Except for a brief mention of the Infinity Stones, this film pretty much stands as a separate story and isn’t mired in the Marvel Universe. This is an origin tale, but with Benedict Cumberbatch, it’s more about the character than the comic book. The film feels as if it’s not simply the glib and at times desperate for laughs stylized pieces like the “Guardians’ movies appear to be. Dr. Strange is a darker and somewhat more studied hero. Perhaps because at times, the style is reminiscent of Christian Bale’s portrayal in “Batman Begins”. Cumberbatch is more in league with this version than the other Marvel-ians, as the character travels to the Far East to study the mystical teachings of the Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton.
Cumberbatch is excellent in the part, with humor that is much more subtle and in keeping with his Sherlock persona. The script manages to keep the action sequences intact, providing an enjoyably escapist adventure throughout the length of the film. A stand-alone story is preferable, as this is, to one where you must be in the loop regarding all the lore of the universe of heroes now populating the culture. The tone and range of this movie set it apart as a worthy entry in the annals of the comic genre film fare.