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“Doctor Strange” mystifies and entertains, but falls victim to superhero clichés

Kaitlin Wong, Staff Writer

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Marvel’s comic book neurosurgeon turned sorcerer is brought to life in “Doctor Strange” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton. As one of the many movies to appear in the superhero genre, Doctor Strange does not break the mold of the typical Marvel superhero movie, however it succeeds in entertaining viewers with a complex and likable protagonist and beautiful visuals.

This is the second time the character Doctor Strange has appeared in a live-action film adaptation, the first being in 1978. Doctor Stephen Strange is a gifted, but egotistical, neurosurgeon from New York, who loses his ability to carry on his work after a car accident. He goes to Kamar-Taj, an institute for sorcerers in Nepal, to find a way to heal his damaged hands. Strange is then forced to become one of them and fight the evil wizard Kaecilius and his disciples in order to fulfill his quest. Along the way he is accompanied by his mentor, The Ancient One, played by Swinton, and finds love with his colleague Dr. Christine Palmer, who is played by Rachel McAdams.

Cumberbatch portrays Strange perfectly; he easily convinces viewers to root for him as he develops with a believable awkwardness that provides light humor. Not only Cumberbatch, but other actors, including McAdams, Swinton and Mads Mikkelsen, performed their respective roles exceptionally. Swinton and McAdams bring a personal depth to Strange’s character with down to earth acting that viewers can relate with. Mikkelsen plays Kaecilius well; however, because he was underused in the film, he was unable to fully display his acting abilities besides the typical villain role.

The dialogue provides cunning humor which adds to the charm of characters as well as background and characterization to most characters in the short time frame. Unfortunately, the film does not escape the well-known superhero clichés such as villainous rants, lectures on power and order and the puzzling vocabulary of a fantasy universe.

The strongest point of “Doctor Strange” is the wide range of special effects. Effects such as buildings folding and illusions of mirrors are utilized in the fight scenes which aid in making creative and eye-popping sequences. Throughout them, the soundtrack fades into the background, but overall the music accompanies all of the scenes properly. The downfall of the special effects execution is the camera focuses in on characters spinning through the air and fast-paced scene transitions are overwhelming and headache-inducing.

“Doctor Strange” might not be the most original movie, but it certainly is high quality in both visuals and actor performances. There is never a dull moment, the plot continuously moves and the visuals will glue viewers’ eyes to the screen. Strange is a character who is humorous and relatable due to his many flaws, which gives viewers even more reasons to enjoy “Doctor Strange”.

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“Doctor Strange” mystifies and entertains, but falls victim to superhero clichés