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For a film that’s quite controversial, Man Of Steel has had a large-scale effect on the later superhero movie. More specifically, its collateral-damage-heavy, skyscraper smashing finale – Avengers Age Of Ultron, Batman v Superman Dawn Of Justice and Captain America Civil War all to alternating degrees feel a like direct response to the controversy that came after Superman’s seriousness in that movie.
The best response to destruction porn yet
Doctor Strange appears to be too, but it’s wiser and cleverer in some aspects. The Hong Kong-set finale features, like the priors, a portal in the sky, smashed-down buildings and bystander casualties, with Strange and Mordo arriving after the battle has mostly been lost. But Strange’s tactic isn’t to have some grand fight that leads to even more catastrophe. It’s to undo everything that just happened, turning back time with the Eye of Agamotto. And we then watch the destruction literally being rewinded, buildings piecing themselves back together and people returning to life. It’s a sort of statement of purpose, and one that’s again thematically relevant, given Strange’s Hippocratic Oath, and felt strangely cheering put against the nihilism of some of these films.
The cast of Doctor Strange
Some of the cast are arguably over-qualified for their roles, but we can’t deny the fact that Doctor Strange 720p online has the best cast of the MCU to date. We’d worried that Cumberbatch would be too close to his abrasive-but-brilliant geniuses of “Sherlock” and “The Imitation Game,” but while they’re in similar aspects, he’s doing something rather different here: slightly softer, slightly more pleased with himself, more heroic. His physicality develops impressively throughout the film too, even if his accent remains weird accross.
Nonetheless, it’s a confident and interesting turn that has us anticipating for his next appearance. Other characters fare less well in some aspects, but everyone’s still giving their best: Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor bring a refreshing lightness along with the gravitas, and do a lot to advance their characters above types: Swinton makes the mentor unpredictable and nimble, while Ejiofor makes Mordo a genuinely complex and conflicted character. Benedict Wong’s sort of a joy in his scenes, and while Mads Mikkelsen and Rachel McAdams get shorter appearance, they’re as watchable as ever here.
The nods to the wider MCU
It’s not always been the case (Iron Man 2) but Kevin Feige and the Marvel machine have gotten pretty good at referencing the larger universe or building up future possibilities without ceasing the movie dead in its tracks. Mid-credits scenes aside, the revelation of the Eye of Agamotto as the fifth Infinity Stone is well-made, and at least breaks up the concept that these things are always MacGuffins, as is the idea that using it will lead to serious consequences, presumably alerting Thanos to its location.
And other pieces of world-building and world-connecting are nicely handled, whether inserting the Avengers building into the NYC skyline, or Strange getting a phone call about, and turning down, an operation on Don Cheadle’s War Machine after his Civil War in Captain America 2016 injuries (although it does open up some continuity questions – Strange is already being watched by S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America The Winter Soldier, but here he’s still without his powers following the Captain America Civil War). And at least there’s no sequences where Strange sits down and watches a bunch of video files introducing new characters.
Doctor Strange has some strong themes behind the magic
Not every Marvel movie is actually about something, or at least about something more essential than, for instance, “the shrinking man wants to be a better dad.” But thanks to Derrickson, Jon Spaihts, C. Robert Cargill and Dan Harmon for assuring that the Doctor Strange 720p online plot is pretty rigorous when it comes to theme.
Though Cumberbatch performs the arc well, the concept that it’s about a man breaking down his ego and rebuilding himself is perhaps not entirely successful because he’s pretty arrogant at the end, just in a different way, and his path resembles Tony Stark’s a little too closely. But as a film that is about time and mortality, it’s well done, the conceit followed the storytelling from fairly early on, and proving to be important to the ending in more ways than just one. Derrickson’s very talented as a director with visual motifs and metaphors, and from Strange’s watch obsession to the circles that fill the production design, it’s more effective than most Marvel films at using its images to convey stories and bring out the theme.
The Ancient One’s death scene
One thing that has been become quite clear in the MCU is that the stakes in each adventure never go so far as to kill off any of the beloved characters in the franchise. This became painfully clear when Agent Coulson, thought to be dead in The Avengers was revived and shunted off to “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, however, it seems Kevin Feige and his crew are open to changing that rule. Following an incredible battle with Mads Mikkelsen’s Kaecilius in the New York City multiverse, Tilda Swinton’s The Ancient One falls terrifyingly back into the real world, slamming into the pavement.
She’s rushed to the hospital, and as doctors try best to save her life, the astral projections of The Ancient One and Doctor Strange encounter at a balcony outside the building. What follows, in what is easily one of the best pieces of writing in MCU’s history, is a beautiful sequence in which The Ancient One explains to Doctor Strange why after centuries of life, she’s now deciding to leave her corporal body and move to the next realm.
It’s moving stuff, certainly aided by Swinton’s performance, but a narrative decision finally urges Doctor Strange to accept what he has become, and the gifts and knowledge he has achieved. We can theorize about how The Ancient One might still manage to “survive” and work her way into the MCU through other realms afterward, but her loss is nevertheless affecting.