Benedict does some Cosmic Ordering
It’s a given that Marvel would have to bring out heavy hitters like Captain America, Thor and Ironman, (especially when you don’t have Spiderman or any of the X-men at your disposal), but phase one was a long time ago and we are now deep into phase three of Marvel, ever building towards the biggest fight in cinema history, The Infinity War (Just a caveat about that, if they make it as weakly as they did Age Of Ultron or Civil War, I’m going to riot). So we find ourselves with some of the lesser known Marvel fodder finally getting a fair crack at the whip. With the big budget and star power, Doctor Strange was an obvious choice. I mean more obvious than Antman at least…
It’s hard to discard that idea from our thinking, that this is all part of a much bigger plan by Marvel. I frequently feel like some of their films are either trailers for the next instalment or an apology for the last, but when given an opportunity to shine away from the restrictions and baggage of The Avengers, movies can really surprise us. Case in point, last year’s surprisingly funny Antman, and Guardians Of The Galaxy, which by everyone’s estimations is perfect. But what about Doctor Strange? Well I can tell you that this follows the path carved out before it with the move independent titles, in short… It’s great.
I think Marvel’s biggest problem is that it so frequently has to compromise to accommodate for whatever comes next, this was Ironman’s 3 problem. Actually, Ironman 3’s problem was The Mandarin, anything attached to that character and that it was directed by a man who is obsessed with Christmas. Doctor Strange has no such restraints, for a fan of the character it delivers everything you want from him, the beard, the eye, the cape, the magic it’s all thee and most importantly it works.
There is a lightness of touch to Doctor Strange that really brings the entire movie together, this comes from the hand of Scott Derrickson who most will know from being the writer and director of Sinister (a movie I still feel is dramatically underrated). Doctor Strange is a labyrinth of space, time and reality, it would become easy to get lost in it’s own inner rules and logic, but somehow the film maintains a fast and engaging pace without leaving the audience behind.
If I’m honest, I can overlook some of Doctor Strange’s minor misdemeanours (like that it uses Mads Mikkelsen too sparingly, or that Benedict Cumberbatch’s accent occasionally goes off course) because I really, really like the ending, the final confrontation to me rings of the same creativity and magic of Guardian’s Of The Galaxy and in a period when all the big blockbusters simply come down to can hit the other person the hardest, this is both refreshing and unique.
The entire movie has a more odd feel to it, dipping deeper into the more mystical elements of the Marvel universe, and embracing the idea of toying with time and beginning to entertain the idea of multiple dimensions, all of this is made to wet the appetite for what will eventually come.
Doctor Strange is a bold move in an alternative direction for the Marvel universe and for that I loved it, surreal, fun and unique.