Doctor Strange is not only the newest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's also the trippiest film to hit theaters in quite some time. Strange and other masters of the mystic arts use their powers to warp reality, which often means they manipulate the world around them in some fantastic ways. The visuals of the film recall two earlier movies that also pushed the boundaries of what could be put on screen: The Matrix and Inception. But just how do the psychedelic visuals of Doctor Strange , The Matrix , and Inception compare?
The quality of the special effects for each movie are different, since they all were released in different time periods. The Matrix arrived in theaters in 1999, and its use of CGI was considered revolutionary at the time. Inception was released in 2010, and with a decade of technology advancements since The Matrix , was able to do even more unique things on camera. Finally, Doctor Strange is obviously arriving in 2016, and is utilizing the latest advancements in CGI technology, as well as innovations in 3D that the other two films lacked. But despite their differences, all three films incorporate some of the same style of imagery — especially when it comes to twisting buildings around.
When a helicopter crashes into a skyscraper in The Matrix, it doesn't simply explode like you would expect it to. Instead, it causes a ripple effect when it hits the building, seemingly turning steel and glass into liquid for a brief moment. It's a short scene, but I have to think it was influential on the way both Inception and Doctor Strange manipulate their scenery.
Inception is of course very well-known for its changing skyline scene, where the landscape literally comes out of the Earth and rests on top of itself. The scene was unlike anything seen before, and it's unlikely Doctor Strange would have looked the way it does without Inception paving the way.
Now for Doctor Strange . The movie has taken the innovations from The Matrix, with its malleable scenery, and combined it with Inception's angular shifts to create something truly spectacular. The film's chase scene through New York City where buildings ripple and streets twist is like The Matrix plus Inception turned up to 11, and will no doubt go on to inspire a whole new generation of filmmakers.
I don't think there's any doubt that Doctor Strange is the most visually impressive of the three films, but it's all relative. Given the advancements in technology, it should be the most visually impressive, just as The Matrix and Inception were the best of their respective eras. But I also think it goes without saying that without the innovations of those two films, Doctor Strange would likely be a very different movie, and their inspiration on the new movie should be acknowledged.
Images: Walt Disney Pictures; Giphy