Last month, this blog ran a post saying the Dr. Strange move was a test whether Marvel’s movie juggernaut would continue.
The studio’s answer, essentially, was, “C’MON, MAN!”
That’s because the movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch successfully translates one of Marvel’s quirkiest characters to the screen while still retaining the studio’s basic style, which includes a health amount of humor (without going overboard).
Put another way, Dr. Strange is a movie you can enjoy without every having read a Dr. Strange comic book story or, for that matter, having watched another Marvel-produced film.
The Scott Derrickson-directed film uses the eight-page Stan Lee-Steve Ditko Dr. Strange origin comic story (the sorcerer’s third appearance in Strange Tales) as a springboard for a much larger epic.
Dr. Strange also is an example of how computer effects are integral to the movie. Realizing the mystic realms devised by Ditko (the artist created the character) would be impossible without them. At the same time, the Dr. Strange movie tells an actual story, complete with an arc for its lead character.
James Bond film fans should take note. The lead villain is played by Mads Mikkelsen (Le Chiffre in 2006’s Casino Royale). Another sorcerer, Mordo, is portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was in the conversation to play Blofeld in SPECTRE before Christoph Waltz was cast. Readers of the original Dr. Strange comic book will recognize the significance of the Mordo character name.
This being a Marvel film, Dr. Strange makes a (brief) connection to the rest of the Marvel movie universe. There are two brief scenes in the end titles. If you’re one-and-done with Dr. Strange, you can pass them by. If you’re a Marvel film fan, you’ll want to see them.
By now, Marvel has shown it can adapt virtually any of its characters successfully to the screen. The ride continues. GRADE: B-Plus.