Strange Days Indeed: Marvel's Doctor Strange Released to Blu-ray

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Own Doctor Strange, now on Blu-ray

Remember when Robert Downey Jr. was cast to play Tony Stark in IRON MAN, and everyone said how he was perfect for the role?

I wonder if the big screen will ever be big enough to fit Downey's Tony Stark and Benedict Cumberbatch's Stephen Strange at the same time--because the British actor who gave us a new SHERLOCK is absolutely spot-on as the egotistical Dr. Strange!

Out today on Blu-ray and DVD is Marvel Entertainment's DOCTOR STRANGE, directed by Scott Derrickson, and co-starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo, Rachel McAdams as Strange's estranged (no pun intended) girlfriend, Benedict Wong as Wong, and Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One. The film wastes no time showing us the character flaws as well as the innate genius of surgeon savant Dr. Stephen Strange before diving right into the accident that ruins his hands and sends him on a quest for the medical miracle to repair them.

A man of science, reason, and sarcasm (think of him as Marvel's HOUSE M.D.), Strange nonetheless cannot refute the evidence of his own eyes when he sees a former patient with inoperable spinal injuries not only walking but playing pickup basketball. This sends him on a quest to Kamar-Taj, in Katmandu, where he initially scoffs at what is offered, only to have the mystic arts presented to him in undeniable terms. Eager to be taught, Strange devours the texts but struggles with the practical applications until he learns to surrender his ego.

Strange's goal is to recover the use of his hands, but he soon finds himself on the front lines of a battle of mystics, as one of The Ancient One's former students, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), and his acolytes put into play a forbidden spell that will give Earth and everyone on it to the dreaded Dormammu, a powerful being from another dimension. As Strange finds himself almost accidentally becoming the caretaker of the Sanctum Sanctorum in Greenwich Village and adopted by the cloak of levitation, he begins to surpass his peers, including his friend and ally Mordo. When the key to defeating Kaecilius involves violating one of the sacred tenets of the teachings of Kamar-Taj, it sets the stage for friends to become enemies, which means we may (very hopefully) be seeing DOCTOR STRANGE sequels in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The backdrop to Doctor Strange's world in the comics, as envisioned by co-creator Steve Ditko, is a wild, psychedelic place that, just a few years ago, would have been thought absolutely unfilmable, tied perhaps with Jack Kirby's Fourth World in terms of physics-defying landscapes. And while it can only be done with computer imaging, the technology is now at the point where we can see it and accept it, at least in terms of a film where the reality is expected to be absolutely unreal. Strange's journey into Dormammu's dark dimension is a scene you can watch over and over again (not counting the fact that you actually do watch it over and over again, but that's a plot spoiler to discuss further). While it's still put into the context of 'magic,' the film's angle remains that what seems mystical is just science not yet explained, much the way that Asgard is not an afterlife but another dimensional plane of existence.

The Blu-ray comes with a nice arrangement of bonus videos (not to mention a great MCU interaction mid-credits scene with Chris Hemsworth, since we're speaking of Asgard). These take you inside the painstaking process of developing a new and exciting facet of the MCU, and still making it integrate into what has come before and what will follow hence. For a taste of the bonus feature goodness, check out the video below, CASTING BENEDICT:

Superhero humor blended with just the right amount of comic relief makes DOCTOR STRANGE another winner for Marvel. Own it today!

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0