It’s my generic understanding that as far as the cinematic world goes, Marvel has the upper hand as far as quality goes. On the other hand, when it comes to the animated films, DC seems to have the better cartoon films. I’ve seen quite a few Marvel-based cartoon films, and none of them have really ever impressed me. After seeing the 2016 MCU version of Doctor Strange, I thought I’d check out the cartoon movie that came out just before the Marvel Cinematic Universe came into being. So let’s get into it.
Dr. Stephen Strange embarks on a wondrous journey to the heights of a Tibetan mountain, where he seeks healing at the feet of the mysterious Ancient One. But before his wounds can mend, Strange must first let go of his painful past and awaken a gift granted to very few. The gift of magic. Empowered as the new Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange now tests his limits, rising up against monsters that push at the gates, facing the most terrifying entity humankind has ever known. Written by Marvel Entertainment (IMDb)
I watched this film interested in how much the MCU decided to keep and how much, perhaps, they focused on furthering the Cinematic Universe with. After watching this movie, I can say with certainty that I see obvious differences as well as really, really similar scenes, particularly in the beginning of the movie. I’m talking very small things like a nearly identical car crash with an eerily similar shot of his hands getting crushed, about him attempting to write his name or shave his scraggly face with a razor, but is unable due to his hands. Things like that are nearly identical, even lines he says are pretty much on par with what we saw this year. The rest of the most comes down to more of an idea than actual scenes.
The villain is still the same, the mystical side of things was more or less the same, but this movie wanted to focus primarily on the mystical monster fighting side of things. What you won’t see is astral projection or the mirror realm, or twisting and contorting the world Inception style. You basically don’t see inside of any dimensions; they walk through portals, but that’s about it. In that case, I am beginning to see that a big part of what I loved about the MCU version is the characters and visuals, because they were indeed stunning in every sense of the word. I also believed the MCU did a better job telling you why it’s so important that he heals his shaky hands. MCU also had better comedy, as this was all drama. Finally, MCU had a better general grasp on how a typical audience would accept a mystical world like this – including the astral projection, flying through space, time-bending and the like. As I mentioned above, this movie focuses heavily on fighting mystical monsters, and that’s about it. I believe in doing so, it keeps its fan base that it already had, but doesn’t do the best job in creating any more fans.
Doctor Strange is an awesomely strange character that’s best seen in the 2016 film with Benedict Cumberbatch than with this cartoon flick. Yes, both have the same origin story and general idea of a mystical realm, but the MCU tells a better story with better-constructed characters that a wide audience will absolutely love. If I could say anything, it would be that this cartoon is more of a companion film than anything. Check it out!