Doctor Strange Movie Review


Doctor Strange Movie Review
"Is that a stunt double back there? Who cares. I'm leaping with joy!"

"So, Earth has wizards now?"

Movies that are similar to each other come out all of the time. Some are comparable by just their plots, while others seem like the same damn thing but with different actors. Look at films like Armageddon and Deep Impact, Dante's Peak and Volcano, and/or The Illusionist and The Prestige. Maybe it's the season for that type of movie, or maybe one side's not playing fair? Marvel and DC have similarities to each other as well; Deadpool and Deathstroke, Hawkeye and Green Arrow, Quicksilver and The Flash, The Avengers and The Justice League, and many more than that. Now with all of the movies that the two comic super giants are pumping out every year, it was inevitable that some of those films would start to spring a sense of deja vu with one another.

Doctor Strange

Now when I said that Suicide Squad was DC's answer to Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy earlier this year, I meant it. But the actual similarities to each other were more with their off-beat marketing schemes, than with using the same types of characters. What I noticed with the Doctor Strange movie, is that there are more than a few coincidences between itself and 2011's Green Lantern film as well. Hopefully that won't leave a bad taste in your mouth for some Strange, because this is a much better movie than that other one.

It has some imperfections in its storytelling, yet you won't see a green magic racecar track anywhere near this. Marvel Studios is so good at making entertaining fare that precisely balances the scales between humor and believable superhero drama, and Doctor Strange hammers that methodology home once again. Even as an origin tale this far into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (this is film #14), the comfort and confidence of the director (Scott Derrickson, Sinister), filters all way through the actors and the final production, to make this film look and feel like it's belonged here the whole time. For the most part, the visuals are like a kaleidoscope of beauty, and the makeup for the film's villains is hypnotic in the sense, that I found myself staring deeper and deeper into its level of Tron-like detail.

Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) slides into place as Stephen Strange and owns most of the film. The only guy that I see with more confidence in the MCU, is from Robert Downey jr.'s Tony Stark. His "more than friends" friend/fellow doctor played by Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), is a better than average role for the film. She's important to Strange as his only connection to the modern world who helps him out a couple of times, but I can see future versions of her being used as a stagnant love interest filler, similar to Natalie Portman's character in the Thor pictures.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity)as Strange's partner/mentor, is always the passionate actor that I respect, yet his character is a self-righteous narrow-minded prick who's confusing to see, especially since he's in the field of open-minded universal understanding. Strange's only true superior, is from Tilda Swinton's (Constantine 2005) Ancient One. Her poise and calm reactions to everything, are borderline comical when compared to Cumberbatch's emotional outbursts.

Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal the series) is interesting as a villain once again, but it's obvious that his role was held back so that Strange had more screen time to evolve. I'm usually not one for giving shout outs to inanimate objects, however I find it appropriate to acknowledge the Cloak of Levitation. Not since the Spawn movie (1997) and The Incredibles ("No capes!"), has the subject of capes been so entertaining. Strange's CG sidekick steals the show, and takes the ass-kickin place of Hulk and Groot for this film.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Doctor Strange

The Good- Strange puts his hands on the Ancient One, sneaking into the library, the cloak chooses its master, "Clear!", Mikkelsen's full body finger trap, slo-mo lightning discussion, and the bargain repeat time loop.

The Bad- Michael Giacchino's decent score sounds a little too similar at times to his Star Trek (2009) compositions. The character movements during the Inception type action sequences, were a bit stiff during specific parts. The super wizard crash course skills attained in so quick a time, were unnecessary when there could (and should) have been a follow up montage from the past up to present instead.

The Ugly- Here's just another example of how Marvel Studios is ahead of the game when compared to DC Entertainment and Fox's Marvel properties; The interstellar-sized world killer in this film was not a massive fart cloud like with Parallax in Green Lantern and Galactus in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. He was an actual humanoid giant that fit the part much better. It's not hard to do guys.

Final Thoughts

Doctor Strange is fun, funny, and beautiful to look at. Isn't that all you want from a superhero movie? Obviously you need to stay through the end credits for some peeks into the future. Take the family, buy some popcorn, rent a hooker. Oh wait, that's a different kind of strange.
Rating- 8 out of 10

Doctor Strange (2016)
PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy | 4 November 2016 (USA)
A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Director: Scott Derrickson
Writers: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson,
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams