‘Doctor Strange’ is marvelous


In Marvel’s newest film, “Doctor Strange,” director Scott Dericckson casts the accomplished British actor Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock” and “The Imitation Game”) as Dr. Strange.

Dr. Strange, a self-absorbed neurosurgeon, goes through an internal struggle after he loses the ability to use his hands proficiently. This leads him on a journey to Kathmandu, where he learns to forget everything he already knows, such as the laws of physics.

There, he delves into sorcery, magic and a multi-dimensional universe which he learns about from the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton).

The film, written by Jon Spaihts, Scott Dericckson and C. Robert Cargill, keeps the typical engaging Marvel story, but what makes it different this time is the fact that the struggle that Strange has to overcome is within himself.

This Marvel character is definitely a new one, as the others — such as Thor or even Tony Stark — have had to overcome physical struggles that are already present or that they have themselves created.

Strange boasts his expertise as a surgeon and only seems to treat patients who can challenge him, which ruins him once his hands are crippled, and he can not maintain that reputation.

But with his determination, he leaves his co-worker Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), and with the help of a healed paraplegic, Jonathan Pangborn (Benjamin Bratt), they search for Kamar-Taj, a place with people who have knowledge of other dimensions.

Here, he meets Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a master of the mystic arts, and the Ancient One, who becomes Strange’s mentor.

Strange learns about the larger forces of evil, personified in the situation by Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), and how to face it with help from a Cloak of Levitation, the Eye of Agamotto and the Infinity Stone.

Dericckson creatively adds to this film through the brilliant casting. Cumberbatch flawlessly plays the role of a job-obsessed neurosurgeon who eventually accepts the state of his hands, but does not let that self-destruct him. He instead gains confidence after overcoming his sense of insecurity.

Through the entire film, however, it was Swinton who stole the show as the Ancient One. The character is one that does not show too much emotion and speaks only words of enlightenment. Rachel McAdams as Dr. Palmer is a refreshing addition, who contributes to many of the comedic sequences.

The highlight of the casting, though, is Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays a very complex character with negative undertones, known as Karl Mardo. This character is differently portrayed in this film than in the comic book series, a contribution that Dericckson made, which is why the audience needs to look out for him in the succeeding films.

An aspect that can not go unnoticed in this film is the visuals that are created to maintain a realistic portrayal of the several dimensions that simply abandon the laws of physics.

Dericckson gave much thought to these detailed dimensions, with the help of astrophysicist, Dr. Adam Frank. Keeping an angle in the field of philosophy, concerning the “mind body problem” and maintaining a “correct relationship between the mind and the experience,” Frank states that visually there are “these beautiful representations of reality bending and [unzipping] reality with the casting of spells.”

These representations can be seen right at the beginning of the film, along with the scenes that portray the mirror dimension along with the endless set of stairs. Watching the film in 3-D emphasizes the graphics.

Filmmaker Dericckson refreshingly adds to the Marvel universe by finally bringing in heartthrob, Benedict Cumberbatch, while managing to expand the universe with incredible visualizations and another character, Mardo, who you will have to look out for in upcoming installments.

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