This weekend, millions of people will be entering the turnstiles of cinemas across the country to catch a glimpse of yet another MCU film. And like we always do, me and Ron are here to give you a glowing review of that movie, but before we do, a couple of weeks ago, Ron and I wrote posts on the future of this living comic book film series and Doctor Strange pretty much lived up to those posts. It not only goes out of its way to not explain every little detail of what is going on, but also, outside of a a couple of references in the film and the post credit scene, there isn’t much about the larger MCU that takes away from the plot of this film. You might say that Stephen Strange is (Pause for effect) Just what the Doctor ordered slaps knee.
Doctor Strange is the tale of how egotistical Neurosurgeon Stephen Strange goes from hitting rock-bottom after losing both his career and the use of his hands (also his reason for living) to becoming the second best Sorcerer in the Marvel Universe (sup, Victor). At least, that’s the story of the comics. For the MCU, at least until Fox comes to their senses, he will be THE Sorcerer in town. What I love most about this film is Benedict Cumberbatch. His portrayal of the titular character takes what RDJ did to Tony Stark and does it better. Where Tony Stark is an in-your-face smart-ass, Stephen Strange is a little more subtle. If Tony Stark is Lupe’s Mural where you know you’re listening for the bars, then Strange is Failure, just as deep, but you don’t usually realize what was just said until two bars later.
The film itself is your typical MCU origin story and gives off vibes of Phase 1 (which I like). Hero overcomes tragic circumstance, fights antagonist, discovers his potential and an after credit scene that leads into another movie. It’s cliche, but it works. The star of the film, outside of ol’ Cumberbatch, is the VFX. This film doesn’t quite mind fuck you like Inception but it’s one of the rare films worth seeing in 3D. The villain of the film is ok. Dormammu is little more than a looming shadow with a cameo during the climax but it does set up a better villain down the road, with ally turned adversary, Mordo.
Mordo, outside of being another black MCU cliche (the sidekick to the main character: Rhodey, Falcon, etc) does a great job of grounding the film and being your, as well as Strange’s guide into this mystical new world. His reasons for his defection at the end of the film are definitely not wrong and his set up as the next antagonist should be compelling because of this. Overall, I give the film 7.5/10. It’s good, and gives us the next potential star beyond the original 6.
My 9th Grade History teacher always ended class with an anecdote. Typically, it would tie into what we were discussing and serve as a firsthand account to put the events into historical context. The stories were always very entertaining and left everyone glued to their seats until they were over.
Once, he told us a story about how he and a few college buddies chose to protest [can’t remember the event]. They went to a music festival, somehow ended up kicking it with Jefferson Airplane. A few band members were like “We have plane tickets, we’re moving to Canada. Like right now. Everyone’s invited”.
Long story short, everyone got too damn high. There was a mixture of marijuana, LSD, and other vices to partake in.
This story has no climax or conclusion, but I couldn’t relate to my teacher’s weekend-long drug binge with Jefferson frickin Airplane until I saw this movie. I also saw it in 3D. It felt like I was on shrooms. But I enjoyed every minute.
Doctor Strange is precisely what we predicted it to be but exactly what was needed. This movie isn’t going to change your life but for an hour and fivety-five minutes you get to explore a world that is unknown to you as a Marvel fan. This movie lacks in plot, like most Marvel movies, but this exploration makes it worthwhile.
This is by far the most visually stunning to ever come from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 3D is the ONLY way to see this movie if you haven’t already. I was worried that this movie would be an Inception knock-off but I was delighted to see a few new wrinkles were added in.
I could marvel (ha ha) about the special effects all day but the movie! What about the movie!?
- Ethan Hawk was in the running for Doctor Strange. Thank your heavenly stars that the role ultimately went to Benedict. He can pull off being an asshole like no other.
- I typically hate white washing of Asian roles but there’s really not much to say about Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One. What role can’t she play?
- I know every Marvel movie has to have a love interest. Every blockbuster actually, but Doctor Strange can survive without Christine Palmer
- Re: Christine Palmer. We already have a MCU night nurse, thank you.
- I know Marvel movies must contain jokes. These jokes didn’t stick…
- …but it was funny when Benedict Wong finally laughed at the end
- I thought Kaecilius would be a step in the right direction of solving the villain problem but nah. He wasn’t bad but he wasn’t great either.
In conclusion, Doctor Strange is a pretty good movie. It’s actually pretty high on my Marvel solo movie list already. Even higher when we start talking about origin films. Doc Stephen is just the character needed to come in and shake the universe up. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
My grade is a liiiiiitle bit higher than AJ’s: 8/10.