‘Doctor Strange’ makes strong and thrilling debut

By Erin Cowan, Round Table news editor

What’s strange about Marvel’s newest blockbuster “Doctor Strange” isn’t the levitation cape, mirror-verse or bad-guys with sparkly purple rimmed eyes, but how this movie shifts the standard superhero troupe from physical and flashy to a radiant multiverse that sets its roots deep with a mystical influence that merges with the “real world” flawlessly.

After watching this cinematic masterpiece, the success of the movie can definitely be attributed to an extremely talented cast and crew, captivating special effects and intricate costume design.

By employing a cast with strong acting backgrounds to portray the heavy-hitters in the film, Director Scott Derrickson sculpts a masterpiece out of already-iconic actors.

With the world-renowned Benedict Cumberbatch portraying the dynamic, arrogant, enthralling and strangely personal Dr. Stephen Strange, along with the controversial but overall brilliant casting of Tilda Swinton, viewers had extremely high expectations for the film.

From a wealthy head surgeon and brilliant mastermind, to a crippled and broken man searching for impossible hope and, finally, to a sorcerer who has to choose between his old life of fortune and defending the world. Cumberbatch effectively portrays each aspect, feeling and conviction that Stephen Strange experiences throughout the film.

The most extraordinary aspect of his character is how he is so extremely human in essence. Even when he obtains great responsibilities, he retains and masks all of the flaws he originally had while battling to overcome them and to be an effective sorcerer. Strange is called out on these flaws multiple times throughout the film, and it’s evident that he attempts to overcome them – whether he is fully able to or just masks each fault until it eventually grows like a weed and controls him, the audience will discover during the next movie Strange appears in. From the adaptability and depth Cumberbatch is able to portray, the performance comes alive through the film.

Swinton uses her androgynous appearance and mannerisms to effectively portray the established character of The Ancient One – usually a 500 year old, mystical Tibetan monk. Despite the debate over race, Swinton illuminated her ability at portraying the role in a new and refreshing way. With slight background alterations made subtly in the film, her characterization and casting made perfect sense despite initial confusion and hesitation.

Winning the award for “Best Character” is definitely Dr. Strange’s Cloak of Levitation. Seriously, sign it on with the Avengers, X Men, or start its own band of sentient apparel do-gooders. By filling the role of the comic relief and the intensely loyal best friend, the cape is attributed with the most laughs in the film. This crowdpleaser will be the cause of capes coming back into fashion.

When it comes to enthralling special effects that captivate the audience, there is no better movie to watch. Combining similar effects from Inception as well as adding it’s own magical flair with spells that are just as flashy as any “Harry Potter” movie, but insanely intricate and variant from any pre-established mystical runes brought to life by a film. Besides the action scenes spewing with shooting glowing shapes, portals and warped buildings, there are effects used in scenes to illustrate millions of universes throughout the multiverse that drops jaws, especially if viewed in 3D or IMAX formats.

From cultural to comic book inspired, the costumes in “Doctor Strange” are intricately designed with dazzling shapes, colors and robust themes. Alexandra Byrne, the head costume designer, adds substantial life to the characters in the film. With vivid colors, especially in the snazzy, red levitation cape contrasting with the blue, cultured tunic and arm wraps worn by the doctor, Byrne exemplifies her expertise in telling a story through instinctive and complex designs. Byrne’s infamous costuming can be found in both Avengers movies as well as Thor and other Marvel films. Taking home an Oscar for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, this designer struts her diverse knowledge of storytelling and intertwines it with fashion, completely fabricating the universe and personality of each character.

Overall, “Doctor Strange” thrills the audience through its dynamic characters with their acting choices, psychedelic special effects and intricate costuming. Trailblazing its way through the box offices and giving superhero movies a variant take on the genre with a more mystical than physical feel, “Doctor Strange” can cure your need for a new Marvel movie.