Film Review: ‘Doctor Strange’ is Odd Enough to be Enchanting

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – We’ve reached a point where comic book films are no longer a scarcity, but an eventuality. With several coming out every year, each one competes for our attention even though the originality behind their approach has the opposite effect. A great cinematic fatigue is almost upon us, but “Doctor Strange” shows a promising deviation that could possibly alter the franchise’s fate. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Director and co-writer Scott Derrickson assembles a team of writers (Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill) that best compliment his horror background and that would be needed to create this previously unexplored comic book world. Derrickson successfully blends the needed gravity (both the force of nature and the serious tone) the material calls for with a unifying sense of levity that interconnects every Marvel film. The film still agonizingly suffers from the predictable hero origin story that we have seen done so many times before, but it offers enough narrative and visual compensation to mostly make up for it. Derrickson’s’ directorial vision is clear, even as we’re taken on a disorienting ride through different dimensions. He channels the visual style of Christopher Nolan in “Inception” but takes his film to a kaleidoscopic extreme that even Nolan didn’t come close to trying to achieve.

The psychedelic, mesmerizing ride that is “Doctor Strange” is boosted by every element from narrative to direction, but it wouldn’t be half as memorable without the world-shifting cinematography of Ben Davis. Davis brought to life the visual splendor that is “Guardians of the Galaxy” and shows that he has the unique vision and meticulous understanding of what each comic book universe needs to succeed. Davis crafted a perfect real-life interpretation of the style inside every cell of the comic books. It is vibrant, ethereal and completely dizzying in the most intoxicating way. The 3D actually serves a depth-delivering purpose as we are thrown into the cinematic equivalent of an M.C. Escher painting and forced to navigate in a place where time, space and even the laws of physics are manipulated for our enjoyment.

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Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

StarContinue reading for Jon Espino’s full review of “Doctor Strange”

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