Doctor Strange Movie Review

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Doctor Strange is the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and might be one of their best yet. Doctor Strange may be the fourteenth film in the MCU, but it has such a solid narrative that anyone can walk into this movie. Doctor Strange opens up the magical aspects of the MCU with world bending effects and a pull no punches attitude as we are thrown into what is just the tip of the iceberg. Benedict Cumberbatch’s embodiment of Doctor Strange being so perfect is no surprise since we’ve seen him in knock-out portrayals of egotistical men and sharing a physical resemblance to the comic incarnation helps. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who are fans of the genres Doctor Strange falls into, and also recommend seeing it in theaters (Not 3D, more on that later).

Doctor Stephen Strange is one of the best neurosurgeons in the world at the beginning of the movie, and after a brutal accident, is left unable to continue his work. He spends what money he has left on every treatment possible to fully recover, until his search brings him places he never imagined This basic setup isn’t very new to the superhero genre, but where we go from here is something we really haven’t seen superhero movies tackle; magic. They explain magic just enough for us to suspend disbelief, and play by their own rules very well. The magic in this universe is very extreme (or paradoxical for any White Wolf fans out there), and could easily cause some regular bystander witness’ to freak out and need years of psychiatric help. Doctor Strange helps alleviate this problem by also introducing us to other dimensions that exist parallel to our own (or their MCU Earth universe), and does so in a pretty neat way that really helps us suspend disbelief by breaking our beliefs with the main characters. It’s very hard to talk about how they introduce this all very well in what could easily be said is an exposition heavy movie without getting into spoilers.

Another thing Doctor Strange is heavy in is effects, and no that is not a bad thing for this movie. Doctor Strange takes us on more than just a hero’s journey as we travel through other dimensions, and a lot of effects really help bring them to life in a way practical effects just simply can’t. The action is breathtaking and beautiful, while keeping you on the edge of your seat, and the climax is done in a really unique way that I really enjoyed. Most superhero movies feel very repetitive by the third act, and just when you think Doctor Strange is going to fall into the same tropes as previous movies, it turns it all on our heads and gives us a really great ending. My only complaint is that we didn’t get to spend more time in this world. One thing I do seriously want to say negative about the effects is how useless the 3D version is. I decided to check it out because of the dimensions we visit and the magic spells, but by the end I felt that 3D really hurt most of the movie. I haven’t been a fan of 3D, and was open to seeing if this would be the movie to change my opinion, but it hasn’t.

The cast is fantastic. I know some people were calling out the movie for whitewashing, even with gender bending the role of the Ancient One. While you may rightfully be upset for Asian actors missing out on that one role, the dramatic reworking of the character Wong from the comic to the screen is Marvel’s apology, and probably part of their plan all along. Wong is a fantastic character, and Benedict Wong really shines in the role. Chiwetel Ejiofor as the guiding hand Mordo who helps Strange find the Ancient One, might be the stand out as he and Stephen start to disagree philosophically. The biggest upset is Marvel’s biggest problem though, a poorly established villain. While Mads Mikkelsen is an excellent actor, he’s completely wasted in this movie. He does a good job of helping us connect to his character with the bits he’s given.

Doctor Strange is a great theater experience, and the possibilities for his character going forward are very exciting. It sits outside the main Marvel narrative of The Avengers, and this helps casual and new fans check it out on its own and not worry about the previous films. With possibly the best cast from Marvel yet, and a very strong script, and great direction from Scott Derrickson, Doctor Strange is Marvel’s newest big hit and definitely a movie worth watching.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
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All-time film fan found ranting and raving about movies whenever and wherever he's allowed. Master of nothing, apprentice to Life. Part-time traveller, full-time animal lover. Can often be found on digital playgrounds. Founder of 28 Frames Later.

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