Film review: Doctor Strange

I have come to realize a distinct feature happening with this year’s releases: quite a few are marvellously crafted with visuals and characters that take years to create, yet are so peculiarly short that you have to wonder if the scripts were cut ten pages, as to not worry investors.

Including The Girl on the Train, Hacksaw Ridge, Star Trek Beyond and several others, each film seems to end in a way that tries to tantalize the next entry or insinuate a certain style, yet end up feeling half-baked in their final moments. At 115 minutes, it could be understandable to not want the audience to “get bored” as we dip into the final act, nevertheless I can’t help but wish some more had been invested in creating a great finale for the movie and not as another springboard for the continuing Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Despite these feelings, it is hard not to commend director Scott Derrickson and his cast in crafting a wildly weird film that can be considered both psychedelic and mind-bending in its visuals. Derrickson, as well as his cinematographer Ben Davis, create a vibrant and beautiful film. It differentiates itself from its competitors by embracing the magic that surrounds Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange as he learns about the Marvel Universe’s unique approach to the spiritual arts brought to life by many visual effects artists that make the entire film have a tangible reality that I have yet to see since Avatar.

As most may know, the film follows Strange, played with as-to-be-expected brilliance by Benedict Cumberbatch, an arrogant surgeon who loses the function of his hands and is forced to find a new path in his life before stumbling into the magical realm of physics-altering, reality-warping magic.

The entire cast really cements the world into a realistic, albeit far-fetched, experience that proves to be great character material for the likes of Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton and Mads Mikkelsen, with a stirringly funny performance that hasn’t been fully seen before from the great Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The film is bound to rake in swimming pools full of money this week, yet ultimately I am more excited to see where the characters introduced here will end up in future installments. The film itself is a stunning work of characters and visual effects, but I am more hopeful that future Marvel releases will take longer with their final acts, give these great characters more time to celebrate their acts and actually have a resolution.