Doctor Strange: The aesthetic concept behind the newest member of the Marvel franchise

Marvel’s latest production, Doctor Strange, has been making a lot of success, both public and critical. The film, based on the comic book character originally created by the legendary Stan Lee in partnership with Steve Ditko, tells the story of Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), an incredibly talented neurosurgeon who loses control of his hands after a tragic car accident . In search of a cure, he eventually discovers Kamar-Taj, a mystical center filled with masters who use magic to fight against evil forces that can destroy our reality. Strange ends up opening his mind to a universe replete with millennial knowledge, acquiring magical powers and fighting against forces of destruction.

Just as the movie itself says, it’s the magical version of The Avengers franchise. However, Doctor Strange brings interesting innovations. The first of these is the widespread use of fractal aesthetics. Fractais are geometric figures that can be divided into smaller pieces that are very similar to the original figure. They can be divided infinitely. Many productions, such as The Great Lebowski of the Cohen brothers, use fractals in the aesthetics of the dream.

Fractals can be found in nature, as in snow crystals, but they are also part of dreams, since it takes an organic mechanism that restructures traumas and stressful moments. That kind of dream that repeats itself constantly, often being a dream within a dream, is part of this search for a structured world in which one can live peacefully. However, in Doctor Strange is the first time that fractals are used as a weapon in a generalized way. For example, the character of the Elder (Tilda Swinton) uses fractals in the first scene to confuse the enemy. These fractals are used with the change of perspective, inspired not only by Christopher Nolan’s productions, as The Origin, but mainly by paintings by M.C. Escher.

However, what makes the use of fractals successful in Doctor Strange – not only aesthetically, but also in the plot of the film – is the connection with a person with a physical disability. Heroes that resemble Greek gods (Batman or Superman), teenage heroes (Spider-man), devious and ugly heroes (Deadpool or certain X-men characters), or wheelchair heroes (as in the case of Professor Xavier, leader of the X-Men). On the other hand, this is the first time that one explores – albeit indirectly – the traumas of the mind of a disabled person, whose reality has been destroyed and reconstructed through this aesthetics of fractals. A visual manifestation that serves as a metaphor for the new course that a person with a disability needs to find in order to give new reason to life.

Using fractals and perspective changes as a weapon, history shows the hero and the public the powerful force that must be taken to make sense of unplanned changes. Although many critics believe that the mystical villain of the movie leaves something to be desired, the villain within the hero himself, who must fight against a world view destroyed by the car accident, gives life to Doctor Strange.

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