By Joanna Cosgrove
Marvel’s cinematic universe has given us some great heroes – and villains – but what keeps us coming for more is how this whole universe has so many levels, and so many worlds. We have the Avengers, saving the planet with all their might; we have the Guardians of the Galaxy, protecting the worlds beyond our own; and with the newest installment, we learn that Earth can be saved with the physical and the spiritual. Enter Doctor Strange.
Alright, we have all heard mixed expectations. As the MCU expands, and we discover more brave faces, we also discover the diversity in how they keep everyone safe. That is where Doctor Strange dazzles us.
The story of famous surgeon, Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), reaching past his medical expertise to cure himself of what he was repeatedly told was incurable nerve damage, shows something human in my eyes. He was full of himself, and he closed his mind off to whatever of the universe he didn’t know – he acted as if he knew it all – but he opened up his mind and that led to his powers. Opening his mind made him who he is; the best he can be. It’s inspiring, honestly.
We must discuss the ethnicity issue. It’s been there since the beginning and throughout the promotion for the movie, it needs to be discussed, not the whole movie is released to the public.
I need to admit, Tilda Swinton – as talented of an actor as she is – was possibly a mistake in casting. Don’t get me wrong, the diversity of actors cast in these roles is realistic and appropriate, but I believe the character of the Ancient One would have been best to remain as being Tibetan. “Whitewashing” is not a term I’m throwing in here though, because it’s not necessary when diversity is clear and greatly appreciated, as well as being used for the sake of making a successful film – not just to keep movie-goers happy and avoid the “racist” label.
Same as whitewashing, we cannot call “cultural appropriation”. The representation of spirituality and healing is not used disrespectfully, and the story of Stephen Strange opening his mind to realities he never heard about and abilities he never gave a chance to before is one everyone can pay attention to. Alright, I don’t really want to be that person who finds depth beyond depth in a normal action movie, but there is here. Like we only believed in the Avengers catering to the usual, the stereotypical way of dealing with the supervillains, we can also be opened up to the idea that the mind is just as mighty as the body it controls. Doctor Strange is an example of changing what we know about the strength of superheroes, using your mind to save the world.
Last, definitely not least, we have the special effects of this movie. Like wow.
The representation of the powers in our world, manipulating surroundings, is more than a regular eyeful. It gives us exactly what we need: a visual understanding of these powers. It makes you imagine “how would that feel?” as the world stretches, spins, and separates in front of our very eyes on that big screen. It’s exciting, and despite it being the result of something most of us won’t believe is a real thing, it makes us believe that little bit more. It’s terrifying, but exhilarating, because that could easily be the world we live in. Let us wish it never will be though. It may not end well for us.
Overall, worth the watch. It might not be your favourite MCU movie, I’ll admit, but it would be a mistake to skip this, as it holds a whole new chapter in this universe, beyond the Earth and the stars. The universe in our own minds.