Friday, November 4, 2016

Doctor Strange - Review

      A consistent track record is so hard to maintain over years of once franchise let alone multiple that converge into one large universe, and yet Marvel has done it for fourteen films now. Even with the deck stacked against them, whether it’s a new character, a little controversy, or a completely insane concept, Marvel appears to have another hit on their hands. Another year, another franchise, and with the next few years planned ahead, Marvel shows no sign of slowing down.

   Dr. Stephen Strange's (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.

   The biggest criticism of Doctor Strange that I’ve heard prior to seeing the film had to be the simplistic story. And while that is true in a sense, the film is an origin story, meant to establish the character for who they are. The characters are well rounded and each has their own roles in the film with no one being wasted or underutilized.

   While the visuals may be the key point that everyone is raving about, and I’ll get to those later, but the true heart of the film are the characters that fill this visually stunning world. Benedict Cumberbatch is a star, there is no doubt about it, and while his accent fluctuates at times, the performance as a whole is phenomenal. He and Chiwetel Ejiofor, as fellow sorcerer Karl Mordo, have such chemistry and their dynamic works incredibly well. And amidst all the controversy, Tilda Swinton absolutely proves why she was right for the role of The Ancient One. Bringing a presence that the role clearly required, Swinton portrays wise and philosophical so well.

   Now back to those visuals. This entire review could be about how truly mesmerizing the effects are from start to finish, from each magical effect to enthralling dimensional landscapes. But it’s not just a pretty package either, each strange happening has a reason for being there, fitting in line with the vision of director Scott Derrickson. There is a sense of scope and epic that Derrickson creates through script and special effects, making Doctor Strange a true cinematic treat.

   Overall, Doctor Strange is among the best that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to offer, blending together a solo adventure with everything great about a shared universe. The performances are solid across the board with Benedict Cumberbatch nailing a role that will serve him for years to come. Visually it’s amazing and truly a wonder to behold in all it’s big screen glory. Despite everyone spewing gloom and doom for the superhero film, Marvel continues to prove everyone wrong.

   So what did you think of Doctor Strange? Have you seen it and how does it rank among 2016's superhero films? Subscribe, share, comment below and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight.

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