Open Your Mind, Change Your Reality

“Question reality, change your destiny.” Doctor Strange unlike any other film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, gave fans even more excitement for the upcoming Marvel movies, taking a different direction in the overall aesthetics of the cinematography.

The movie introduces Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his well-established and successful career as an egotistical neurosurgeon. When he loses his ability to be the surgeon he once was, he seeks out a place called Kamar-Taj, where Strange meets The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

Upon meeting The Ancient One, he becomes eager to learn more about the mystic arts, and over the course of several months, he advances quickly and learns to bend time with the Eye of Agamotto.

With his new abilities, Strange must stop Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) from summoning the powerful Dormammu of the Dark Dimension, where time does not exist and all can live forever.

When Benedict Cumberbatch was announced to play the superhero, fans were more than pleased, and rightfully so, as Cumberbatch gave a solid performance in the movie adaptation of Doctor Strange. He portrayed Doctor Strange with equal parts narcissism and a solid amount of witty and sarcastic humor, seamlessly falling into the role and being the perfect choice to play the character.

However, prior to the film’s release, when the trailer first came out, fans weren't as enthusiastic about the movie as they were about previous Marvel releases since the trailer gave the feeling that the film took place outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The movie does indeed take place in the same universe as the Avengers and introduces the multiverse, a series of alternate universes within Marvel. The company is very familiar with this concept, and fans are hoping this will be further explained in future MCU movies.

The fans also complained of the trailer looking too much like Inception. However, the movie’s complex CGI and surreal cinematography takes a different direction than Inception when it comes to perceptibly engaging viewers. This is more notable in the scene taking place in the Dark Dimension, where the CGI is best displayed.

As far as the downsides to the movie, the relationship between Stephen Strange and Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) seemed inorganic and rushed. There was an evident chemistry between Cumberbatch and McAdams, but it didn't translate well into their characters. The movie would have been better off if the characters were portrayed as friends and have their relationship progress in future movies.

There was also controversy over The Ancient One and the whitewashing of the character. Fans became enraged when news broke out that Tilda Swinton would play the role, as the character is a Tibetan man in the comics. C. Robert Cargill, co-writer of the movie explained that conforming to the racial stereotypes of a wise, Asian man was something they did not want to adapt in Doctor Strange. Fans are still weary of the whitewashing, but nevertheless, were pleased with the how the character turned out.

Even with all the negative opinions that came subsequent to the release of the trailer, Doctor Strange still managed to lead the way in fall movie releases, grossing with an estimated $85 million at the box office the weekend of the release.

Despite the skepticism by critics and Marvel fans of the film, Doctor Strange is overall a visual masterpiece with elements never before seen in other MCU movies. This release is sure to “expand your mind.”

Photo Credit: Jasel Layson

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