Another Superhero Is In Town With Doctor Strange

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Doctor Strange is probably the most anticipated superhero movie this year and it was definitely worth the wait.

The movie starts out with introducing us to Kaecilius and the Ancient One and the incredible powers both have before we get to know Steven Strange and his story.

A brilliant neurosurgeon who is – mostly – respected by his colleagues, though a tad too arrogant. Nevertheless, Steven Strange has everything he could ask for. But his life takes a dramatic turn when he gets into a terrible car accident, which leaves his hands especially in a terrible state, and he’s unable to work again.

He does everything he can to try to heal his hands, but nothing seems to work until he hears the story of a guy with a spinal cord injury, who was paralysed and is now able to walk again as if nothing has happened.

Very skeptical at first, Steven reads his hospital file and eventually seeks out Jonathan Pangborn in order to find out how he managed to get back to his former life. He sends Strange to Kathmandu, Nepal where he’s supposed to look for the Karma-Taj. After almost being robbed, he gets led to the Ancient One and learns about the wonders in the world.

He’s being rejected by her, but his determination wins out and the Ancient One starts to teach him. And so his miraculous journey begins.

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Obviously by now, everybody knows what a brilliant and talented actor Benedict Cumberbatch is and he also shines as Doctor Steven Strange. The way he portrays the arrogant neurosurgeon reminds you of his performance as Sherlock, which isn’t a bad thing, because we all know just how amazing he is as the famous sleuth.

Steven, however, changes over the course of the movie and his determination we first get to know remains a strong characteristic feature of him. There are moments when you can still sense his arrogance, though subtle at some points, and yet he’s not as arrogant as he had been for most of his life. He knows he made mistakes and tries to fix them, although not always successful. Cumberbatch portrays the inner struggle of Strange along with his determination but also his distress in such a way that you just have to feel with him. He transformed from this arrogant man, who thinks he can do anything he wants, into a man who saves the world and dedicates his life to do so in the future.

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Cumberbatch, however, isn’t the only one who just shines in Doctor Strange. Tilda Swinton also was great as the Ancient One, sharing her wisdom while having a great secret no one really believes she has. She has made mistakes in the past as well, especially the way she chooses to stay alive, but you still very much like and root for her. The way Swinton portrays her is somewhat hard to describe and you just gotta see for yourself why she was the perfect choice as the Ancient One.

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Right next to the Ancient One is Karl Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. He’s very loyal to the Ancient One, though in the end when he learns about the secrets she has, he starts to doubt her. You can see in his eyes just how much he struggles to figure out whether or not these secrets are the truth or not. He even struggles if he should be by Strange’s side during the final battle.

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And of course, I can’t forget to mention Mads Mikkelsen who takes on Kaecilius in the movie. The fallen master who saw through the Ancient One long before anyone else did and who decides to use his power for dark magic purposes. Sometimes, you just kinda sympathize with him (at least I did), though ultimately of course you still root for Doctor Strange and hope that he doesn’t fall for the things Kaecilius says. After seeing Mikkelsen in Hannibal, you already know that he’s great at playing the villain but as Kaecilius he’s even better. He has this aura about him and you don’t know if you should like or hate him now and even at the end of the movie it’s still unclear. In an interview earlier this year, Mikkelsen said the following about his character:

“He’s not a villain in that way – he’s a man who believes in something else than the hero. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to make the planet look wonderful or he wants to save the world as well, but he has a different way of doing it. He is the antagonist, of course, but he’s not necessarily wrong.”

And this is exactly how you, as a member of the audience, feel about him. In some ways, he’s right but the way he wants to make the world a better place is just wrong and you know that as well. The way the producers and Mikkelsen bring Kaecilius to life is excellent and I hope this wasn’t the last time we get to see him, even though it may seem like it now.

Last but not least, I also have to mention Rachel McAdams, who portrays Christine Palmer. She tries to help Steven through the hard time he has to go through and even though he’s an arrogant ass, she still loves him and you can tell by the way she behaves. Obviously, the movie isn’t about their love story, but she’s still very much important to Strange and in some ways to the plot as well. She doesn’t question him after not seeing him for months and just helps him to stay alive. Although, Christine is also able to stand her ground and tell him when he’s wrong or just being arrogant again. And it’s the way Rachel McAdams plays Palmer,  you know she’s not just saying it but actually means it. She’s a strong woman, who could do better than Steven but somehow still chooses to be with him.

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The casting director did an amazing job with getting the right people together in the right roles, however, the cast is not the only thing that makes this movie great.

The writing is also something that impressed me. While the Marvel movies are usually known for their fight scenes and bringing the superheroes to life, it’s not only that which makes Doctor Strange so great. In one moment they were fighting or we were involved in a very serious scene, but the next someone was making a joke or was just doing something hilarious. In some moments, however, I have to admit it took the seriousness out of it and it might not have been appropriate. Although in general, it was a nice change to see them actually be funny and not just being their usual superhero serious.

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Another thing that was highly praised these last days and that I just have to agree with are the visual effects. After having watched the trailer, I think everyone knew that this would be different from any other Marvel movie when it comes to visual effects and it really was. The way they showed these different universes and how they just managed to duplicate and bend the cities we all know is certainly brilliant.

Doctor Strange is definitely a must see this year and it was worth the wait. And the cast and crew deserve all the praise they can get.

Watch the trailer again to convince yourself to go and watch the movie when it hits theaters November 4 in the US. It’s out in cinemas now in the UK and Australia. (And don’t forget to stay until all of the credits are over.)

Anna Hattingen