I finally got to see Dr Strange at the cinema. It’s a very different beast to all the other Marvel movies, but there were still a lot of casual references to other MCU movie events and characters.
The epic back-lighted poster on display at the cinema.
Dr Strange is one of those unique Marvel movies that can be watched with almost no previous exposure to the MCU. Sure, the Avengers are referenced, but then everyone has probably heard of that team of heroes by now – even folks who haven’t seen the movies or read the comics. (Sort of like the way that there are isolated communities in far flung locations who have heard of Manchester United or Liverpool FC – but have never watched a game!)
Dr Strange is thus an excellent starting point for anyone who just doesn’t want to wade through a massive stack of DVD’s or Blu-ray to catch up. This movie is kind of like a comic jump-off issue equivalent. For those who DO watch every Marvel movie, there’s plenty here to enjoy in this Dr Strange origin movie. The action and special effects are bloody brilliant, the storyline is a bit basic – but then it is an origin story, so the focus is on setting up the character for subsequent movie appearances*.
Now there has been quite a bit of controversy/debate about the casting choices of this movie. (A bit of an understatement) Now, I haven’t actually read any of the Dr Strange comics before watching this movie, my only previous exposure to Dr Strange was through his appearances in the Original Sin storyline of comics, some 90’s cartoons – and various Internet fan art I saw online. So I’m not really clued up on who should have been what gender/race in the movie.
That being said, most of the main characters are of western origin. Almost all are male and white. There could have been a LOT more done to address and champion diversity in this movie – after all, the main vehicle of the plot is an emphasis on eastern spiritualism and philosophy within the MCU. There are lot of English speaking Asian actors and actresses out there who could have been brilliant in this movie. As it is, we only get Benedict Wong and Topo Wresniwiro (and the latter doesn’t really have any lines) to represent Asians. I’m not even going to try to explain the casting of The Ancient One.
Getting away from the casting, lets talk about the locations and the special effects. YES! We get to see New York, London, Nepal and a few other places. The special effects are mind bendingly awesome. I’m sure if you like 3d movies this would be epic – but I watch them in 2d as 3d just doesn’t work well for me, so I can’t say for sure. The costumes the characters wear are also quite awesome. (Speaking of which, check out this epic Dr Strange cosplay from twitter…)
Dr Strange is well worth watching, Casting controversy and all. It’s no Guardians of the Galaxy – this is a very different type of movie, but still excellent and enjoyable in its own right. After watching Dr Strange, why not take a short survey to help a PHD student out with some research?
Random Thoughts whilst watching Dr Strange: One movie that the special effects reminded me about and has me itching to rewatch. Dark City. The effects have a very similar vibe. Dark City is a lot darker – think Dr Strange meets the Adjustment Bureau meets Fringe.
*Talking of subsequent appearances – there are two post credit scenes to hold out for after the movie. The last sets up a possible teaser for a sequel to Dr Strange. The first is rather short, but extremely awesome and features someone MCU fans will be familiar with! Make sure you don’t leave until the very last credits have rolled. – Why am I even bothering, any MCY fan will be doing this out of habit anyway! 😉