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‘Doctor Strange’ is one of Marvel’s best

Mace Mackiewicz, Contributing Writer

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After a pretty dismal second half of the year for movies, it was nice to finally get something to be excited about in the form of “Doctor Strange.”

Most superhero movies this year were plain bad or just mediocre, except for “Captain America: Civil War” and “Deadpool.” Movies as a whole this year have been in a slump.

But “Doctor Strange” is definitely the best superhero movie of 2016 and probably my new second favorite Marvel movie after “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Mostly because Strange is a more interesting Marvel character than others, and also because you can watch this movie without needing to watch hours of other Marvel films and still enjoy it.

Before I go into what I liked about the movie, I will go into detail about some of the problematic parts of the movie. The first being the way Strange gets his powers. When medicines of the western world fail to help Strange recuperate after an accident, he goes to an Asian country to find a more mystical way of healing and ends up with powers.

This type of trope is old, but it is weird to see it still being used in today’s society, portraying Asian countries as having ancient magical knowledge. The other problem I had with the movie is most of the people in the place that Strange travels to for his powers are not of Asian descent at all. It’s mostly Caucasian people and a few other people of color dressed up in stereotypical garb.

Strange’s mentor, played by Tilda Swinton, is not exactly a person you would picture when you think of someone teaching monks how to use magic, and the main villain played by Mads Mikkelsen wears traditional Asian garb even though he is white.

The one plot-related problem I have with the movie involves time manipulation. The movie states it is dangerous and has consequences but does not show any of these to be true, and the use of time manipulation could have saved multiple lives throughout the movie. Time travel is often messy in film, but it creates a pretty big plot hole in this movie.

Beyond these problems, though, you have one of the most visually stunning movies I have seen since “Interstellar.” The CGI in the film is pure eye candy and is done really well. In fact, if you get the chance, you should absolutely see it in IMAX 3D because everything on the screen really pops.

Strange’s super powers are also some of the most interesting out of any Marvel superhero. He can conjure up any weapon like a whip using magic, create portals, and with the help of an artifact, manipulate time. The fights and choreography are some of the most creative I have seen.

The movie has some of the most creative fight scenes and uses the magic gimmick to great effect without it being mind-numbing. Even though the fight scenes have so much going on at once, they are easy to follow and really well done.

His characters’ motivations make sense and is not the typical hero’s journey, destined-for-greatness type of story. The villain is also not cut-and-dry evil and has a pretty convincing reason for why he wants to do what he does in the film.

The pacing and storytelling is solid and is completely understandable by anyone unlike DC’s two films this year. If you can see through the tropes and stereotypes, the movie is really good. I am not a huge Benedict Cumberbatch fan, but he is also pretty good in this movie.

The best thing I can also say about the film is how accessible it is. You do not have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel cinematic universe to understand the film. You get a complete film with a satisfying ending without the context of the rest of the films.

Overall, I would give Doctor Strange an 8.5 out of 10. The old Hollywood movie tropes and weird casting of certain characters holds it back from a higher score, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable film.

Mace Mackiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or mmmackiewicz@eiu.edu.

 

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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.
‘Doctor Strange’ is one of Marvel’s best