One comes out of the theatre with just the right amount of awe and dizziness (mind you, here dizziness does not equal exasperation !), after watching this latest Marvel flick.
Here’s what I usually do when I watch a superhero film. Cheer the hero, curse the villain and occasionally laud the VFX team. But, never have I been forced to think about and question various plot-lines (I am looking at you, time-travel !) that have happened throughout the film.
Dr. Strange is the 14th entry to the hugely popular and ever-expanding MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and one to have introduced a fresh new Marvel protagonist after a very long time. Starring the ever-enigmatic Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character and a slew of big names like Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams, this film takes us on a much-familiar journey of a genius (Cumberbatch) with a super-sized ego gaining powers and saving the day (all the time, humbling down to his roots).
Only in this film, he learns the so-called ‘mystic powers’ from a bald sorceress (Swinton) known as the ‘Ancient One’ at a mystical academy called ‘Kamar-taj’, situated right in the Himalayas.
We also have the brilliant Ejiofor as his mentor and McAdams as his former love interest. This film also refreshes the super-villain category by giving us a sarcastic and matter-of-fact villain, Kaecillius (Mads Mikkelsen), over the brooding and ‘hell-bent-on-destroying-the-universe’ type.
The film does very well in providing us with a solid back-story and a grand opening to a much important character of the MCU, who’ll play a much bigger role later (Hint: Infinity War), all the while keeping it from making the introduction too mind-numbing and over-the-top. The plot is well-spaced out, which makes it refreshing and does not give the audience a ‘been-there-seen-that’ kind of a feel.
As always, all eyes solely rest on the wonderful Benedict Cumberbatch, who once again captures the attention and glee of the audience, to make the screen his own. The casting is spot on, with Tilda Swinton showcasing just the right amount of mysticism and character-shadowing, to make it believable. Much of the humor in the film is derived from interactions between Strange and Wong, (Benedict Wong) a grumpy master at the Kamar-Taj, who mostly replies in monosyllabic terms.
A large part of the plot (and climax, as a matter-of-fact) is derived on the concepts of time-travel (always exciting, innit ?). Though, the film does exceptionally well in not making it too convulating or exasperating.
A very honourable mention goes out to the Special Effects team, for giving the viewers one of the trippiest and visually-satisfying chase sequences, which in my opinion was one of the defining moment of the film. The VFX were believable as well as surreal at some parts, with the magical fight sequences aptly filmed and executed.
Also, the musical score was engaging and had right amount of intensity at all the right places, adding to the overall mystical and fulfilling aura of the film. (Music by- Michael Giacchino)
As of now, Dr. Strange has grossed 650 million $ around the world, against a budget of 165 million $. The film had a worldwide release on November 4, 2016, though it premiered at Hong-Kong on October 13, 2016.
All in all, Dr. Strange does a commendable job in setting up a satisfying introduction to one of the most-anticipated characters of the MCU, without making the plot too drab, predictable or boring, to say the least.
(Review by Ishaan Patil)