‘Doctor Strange’ is Marvelous movie magic


Benedict Cumberbatch plays “Doctor Strange.” Courtesy of Marvel Cinema

By Ricardo Soltero

Marvel’s entry into the supernatural is visually stunning, captivating and surprisingly coherent.

“Doctor Strange,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme, is a departure visually and story-wise for the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Dr. Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is a brilliant but arrogant New York neurosurgeon who lives for attention and is self-absorbed.

After a devastating car accident wrecks his career, Strange finds himself desperate for a cure to restore his ruined hands. After unsuccessful surgeries and experimental procedures, he finds himself on a journey that takes him to Nepal in search of a guru with extraordinary healing abilities.

Instead, he meets Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), the latter a master in the mystic arts with vast knowledge of the mystical realm.

The Ancient One offers the doctor physical healing through spiritual enlightenment and becomes his mentor in his spiritual journey.

While under his tutelage, Mordo and Wong (Benedict Wong) serve as guides for Strange, offering advise as he digs deeper into the mystic arts and the threats that come with manipulating such power.

Here we see glimpses into the dark realm and learn about Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a renegade former disciple who is threatening to bring the dark realm to our own.

As the movie plunges into the mind-bending layers of trippy visuals, the movie relies on the actors’ ability carry the film. Cumberbatch, Ejiofor, Mikkelsen and Swinton deliver strong performances, selling the fantasy element to the audience and lending weight to the action.

This film was a mighty gamble for Marvel but one that will pay off. Though the movie follows the winning formula of earlier films, it quickly departs into uncharted territory. No science behind this origin, Marvel dives head first into the mystical side of its comic-book universe, one that has been hinted at but not yet explored.

A solid origin story, “Doctor Strange” is a refreshing new look for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and easily one of its best.

In “Doctor Strange,” Marvel has its next generation of superheroes, along Black Panther and Captain Marvel, to carry the baton as we enter Phase Three leading to “Avengers: Infinity War.”