I am a lover of all superhero movies. I grew up with Marvel and DC and as a kid I didn’t really play favorites. I had my faves in each camp but never regarded one company as better than the other. In films both companies are producing some stellar films but Marvel had a head start and has done a brilliant job (with Disney) of establishing the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The newest film is one that essentially begins a whole new chapter in the universe as it introduces a character that isn’t an alien or an enhanced human. It introduces magic.
Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a talented neurosurgeon. And a bit of an egotistical ass. When a horrible car accident damages Strange’s hands and his entire future as a surgeon, he travels to the ends of the Earth looking for alternative medicine that could restore his hands and his career. Along the way Strange meets the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and a sorcerer named Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who teach him that magic is real and can even open doors to other dimensions. But as Strange grows stronger he is faced with Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a sorcerer who plans to use ancient stolen texts to open the Dark Dimension, which could destroy the Earth. Now he must not only hold lives in his hands but the fate of all mankind.
Went I watched Doctor Strange the first time, I wasn’t sure what to think of it and came out a little underwhelmed. But I think that had a lot to do with expecting a typical Marvel movie. Many people were raving about the visual effects and while they were indeed cool, I found them to basically be rehashed Inception effects, nothing groundbreaking. And the character of Strange himself took me by surprise as well since I am not used to seeing Marvel heroes be arrogant pricks. But upon a second viewing with expectations in check I enjoyed the movie substantially more. I was able to soak in up more, enjoy the character more and focus on the story more. It is a very fun movie with lots of great philosophy thrown in and a decidedly different feel than any Marvel movie to date. So the secret is really to go into Doctor Strange with an open mind and you will definitely find there is much to enjoy.
The Blu-ray is, of course, loaded with extras including an audio commentary, a full hour of featurettes covering all aspects of the films production and effects work, a look at upcoming Marvel projects, a great short film about Thor’s regular life, and a nice batch of deleted scenes. Overall this is a stellar edition of a very different but very enjoyable new Marvel film. I think the most interesting part will be seeing how Doctor Strange plays into the rest of the Marvel Universe in upcoming movies. Highly recommended.