Doctor Strange is a Marvel movie. You know it’s going to be good. So the question is how good is it? Especially seeing as it takes such a bizarre shift in focus from the movies Marvel Studios has put out so far. I can tell you that Doctor Strange does not disappoint in the slightest and excels everywhere it needs to.
(Do you believe in magic?)
The plot for the movie is actually fairly standard and follows the template that most other Marvel movies seem to follow. We get the main lead’s origin story, supporting characters are introduced, a big name villain is brought in but not one that’s too much of a threat then we get the big climax and tease the next few dozen movies. It’s not to the movie’s detriment that it follows this template or really many of the Marvel movies since each of these movies brings its own unique spin to the story. Ant-Man was a heist movie, Captain America: Winter Soldier was a political thriller, Guardians of the Galaxy was an 80’s disco space war. Doctor Strange however is an absolute spectacle of twisted reality and special effects.
Everybody who worked on the special effects of this movie need to be given some serious credit as the shifting dimensions and constantly changing visuals. The entire sequence where Strange is catapulted through so many different dimensions is disorienting, beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. It really is worth the ticket price alone to see these moments where the world fails to follow its own logic and turns into a kaleidoscopic dream world.
(Inception rip off? Bitch please)
The extreme CGI also allows for some amazingly creative action scenes which admittedly are sometimes hard to follow in the beginning but it becomes much better as the movie progresses as you get used to the insanity. You can tell how much fun the choreographers had with this movie from the sheer creativeness of the scenes, with one of my favourites being the fight taking place entirely in the astral plane.
This movie also teaches another lesson that I’m finding crops up more and more in various media these days, humility. However to discuss that in any detail I’d have to spoil the movie and that’s not something I want to do here. So I’ll cover all of that in another post.
Benedict Cumberbatch is also pretty much perfect for the role of the titular doctor bringing believable emotion, charm and wit. However it does at times feel like he’s a bit of a different flavour of Tony Stark, not helped by the fact that his apartment before going on his pilgrimage already looks like a superhero lair.
The writing is again what you’d come to expect from a Marvel movie. The dialogue is human and believable as well as some clever wordplay thrown in that’s bound to get a couple of chuckles from the audience. But there’s also a lot of exposition that isn’t integrated that smoothly into the plot since magic of this variety is an entirely new concept to the MCU. Sure we had the Asgardians and Scarlet Witch, but those didn’t really count in my eyes since the Asgardians are literal gods and Scarlet Witch was portrayed as a mutant in everything but name.
There are a few holes in the story here and there, one of which I think might just be the movie setting up conflict for the next movie where Strange makes an appearance despite placing much importance on that character’s strength of will despite him doing pretty much nothing in the final climax. There were also a few other inconsistencies and pointless twists that don’t really detract from the movie over all but they are noticeable and distracting, like yet another plot-centric artefact turning out to be an Infinity Stone. It’s almost like they grow on trees at this point.
Overall, Doctor Strange might be one of my favourite Marvel movies to date. Maybe not my absolute favourite but it’s definitely up there. The movie makes me want to learn more about the good doctor and that’s a good sign for me. I can’t wait to see him turn up later down the line.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be pretending I have Doctor Strange magic for the next few weeks. I’ll be back with more plot next time!