If it were up to me, I would hand ‘Doctor Strange’ the Oscar for visual effects right now. I know there have been astonishing achievements this year in movies like ‘The Jungle Book’, but the sheer imagination in this movie is of the highest order. It may be fair to say that some of the visual effects weren’t as difficult as crafting a living jungle (I really don’t know), but no other movie this year used visual effects to deliver something as fresh and exciting as this movie.
It also helps that the story is pretty compelling and Benedict Cumberbatch plays Stephen Strange. I’ll get the story out of the way really quick like. Doctor Strange is a brilliant surgeon whose work is respected around the world. Then he gets in a horrible accident and crushes his hands. In his desperation to find a way to heal his hands, he decides to travel to the other side of the world on a tip. It is on this trip that he finds a sorcerer known as the Ancient One (Tilda Swindon).
It is at this point where the story becomes the coolest training montage ever. We see vast dimension of color, shape, and light. We see sorcerers conjure holes through space. We see time be manipulated. But the coolest thing is the ability to bend matter into shapes that can be manipulated to the conjurers will. This shit is amazing to watch. It’s kind of like they took the ‘Inception’ world bending and stretched every building in whatever way you could imagine.
This technology is used to craft a scene where the skyscrapers of New York are literally broken down into a maze of manipulation that challenges space and gravity. It’s breathtaking! Honestly, it’s probably one of the most original action sequence I’ve ever seen. And it’s not even the climax of the film. It’s debatable whether the climax is nearly as cool, but it certainly is bad ass.
Which is kind of the most amazing thing about ‘Doctor Strange’. It manages to be a simple and smart film, while consistently delivering action sequence after action sequence. You will have a blast and feel you saw something fresh in this genre. There may be a lot of debate about what superhero movies are doing to cinema, but I’m all in. These are superheroes, but mostly they are characters in worlds like every other story. The big difference is the imaginative worlds that can be conjured. ‘Doctor Strange’ is one of the most original of those worlds.
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