The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie: Doctor Strange is a bit of a contradiction since it feels both familiar and alienating at the same time
Structurally, it's just another superhero origin story. But on the other hand it's going on to a different trip (read psychedelic) as opposed to other comic book movies.
After so many movies of this sort, Doctor Strange echoes its predecessors.
The well-off arrogant guy who is brought down a peg after a near death experience and remade into a hero is what the Marvel Cinematic Universe had built on with Iron Man. There are also a few shades of Batman Begins in the film as Strange travels abroad and studies with a secret group, although his motivations for going there are quite different.
Still I wish Doctor Strange didn't feel quite as familiar as it did at times. The trappings may be different but it follows a pretty standard path.
Rachel McAdams is an innately likable actress but in the film she doesn't have a role beyond reacting to things happening around her.
The idea of Mads Mikkelsen playing a Marvel villain is exciting and indeed he and Cumberbatch have interesting chemistry but his character Kaecilius simply isn't enough for the movie to feel fully formed.
Doctor Strange is still a very entertaining movie, thanks to the actors and the visuals. This is an incredible cast and it's hard not to smile seeing the actors fully immerse themselves in the mystic part of the Marvel Universe.
Visually, Doctor Strange is stunning. Director Scott Derrickson does a great job in portraying the mind and world bending imagery here.
Some of you must have noticed that a couple of shots in the trailer are reminiscent of inception but the visuals in Doctor Strange is much broader than that.
There are some incredibly outrageous surreal moments here which are true standouts.
Bennedict Cumberbatch in the midst of this feels like the perfect choice to play Strange. He has his own mixture of gravitas and an off-beat nature that allows him to feel right at home even in the midst of bizzare scenarios.
Ultimately the basic structure of Doctor Strange is a bit overly familiar but the elements that brings it all together are fascinating and thrilling with a lot of potential for the future.
I'm going with 3.5 stars.