As I was watching the third act of Doctor Strange, it dawned on me that this was the first time a comic book adaptation, was meant more for the Audio-Visual medium compared to its source. Director Scott Derrickson, a horror auteur, has imagined some of the most intricately designed action sequences and taken the use of green screen to a level that I haven’t seen before. Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Doctor Strange, had come up with those wonderfully, bizarre and psychedelic planes of existence in the 60s and those panels coming to life are surely gonna be a benchmark on how to expand one’s mind without the use of psychotropic drugs.
Doctor Strange’s plot is a lab tested Marvel formula that they’ve perfected into Box Office Gold for over a decade. What separates it from the other Marvel origin movies is the flamboyance that I just wasn’t prepared for. This movie does not miss a beat. Scott Derrickson whose trademark narrative through shadow-play (as seen in Sinister) is showcased in the movie’s first scene, has a beheading. He was certainly the right choice, because you’re going to be delightfully scared and rightfully so, when you’re pushed into a Kubrick inspired light show that is relentless and will freak you out.
The androgynous, Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One steals every scene she is in. It was great to see that they pulled a page out of Thor and are building a villain with Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), his disillusionment with sorcery is interpreted in a very tragic fashion which was reminiscent of Loki’s character from Thor. Rachel McAdams, woefully under-written is a plot device, but a way better handled one compared to Pepper Potts. Mads Mikkelsen though menacing, will just be added to the list of the one note villains, Marvel is getting some flack for. Benedict Cumberbatch is just perfect as Doctor Stephen Strange. His pride, fall and redemption is executed quite well, and any shortfalls in the script are well over-compensated by the amazing chemistry between Chiwetel Ejiofor, Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong (yes that’s his real name, who plays Wong, who is not just a man servant) and Swinton and the glorious visuals that will make your jaw drop.
Make sure you watch this in the biggest screen around you, the set pieces are well worth the IMAX money.