Marvel bends time, space, and minds in “Doctor Strange”


An official promo image of Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of Steven Strange.

Erin O'Shea, Staff Reporter

“Doctor Strange” takes the world you think you know and flips it on its head. The new Marvel movie premiered on Nov. 4 and conjured $85 million on opening weekend. The film scored a 90 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, coming in as the fourth highest rated Marvel movie out of the 14 films they have made.

The movie shows  how neurosurgeon Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, became the comic book superhero Dr. Strange.

Strange’s magic is used as a thread to create a vivid plot that is easy to follow though not as easy on the eyes. Buildings twist and compress and characters are taken into different worlds to battle each other with what the movie calls “the magic of spirit,” the power inside the soul.

During the course of the movie, Strange turns from a cocky, arrogant doctor into a man who would give up his life to save the world.

Despite the film’s high rating, controversy surrounded the casting for the role of the Ancient One, the woman who teaches Strange the ways of the magic. In the original comic books, the Ancient One was portrayed by an Asian man, and Strange learns to use magic in Hong Kong. However, in Marvel’s movie portrayal, that role is taken up by actress Tilda Swinton, a white female.

Both Swinton and Marvel Studio president Kevin Feige have spoken on the reasons behind these changes. Feige stated that they changed the Ancient One to a woman because they believed that the portrayal of the strongest being in the universe should be a woman, and they believed Tilda Swinton was perfect actress to fill the role.

“What if the title had been passed and the current Ancient One is a woman?” said Feige a 2015 interview with Entertainment Weekly. “Oh, that’s an interesting idea. Tilda Swinton!”

Despite the tinge of Hollywood’s history of whitewashing, the movie itself is a thrill to see. Marvel never fails to weave an incredibly intricate story that has you questioning what will happen until the very last second.