All magic comes with a cost

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Libby Sullivan

More stories from Libby Sullivan

His Last Stand
April 1, 2017

Once again Marvel has raised the bar in the cinematic universe. With a new, intriguing story line, a complex hero and detailed CGI, Marvel Studios has surpassed all expectations – making Dr. Strange one of the top superhero films of the year.

When renowned surgeon Stephen Strange ends up in a car accident, he loses proper use of both of his hands, ending his career. In search of a miracle to make the shaking in his hands stop, Stephen travels across the world and as a result becomes a student of a woman called “The Ancient One.” She teaches Stephen the power of sorcery, initially to help him overcome his debilitating hands, but as time progresses Stephen acquires more knowledge and power than thought possible and becomes the only person who can save the world from a new threat.  

Within moments of the film, we see some of Marvel’s best effects. Buildings twist and turn, dimensions shatter and worlds crumble right in front of viewer’s eyes. Director Scott Derrickson took advantage of the universe offered from the Dr. Strange comics and brought the beloved comics to life beautifully. Marvel got the aesthetic of the movie down to a T, but the extent of how wonderful “Dr. Strange” was did not stop there.

Seeing Benedict Cumberbatch (Stephen Strange) and Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One) on the big screen together gave me chills. Their talent as actors shone through in this movie, and fans of Cumberbatch saw a whole new side to his acting talent and skill set. Every actor in the movie obviously put their hearts into their role to pull together such a complex film, but Cumberbatch really shone in the film as he stretched his boundaries to fit into such a dark role.

To top the already impressive film off, Marvel continued its signature use of humor in “Dr. Strange.” Even something as dark as the storyline presented Marvel found a way to lighten and bring comedic relief into. As more superhero movies arrive in theaters every year, one simple fact remains: Marvel knows how to get people to buy tickets. With a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 4/5 on Common Sense Media, “Dr. Strange” follows Marvel’s trend of creating movies people want to see. By now Marvel perfected the art of reeling people in because they know what will make people purchase tickets and what will get them the highest ratings possible – a likable hero (or antihero in the case of “Dr. Strange” and “Deadpool”), a complex but still easy to follow storyline and humor. Lots of humor. Marvel has created a formula that people not only love, but expect and pay to see.

Even though Marvel created a beautiful story and executed the use of CGI to its full extent, “Dr. Strange” may disappoint a few fans of the comics since it strayed away from the books more than other movies did. In the case of “Deadpool” or “Captain America” Marvel maintained a balance between following the comic book storyline and adding their own details to the movie. In the case of “Dr. Strange” that line blurred. More facts from the comics were stretched, but the sacrifice seemed completely necessary at the end of the movie. The changes made offered Marvel the opportunity to make Dr. Strange a recurring character in the Marvel (movie) Universe. So, even though they may have ticked off a few super-fans, Marvel’s sacrifice has opened many doors for the character of

Dr. Strange, whether in the form of a sequel or a guest star in one of the other popular Marvel series movies.

It comes as no shock Marvel can create so many films and still surprise its audience. “Dr. Strange” stretched the boundaries of what Marvel was capable of and opened many new doors for the studio. I expect to see many great things from this character and hope it becomes a recurring member of the Marvel (studios) Universe.