A Strange New Look on the Superhero Genre: Doctor Strange Review

By David Ben // Image Credit: Den of Geek

A Strange New Look on the Superhero Genre: Doctor Strange Review

The story of a man who decides that he wants his own slice of the “Marvel pie,” and joins the ever growing cast of quipping crusaders in the established not-so-little cinematic universe.

One day, as foretold by Marvel’s many-phase plan, he will be fighting along the ranks of the rest of the heroes in one of the grand crossovers that Marvel has planned for the next decade or so.

All jokes aside, “Doctor Strange” stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular hero, a once renowned surgeon reduced to a desperate shell of his former self after a car accident. (Is this the most expensive anti-texting and driving PSA ever made?)

Video Credit: Marvel Entertainment (YouTube)

With the last of his money, he takes a flight to Nepal where an incredibly powerful and incredibly bald Tilda Swinton teaches him the ways of supreme sorcery. And of course, he also saves the world a bit, as expected.

Though I was slightly upset that my pleas for a Squirrel Girl film have fallen on deaf ears, I felt there was some potential in adding in some more mysticism, something to counteract the tech of Iron-Man or the…” patriotism” of Captain America.

If anything, “Doctor Strange” definitely lives up to that promise; the visuals are by far the most interesting parts of the film, and definitely the most interesting ones that Marvel has put out so far. I’d very much like to see the reactions of the rest of the Avengers to Strange’s many trips to “the LCD dimension.”

Looking past these special effects, however, are visuals of the more…bland kind. Not necessarily bad or boring but just the usual brand of Marvel content that we have come to expect. The blessing and curse of this planned universe that they have created is the fact that everything is played so safe.

I remember my disappointment when Edgar Wright was removed from working on Ant-Man, a superhero movie with the comedic styles of a great director sounded amazing. And while it did end up being an enjoyable film (partly due to some of Wright’s style shining through the cracks), it still treaded the path straight through what I like to call “The Marvel Zone.”

It certainly is a place where everything is played as safe as possible; you aren’t always guaranteed a profit when you have “risky.” It’s the biggest reason why the Marvel cinematic universe has been doing as well as it has been; ever since “Iron Man,” whose origin story is shockingly similar to that of Strange’s.

From the shoehorned love interest, to the forgettable villain, to Strange himself, nobody really puts in more effort into their roles than necessary. Action sequences are what you’d expect from these kinds of films by now, though the visual direction and the well made computer generated set pieces do improve it by quite a bit. We’ve reached a point where I feel special effects artists should be put listed slightly earlier in credits sequences.

I won’t deny that “Doctor Strange,” along with all of Marvel’s films this year, have been feasts for the eyes, and overall, fairly fun spectacles, but we’ve reached a point where any chances of surprises and twists are thrown out the window, turning movie after movie into something interesting for the moment, but honestly, forgettable in the long run.

Despite this, it is undoubtedly the best Marvel movie of the year for me, maybe the best superhero movie of the year (DC isn’t putting up much competition though). A welcome change of pace from the consequence-free “Civil War” and the raunchy and grounded “Deadpool.”

If you have a thing for exceptional special effects, or if you’ve invested yourself in the Marvel cinematic universe, then you’ll definitely get some enjoyment out of “Doctor Strange.” However, you won’t be missing much if you want to skip it.

After all, Strange is sure to pop up again…probably in an after-credits scene to, once again, leave us wanting more.