The Film (4/5)
Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is one of the world's foremost neurosurgeons, he is also one of the cockiest. One night while speeding out of New York City in his sports car, and analyzing potential surgeries to do next, he gets into a car wreck that will destroy his hands, and take his skills away from him. After spending significant time and money on surgeries to regain his talents Strange hits rock bottom, when he receives a package from a physical therapist detailing a patient who did recover successfully. After tracking down this man, he finds out that he recovered at a temple in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Strange goes to Nepal expecting to be treated by medical science, but finds himself in the presence of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who teaches him a multi-dimensional spiritual path that he is at first reluctant to take, as it has nothing to do with the science that he has invested so much of his life in. Strange becomes part of a team of mystics fighting a war against a renegade former student of the Ancient One Kaecilius.
Doctor Strange has to be the weirdest of all the Marvel Films to date, while still unfortunately adhering to the structure of the superhero origin story. Stephen Strange as a character is a arrogant figure from the first time we meet him, and it is quite obvious that the narrative is going to bring him down quite a few notches. The movie then spends the first hour plus, first breaking Strange, and then turning him into the mystical warrior Doctor Strange before setting him off on a war against the renegade mystics that feels all too short.
That being said the film has some of the finest and wildest imagery in the Marvel Studios cannon of films. The scene where the Ancient One knocks Strange through the various dimensions upon his initial arrival in Kathmandu is worth the price of admission alone. The performances from Cumberbatch and Swinton are marvelous, and Cumberbatch plays Doctor Strange pitch perfect. The Ancient One's much like the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 had its origin changed, which is sure to annoy fans, but Swinton does solid work with the characterization.
Marvel/Disney presents Doctor Strange in a 2:39:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer preserving the film's OAR. The Blu-ray looks and sounds spectacular. Detail is excellent, colors pop, and black levels are inky and deep.
Audio chores are handled by a DTS-HD MA 7.1 track in English. The track is quite serviceable with dialogue and score coming through nicely. I did not detect any issues.
Disney/Marvel have put together a solid extras package including a commentary by Scott Derrickson, and multiple featurettes covering most facets of the production from costuming to production and beyond. We also get a piece on Strange's place in the overall MCU. There are deleted and extended scenes and a gag reel as well.
Doctor Strange is a lot of fun, and quite weird visually for such a mainstream film. The Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic, and has a nice slate of extras. RECOMMENDED.