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Looking Back: 2 Origins for the Price of 1 (”Doctor Strange”, Noob Review)

Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) a sorcerer who so happens to be a legitimate doctor. The film was, of course, very well made with outstanding and realistic looking special effects.

dr strange
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The plot of the film is that Doctor Strange, who is an arrogant man-much like Tony Stark, loses the abilities of his hands in a car accident one rainy evening. After giving up on Western medicine he decides to look elsewhere and ends up in the teachings of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). He ends up saving the world from Dormammu, an evil identity from the Dark Dimension. The way he does this is using time against a matter that never experienced the routine of time (think about it: what did you do this morning? Yesterday morning? Tomorrow morning?). Plus the idea of Strange getting bored while repeating the same question over and over again is brilliantly simple yet effective and I am glad that there were different angles and shot sizes instead of taking the easy way out.

Everyone in the cast gave extremely good performances and we get to see the growth of Strange as he lies his ego down for the benefit of good. The side characters of Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachael McAdams) and Wong (Benedict Wong) add to the environment of the world with their subtle acting and interactions with Strange. There is not so much of a romantic overtone between Strange and Palmer which is a nice change of pace. It is shown and spoken about but it adds to his growth and doesn’t take away from it. McAdams reacts to magic in a way that one would but quickly breaks away from her reaction to save Strange’s life (a decision that makes sense in a way) Swinton was a good choice to play The Ancient One in that she gave the role respect and dignity and the film also makes a quick “joke” that she does not look like what one would expect an ancient one to look like. I thought this was clever. Cumberbatch gives a good performance in being relatable and showing the struggle of losing one’s identity (with the loss of the movement of his hands) to the acceptation of there is something greater than one’s self.

There are a lot of clever moments in the film that are shown in the beginning with the use of foreshadowing, not only in the dialogue (such as when Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) the villain calling out The Ancient One as a hypocrite) but as well as the visuals (such as focusing on Strange’s hands before we see his eyes). There would be a lot more to notice on the third watching.

Things that I agree with but wish they were done, for lack of a better word, better was when Strange was running away from Kaecilius (in the first fight sequence, all of them are amazing but the one that stood out was the ending one with reversing of time while the characters still went forward) while the floor was sliding away from his feet. It looked like a mime run to me. Something else that I wish I saw was how nature would look like while it is being manipulated. We see a lot of geometric shapes in the different dimensions, which makes sense because of the building structures of the city but it would be cool to see how natural shapes would look. The Cloak looked natural (although I thought I could notice the CGI usage but it wasn’t as oblivious, certainly on the second viewing). The Cloak is a lovely character and I wish there was a touch more of him/her (maybe even interacting with other characters in a friendly way?).

Now onto why I titled my review as I did. Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

Not only does the film tell the story of Strange’s origins but it also tells the story of Mordo’s (which can be seen in the second ending credit but for the sake of my points I shall think of them as one story). Mordo is a head strong, inflexible character whose world gets changed and he decides that he can change it back. We see why he will, most likely, become the villain and his motivation for doing so (he believes he is doing good and the bill does come due as he says). This opens up the possibility for the sequel as well as giving us a relatable villain to look at.

Like any film there are flaws but these flaws do not distract from the world and the characters. A must see even if you haven’t seen the others. I mean I didn’t know Dr. Strange was actually a doctor.

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