‘Doctor Strange’ Blu-ray Review: Visually Stunning Marvel Classic
The newest addition to Marvel Studios’ historically profitable franchise, Doctor Strange, is the most cerebral film in their superhero canon – sorry, Professor X. It is also the first film in the Marvel Universe that makes the audience wonder if they are experiencing an acid flashback.
Doctor Strange, directed by Scott Derrickson, stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the film’s title character. Cumberbatch plays a top-notch neurosurgeon who is scarcely a more socialized version of Sherlock Holmes – snarky as ever and a romantic victim of his own genius.
On his way to a speaking engagement, Dr. Steven Strange gets into a car accident – leaving him with permanent nerve damage in his hands. Needing steady hands for work, Dr. Strange searches for a cure with the help of his on-and-off-again girlfriend, Christine (Rachel McAdams). When his search proves fruitless, Dr. Strange reluctantly explores non-tradition forms of medicine, eventually finding a mystical palace called Kamar-Taj where a woman known as The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) promises to cure him.
After first dismissing her as a quack, it doesn’t take long for Strange to accept her for what she truly is – after she sends him barreling through multiple dimensions of time and space. With help from The Ancient One’s assistant, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and a stern librarian, Wong (Benedict Wong), Strange quickly becomes a master of bending time, space, and matter. When his training is complete, Strange, Wong, Mordo and The Ancient One team up to fight Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and his group of zealots fighting to help Dormammu, master of the Dark Dimension, take over Earth.
Doctor Strange’s storyline takes very little risks. Like most superhero movies, we find a character vain and naïve experience a trauma only to find a power while also finding themselves. It’s tone is also very much aligned with other Marvel films like The Avengers, Iron Man and Thor – constant light humor, grand action scenes, no one is ever truly in danger.
Visually, though, Doctor Strange is stunning and exciting to watch. Along with the flashy choreographed fight scenes, the malleable set – which is at the will of the magicians – keeps viewers focused and engaged even when the film’s story stalls.
Doctor Strange is a fun watch without much under its incredibly crafted surface. All performances are decent, save for McAdams, whose caring-but-unloved-girlfriend shtick is tired and predictable. Otherwise, fans of the Marvel franchise will love Doctor Strange.
The Blu-ray edition of Doctor Strange includes a staggering seven special features, not including audio commentary from Derrickson. These features explore the title character as he appeared in the comic books, the crafting of other dimensions, a look at the choreographed fight scenes, a look at the score, a peek of several new Marvel films (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War), a short Thor film, and a conversation with the film’s cast.