Doctor Strange Follows Classic MARVEL Movie Formula

By: Peter Borden – Sophomore, Undecided Business

Magic, the mystic arts, other dimensions, and redemption. If moviegoers are looking for something interesting to watch, I recommend going to see Doctor Strange, which made its debut on Nov. 4 with a new story by Marvel Studios.

The film is visually stunning and fast paced. Even if you are not a big superhero movie fan, this film will entertain you.

Dr. Stephen Strange is a brilliant, but arrogant and egotistical, neurosurgeon who performs life-saving work. He seems to have it all: money, sports cars, an expensive apartment, and lavish lifestyle. But that all changes when he experiences an awful car accident that causes nerve damage in his hands.  

Unable to work, and with western medicine failing him, he desperately turns to Nepal to seek out the spiritual healers who reside in the Himalayan Mountains. He is taken to the temple Kamar-Taj where he meets The Ancient One who shows Dr. Strange her magical abilities, astral planes, and different dimensions.  

He becomes obsessed with her power and begs to be taught. At first he is denied her teaching due to his arrogance, but is eventually admitted into the temple, where he quickly excels at the mystic arts. As Doctor Strange is brought into a new world of magic to find a cure for his hands, he is quickly dragged into a war between good and evil forces.  

The film has a classic Marvel movie formula that is very similar to Iron Man, where the brilliant and arrogant character who seems to have it all experiences a life changing event that causes him to rethink his identity and redefine his values. For Tony Stark in Iron Man, it was being kidnapped by a terrorist group and seeing innocent lives taken by the very weapons he made that caused the attitude shift.

For Doctor Strange, the life changing event was losing his ability to work, and therefore his identity and the one thing that really defines him: his career. Both characters ultimately have their values tested until they make the ultimate final decision, which is that of selflessness and a duty to serve and protect something greater than themselves.  It is a story of redemption and becoming a better self.  

Although this movie was very similar to many of the other Marvel movies in terms of plot, visually it was much different. The film looked like it was influenced by both Harry Potter and Inception. Imagine, if you can, the visual effects of the buildings and other infrastructure being manipulated in bizarre fashions like Inception, with sorcerers running around casting spells like in Harry Potter.  

Benedict Cumberbatch is a popular and talented actor and was no doubt cast to increase the audience’s range. Women who wouldn’t normally see a Marvel movie now have incentive to see this unlikely sex symbol in the leading role as he plays the arrogant Doctor Strange.

Mads Mikkelsen plays the film’s villain, Kaecilius. For Mikkelsen this wasn’t hard. It seems like the actor was born to play villainous roles, like Le Chiffre in Casino Royale and Hannibal Lecter in NBC’s Hannibal.  His voice and appearance portray a self-righteous villain quite well.

The film had a fairly good soundtrack. It wasn’t insanely memorable like that of The Revenant or Star Wars, but it did add to the film and its scenes.  

The only big criticism I have of the film is that it felt as if there was a time constraint. At times things felt too rushed.  I think that if they had a little more time they could have further developed Doctor Strange’s character, as well as add to the overall plot of the movie.  

Overall the movie was compelling in both its new Marvel-style universe, and its story. As someone completely new to the Doctor Strange world, I found myself really liking the philosophical nature of the movie, as well as the new magical style it seemed to have. A good movie should entertain, and that is exactly what Doctor Strange did.

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