Quick Review: “Dr. Strange”

Absolutely awesome movie. The best Marvel origin movie since “Iron Man” except arguably “Guardians of the Galaxy”, which feels like the redheaded step child of the MCU anyway.

I saw it in IMAX 3D, and the special effects were INCREDIBLE, probably the greatest of all time. I mean better than even the reviews made them look. Just ridiculously amazing.

The dialogue was a little forced at times (the humor fell somewhat flat, with some exceptions), but as far as ideas and plot and philosophy it was fantastic bordering on brilliant. The differences between Strange, Mordo, and Kaecilius, and how Strange’s natural skepticism is what made him the only one ready to take on the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme, are worth a whole article by themselves (possibly one I’ll write one day).

The biggest flaw of the film, besides the occasionally sketchy dialogue (though, to be clear, overall it was perfectly fine), was actually the character of Strange. Not Cumberbatch’s performance, mind you, which was terrific, but the writing. Not at any point in the movie was I convinced that Strange was anything less than an arrogant jerk. Tony Stark’s Iron Man – the character Strange was most similar too – was played with more charm and sincerity than Strange; when he had his dramatic change of heart, I believed it.

Strange honestly didn’t really get an opportunity to prove that he had redeemed himself. Yes, he saved the world but as Star Lord pointed out in “Guardians of the Galaxy”, he’s one of the idiots who lives on it. And he didn’t have Stark’s charm; he was a jerk from start to finish. Again, this isn’t Cumberbatch’s fault; it’s just how the character was written. And honestly his performance was great enough in itself that it hardly mattered anyway.

This film was amazing for a whole bunch of reasons and gets my highest recommendation, especially if you get the opportunity to see it in IMAX. Now THAT’S an experience.

  • Fredösphere

    Saw it with my son on Saturday. Truly, if there ever were a movie to be seen in Imax 3D, this is the one.

    I tend to agree with your reaction. I’d also add my disappointment with the handling of the movie’s spirituality. This is an extremely difficult topic to write, but I just couldn’t help thinking “these guys don’t know what they’re talking about.” It almost lapsed into a silly rehash of Star Wars “don’t give in to the Dark Side” talk. The most embarrassing moment was when the script required the Ancient One to utter the banal words, “it’s not about you.”

    It also suffered–inevitably, and I don’t know how you get around this–from the Karate Kid montage problem.

    • Anthony M

      While Karate Kid is a good example, I’m not so sure “Rocky” or “Dr. Strange” are. Rocky was already a boxer; pushing himself into overdrive to become even better before a big match is something that basically all athletes do.

      And “Dr. Strange” is a genius with a photographic memory, and he’s not really an expert by the end of the film; Tilda Swinton flat-out tells him that Mordo is actually more powerful than him, and the trick he used to bargain with Dormamu was stated earlier in the film to be an easy mistake for beginners to make. It wasn’t an advanced technique, just a clever way to utilize it, and one Mordo wouldn’t have considered because it involved manipulating time, which can only be done by messing with the natural order.

      I did find it a little weird that they never actually said how much time had passed; even when Kaecilius asked Strange stayed silent. But whatever.