extras and behind the scenes features that is going to give you some great information on how the character is brought to life from the pages to the screen, as well as the upcoming plans for the Marvel Universe and several upcoming films. On this set you’re going to see:
- A Strange Transformation – Open your eye to a new dimension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and see how the filmmakers brought one of comic books’ greatest characters to life.
- Strange Company – Find out what it’s like for the cast to work on a Marvel film, and how Director Scott Derrickson engineered one of the most ambitious, imaginative films ever,
- The Fabric of Reality – Take a closer look at the movie’s extraordinary sets, meticulously crafted costumes and amazingly detailed production elements.
- Across Time and Space – Explore the countless hours of dance and fight choreography the actors endured in preparation for their physically demanding roles.
- The Score-Cerer Supreme – Join Composer Michael Giacchino and a full orchestra during live recording sessions, and experience the movie’s mind-bending music.
- Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look – Get an early peek at Marvel’s spectacular upcoming films, including Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, and Avenger’s: Infinity War.
- Team Thor: Part 2 – See more of the hilarious partnership between Thor and his roommate Darryl in this satirical short.
- Audio Commentary with Scott Derrickson
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
Doctor Strange doesn’t disappoint in introducing us to a new part of the Marvel Universe. A fantastic film that continues to follow the Marvel formula for success without sacrificing anything in the process. If this is any indication of what is coming, fans are in for a very exciting journey as we glimpse the depths of the world Marvel has created.