Poster courtesy of Screenrant.

Marvel’s “Strange” New Movie

Review and Opinions by Alena Gamble and Amelia Roberts

November 8, 2016

The Marvel universe is a major part of today’s pop culture. Everyone knows about the Avengers, Spider Man and Groot, but who, other than devoted fans, can recall the backstory of Doctor Strange? This blockbuster movie retells a story that many new fans are eager to learn and adore.

The movie first introduces us to the
famous neurosurgeon, Dr. Steven Strange. It seemed like Strange had it all: a great job, lots of
money, an excellent reputation for theancientonescenesaving lives on a daily basis. Strange was portrayed as the “self-centered, ignorant rich boy” who only cared about himself and his job. However, a fatal accident forced Dr. Strange to reinvent himself and reevaluate his life, thus taking the audience on a journey of self-discovery and finding the true meaning of heroism.

Director Scott Derrickson (Poltergeist, Sinister, Sinister 2) does an excellent job, along with screenwriters Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill, of pulling the audience into the movie using exceptional cinematography and a nice balance of humor and excitement. The CGI graphics in the movie are some of the most incredible in all of Marvel his story. At many points throughout the motion picture, there are stunning scenes in which the dimensions of space are warped, dazzling the audience with the exquisite detail of the buildings, spells and mystical sceneries.

Marvel Studios does an outstanding job of keeping this movie captivating on a small-scale, separate from plot lines established in previous movies, thus creating memorable characters and a unique, almost secretive world in which these characters and events take place. It takes on a completely different tone than other cross-over movies such as Captain America: Civil War, making it exceptional without relying on big-name characters and overdone, stereotypical plot lines. The only way it is connected to the Avengers is in which librarian Wong drops the crime-fighting group’s name, but only once, and in a way that would logically make sense within the universe. By keeping the story small-scale, it makes the
audience feel as if they are lucky to witness such events take place, and feel as if they understand the characters on a more personal scale. It also does well for the complexity of the film: it contains concepts complicated enough with dimension-hopping and warping time, so attempting to cross over into the overwhelmingly intricate and ever-expanding crop of existing characters would make the film too exdrstrangelandscapecessive.  

The story itself is engaging, the visuals are magnificent, but there is a controversy amidst the beautiful film. Tilda Swinton was cast as the role of the “Ancient One,” the oldest, most powerful sorceress there is in the Marvel Universe. “The Ancient One,” in the comics was portrayed as a Tibetan man and though the comic character is portrayed differently in the movie, seeing as the “Ancient One” is a woman in the film, there are lots of questions going around as to why Marvel casted a white, Scottish woman instead of someone from Tibet or even someone who has some Asian background. A Marvel spokesperson defended the choice by saying, “The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic.”

Despite the whitewashing that took place during the casting of the movie, the idea of changing the male character in the comics to a strong female lead was a bold, excellent choice. Adding a woman as one of the main characters is another great step away from the  male-dominated marvel universe.

However, it still fails the Bechdel Test immensely– as do many of the other marvel movies. The Bechdel Test determines whether a movie portrays enough female characters that are not solely dependent on a male character. In order to pass, a movie must meet three criteria: it must (1) have at least two women in it who (2) talk to each othertheancientonescene2 about (3) something other than a man. Of course, this is a major disappointment for the female fans of Marvel.

Overall, Doctor Strange is a stunning, enthralling film that leaves the audience awestruck and impressed. It has many memorable and charming characters, along with a healthy mix of dark and humorous scenes. It certainly will not disappoint Marvel fans, and is an excellent addition to the Marvel’s movie universe.

Personal Rating: 9.5/10

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