“Doctor Strange” Swoops into Number One in the Box Office

Avery Deen, Reporter

As someone who has been into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a while now and is a longtime fan of Benedict Cumberbatch (who played main character Dr. Stephen Strange in this film and most famous for his role as Sherlock Holmes in BBC’s “Sherlock”), I was very, very excited for the release of the new movie “Doctor Strange.” I expected it to be good, on par with other Marvel hero origin movies such as “Iron Man” or “Captain America: The First Avenger.” I was not expecting to be blown away, to spend every moment of the movie perched on the edge of my seat, rapt attention on the screen in front of me.

Recently, Marvel has been stepping up their game with origin story movies like “Ant-Man” and “Guardian’s of the Galaxy” which, though the previews seemed underwhelming, received large critical acclaim and struck big with the fandom. “Doctor Strange” was like that. For someone like me who is an avid follower of the films, but doesn’t follow the comics, all I really got from the trailer was doctor turned hero with pretty magic stuff. Yet, I came out of it saying that not only was it one of my favorite movies of 2016, but one of my favorite Marvel movies. With astounding graphics and amazingly talented actors, the movie felt mystical and surreal.

My major concern with the film going  in was plot holes. Magical realism is a complicated genre and often times the stories are nice, but some of the magical laws of the world are unexplained or just don’t make sense. However, in “Doctor Strange,” I found that for the most part the fantasy elements were just as well explained as the realistic ones. It all made sense in the timeline of the movie. 

Strange himself was a very human character, and in a way, very comparable to Tony Stark. He’s smart, he’s rich, he’s cocky- and he gets himself in some big trouble in being so. Marvel is good about making their heroes flawed, and Strange certainly is. I can’t say much without giving anything away, but all of the characters have a balance of good and bad traits that makes them much more real then a lot of heroes, the villain makes good points and in the beginning the hero nearly destroys himself and others in his own arrogance, they make sound arguments, they make mistakes, they’re human. The balance of good and evil is a large overarching theme in this film, both in the universe as a whole, and in the characters themselves.

However, the best part of the movie was the visuals. Even if you hate the plot, even if you can’t stand the characters, you will be amazed by the feats of animation in this film. The bending of the surroundings and manipulation of buildings was mind boggling and beautifully executed. On a one to ten scale, I’d give this move a 15 in the graphics department. Specifically in the New York fight scene (because we all know that everything in the Avengers Universe comes back to New York) where they are running through streets and along the sides of buildings as the shape of the city is twisted and changed by the villain’s magical manipulations. This scene was amazing, a mix of fight scene choreography, beautiful animation, and important plot development, it was definitely a favorite scene in the movie.

Overall I’d give this movie a 9.5/10. And the only reason it’s not a 10 is because I didn’t want it to end, I want 3 more “Doctor Strange” movies at least, just replace the “Thor” movies with Doctor Strange ones, honestly we’re only watching them for Loki anyway. In a way I will be getting my wish, Strange is confirmed to appear in “Avengers: Infinity War,” and it’s being hinted that he may also show up in “Thor: Ragnork.” Other ratings wise, iMDB only gives it an 8/10, but it has an impressive 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film made $85 million in the box office it’s opening weekend, far surpassing that of “Ant-Man” and about on par with the opening of “Thor: The Dark World.” It has also held it’s spot as number one in the box office for two weekends now, which was unexpected with the new animated film “Trolls” which was expected to do well being released. However, “Doctor Strange” topped the charts and beat out the movie as fans spread the word about the movie and people continue to flock to see it. For an origin story superhero film, which tend to do worse in the box office than big ticket movies like “The Avengers” which features a whole cast and crew of heroes, it did very well and I expect it to continue doing well as long as it is in theaters.