This image released by Disney shows Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from Marvel's "Doctor Strange." ( Jay Maidment/Disney/Marvel via AP)

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“Doctor Strange” Review from TCU Student Media on Vimeo.

The newest entry in the already extensive Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Doctor Strange” serves as a strong origin story and a gateway for what’s to come while standing out amongst the multitude of Marvel films already released.

The film follows Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) on his journey to learn the mystic arts from the secretive Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and thwart the plans of the villainous Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen).

The plot serves as a straightforward origin story. While a bit rushed, the film manages to effectively follow Strange’s journey and helps to build the beginning of his character arc rather than try to complete it in a short amount of time. “Strange” also has some well-done segments that help to subvert the “punch the way to victory” type of plot that Marvel has gotten used to.

This image released by Disney shows Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from Marvel's "Doctor Strange." ( Jay Maidment/Disney/Marvel via AP)
This image released by Disney shows Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from Marvel’s “Doctor Strange.” ( Jay Maidment/Disney/Marvel via AP)

The biggest problem with the plot is that there’s a lot to go through. It becomes apparent that while being an origin story, Strange is also setting up for future movies in Marvel’s “Phase 3”. This gives the audience little time to actually connect with the characters in the film and keeps the film from being as strong as it could have been.

That said, “Strange” is one of the better solo films from Marvel, introducing new characters and another dimension to the already extensive cinematic universe. The action in “Strange” is also on par with the movies released so far. It is fun and visually interesting while having its own unique flair. This all makes “Strange” another strong entry in the Marvel franchise, even it if does feel a bit safe at times.

The cast is strong, but Cumberbatch leads with a standout performance as Dr. Strange. He brings snark and a bit of playfulness to the Sorcerer Supreme. Chiwetel Ejiofor also gives a memorable performance as Strange’s mentor Baron Mordo.

This leads to the biggest problem with “Strange”, however, which is relatively average characters. While the cast does a great job with what they have, almost everyone aside from Dr. Strange and Mordo feel somewhat underdeveloped. This is especially the case with Mikkelsen’s Kaecilius, whose backstory is stated outright in two sentences and ignored completely afterward, becoming yet another disappointing Marvel villain.

While the biggest weakness in “Strange” is its characters, the film’s biggest strength lies in its incredible visuals. The film fully embraces the magic its characters use, using multiple dimensions, detailed magical symbols and “Inception”-esque world folding to create what is by far the most visually interesting Marvel movie to date. Even without the magic, the film looks great thanks to a combination of impressive cinematography and mind-bending shots.  

Verdict:

A fun and visually stunning journey into a new portion of the Marvel Universe, “Doctor Strange” is a magical experience that must be seen to be believed.

8/10