Marvel fans have long claimed Marvel Studios has had a special kind of magic. Turns out it was more literal than they thought.
Doctor Strange introduces Marvel fans to the Sorcerer Supreme and the mind-blowing magic of the MCU. Is it magical or simply strange? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out.
So who stars in this movie? Benedict Cumberbatch of Star Trek Into Darkness is Stephen Strange himself, and Tilda Swinton of The Chronicles of Narnia is his mentor The Ancient One. Rachel McAdams of Mean Girls is his love interest Christine Palmer, Mads Mikkelsen of Hannibal is the villainous Kaecilius, and Chwetel Ejiofor of Serenity is Baron Karl Mordo.
The director is Scott Derrickson, a director best known for his horror films like Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. The man clearly has a grasp of the unusual, and I’m interested to see if any of his horror sensibilities affect this film, but for the most part, this film is new territory for him, so I’m curious to see him go in a new direction.
The trailer opens with Doctor Strange using his hands for surgery and music. But that life is quickly ruined by a car crash that damages his hands beyond repair, making it the most oddly specific car crash in history. “You think you know how the world works?” the Ancient One asks. “What if I told you the reality you know is one of many?” As long as there’s not a reality in which Doctor Doom is a blogger, I’m good.
Strange and Ancient walk through a shattered mirror of reality, and Strange says it doesn’t make any sense. “Not everything has to,” Ancient replies. I hope they didn’t apply that philosophy to the script. Ancient shows off her reality-warping mystic arts by turning a New York street into a fun house mirror and walking through a portal that carries her thousands of miles away while also changing her outfit and conjuring Strange out of nowhere. Which I know is just editing, but if you’re going to put those two side by side, expect us to draw the logical connection.
“How do I get from here to there?” Strange asks. Dude, did you miss the magic portal lesson she just gave you? But Ancient tells him it’s the same study/practice method he used to become a doctor, only with more yoga and ancient tomes and producing glass rainbows out of the air. “There’s a strength to him,” Baron Mordo says. But it ain’t in his hands, cause those babies got crushed.
Strange stares at his cloak, washes up to give us the obligatory superhero chest shot, and finds three doors to different climate zones. One of the Ancient One’s students warns him that “stronger men than you have lost their way.” Specifically Kaecilius over there. He walked into a Victoria’s Secret by mistake, and now his eyes are all burned. “I am death and pain,” Kaecilius says. Well, Benedict Cumberbatch is fire and death, so there. The lights in the operating room explode, and Kaecilius tells Strange he’ll die protecting the world before turning New York into some dream architecture from Inception.
“I can’t do this,” says Strange, but Mordo tells him there isn’t any other way. Unless we called in the Avengers. I hear Scarlet Witch has some aptitude for magic. Strange pulls out a light whip and struggles to put back together a burning New York. Kaecilius and his goons use Dreamscape New York as their giant bouncy castle. Strange flings on his cloak and runs out to do business as Ancient says, “I’ve spent so many years peering through time, looking for you.” You’ve been looking through time and space for Benedict Cumberbatch? Wrong British TV show, dude.
So based on the trailer, do I recommend the movie? Yes, yes I do. It’s a Marvel origin story, and those are starting to wear thin, but it’s visually stunning and it’s got great talent on and off camera. It remains to be seen whether that and the story are enough to push Doctor Strange beyond serviceable to truly great, but either way, it’s worth at least one watch.
Who knows? It might be Strange-ly appealing.
Doctor Strange is owned by Marvel Studios.