A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Dr. Strange Review

Dr. Strange is an intriguing movie by Marvel Studios. The film features a former arrogant neurosurgeon, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, gains enlightenment in a faraway nation under a guru, known as the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). Dr. Strange is directed by Scott Derrickson and casts Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as co-stars in this new superhero thriller. The movie features all the usual fighting scenes and explosions a trademark of a typical Marvel film, but Marvel introduces a new personality in a superhero– extremely arrogant and ignorant, but willing to learn and change his behavior.

The movie was relatively devoid of combat action (for a Marvel movie) until the plot neared the climax. Instead of an unflaggingly action packed cinematography,  Derrickson put stronger emphasis in designing a visually beautiful and appealing movie. This focus is evident in the graphics and special effects. As animator myself, it is mind-blowing to contemplate the work that must have gone into each animation and special effect, but the plot is underdeveloped, adding Dr. Strange to the long list of superhero movies that rely on stunning special effects to compensate for an insubstantial content. Dr. Strange is initially not an appealing human being in the beginning of the movie. At the end, it seems as if he magically becomes a better human.  Learning to kill villains does not cure a superhero’s arrogance. The movie should have focused more on the human aspect of how he learns from his teacher to become a better person. Another aspect that the movie totally skips is Cumberbatch’s renewed love for Rachel McAdams.

Something Marvel’s superhero movies can work on is being more realistic with their main character’s power. Dr. Strange begins to learn magic with his guru and unsurprisingly he is a natural at it. There is no tension in the scenes where Dr. Strange is learning magic. It seems as if it is incredibly easy to master the art of sorcery. Dr. Strange quickly gets good enough to kill practitioners who have been doing magic for years.

Compared to other recently released superhero movies, Dr. Strange pushes the audience into a different dimension of magic and villains. Marvel has opened new horizons for itself in continuing the story of Dr. Strange and other movies dealing with magical superheroes instead of the usual stories of technology geeks and war veterans that become heroes.