“Doctor Strange,” one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year for both comic book fans and casual moviegoers, has just recently come to theaters and now everyone is asking the same thing: Is it any good?
Having seen the movie, I of course have my fair share of opinions ready to go and as a movie fan and comic book reader, there is plenty to be said about this film.
I will be breaking my review into two separates sides so that they don’t overlap.
One side is from the perspective of being a comic fan and the other being a movie fan. I’ll start with my comic fan review.
Now, going into a superhero movie being a fan of the original stories comes with somewhat of a preconceived idea, or at least an eye out for particular details.
These details include whether or not the story is accurate to the comics, whether the characters are done justice and various other points of accuracy.
The back story of “Doctor Strange” was fairly accurate to the source material, though there were some issues that I had as a comic fan.
However, Marvel Studios has something of an issue in terms of writing accurately from the source materials, so this was to be expected.
On the other hand, something that Marvel Studios does incredibly well is casting and keeping the character’s actions and dialogue accurate to the characters in the comic.
“Doctor Strange” was no different.
Benedict Cumberbatch was the best possible choice for the role. It was as if he was born for it.
Some people have already complained about Strange being an arrogant individual in the movie and that not being very “superhero-y,” but that is exactly who the character is in the comics.
Every single character was perfectly portrayed except for two not–so–minor ones, Dormammu and Baron Mordo.
For those unfamiliar with the comics, Dormammu is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe who is in complete domination of his realm (time, space, etc.) and the fact that he couldn’t stop Strange from reverting time is not something that would ever happen in the comics and therefore irks my inner fanboy.
Dormammu is not an idiot nor is he weak by any stretch of the imagination, but he was tricked so easily in the movie to the point where he was practically a joke.
Baron Mordo is also an adversary of Doctor Strange in the comics and therefore shouldn’t have been anywhere near to being an ally.
As a comic fan, this movie was great and I’d give it a 8-9/10.
Moving on, as a movie fan there are some different opinions that need to be shared.
Marvel Studios as a production team forces a lot of their movies to suffer from the same issues repeatedly.
One of these is very bland and repetitive cinematography.
It’s very basic and it’s very safe filming and there really is nothing wrong with that other than it gets kind of boring and straining for the mind of critics.
However, “Doctor Strange” does not suffer from this.
There was a heavy variety of shots collected that helped the overall look and experience of the film.
Another thing that Marvel films suffer from, and this time “Doctor Strange” does fall to this, is villain development.
Marvel has access to these amazing characters with literally decades of content and they generally use none of it.
Marvel Studios focuses so much on the heroes of the story that the villains all come out half–done and boring or just plain awful (looking at you, “Iron Man 3”)
Villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have become cookie cutter and unmemorable to the point where movie fans and comic fans can’t care for them.
Caecilius and Dormammu, though there was plenty of potential, hardly had any development or background established for themselves in the movie.
And when the run–time is 115 minutes, sure it may not be able to be done well, but Marvel’s attempts at doing it make it all the more pathetic.
Also, for most of “Doctor Strange,” the movie suffered from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” complex, where people know that the protagonist is fighting the person right in front of him but the real threat is looming close by, leaving that initial threat small and weak in comparison, taking even more away from the villains.
There are ways to fix the villains. One is an actual issue for “Doctor Strange,” the pacing.
Like I stated before, the run time for this movie was 115 minutes, which is just under two hours.
That is an issue. When introducing a whole new character to a previously established universe, a lot needs to be explained.
Doing that in less than two hours and also advancing the overall plot and creating a connection to the characters is not an easy thing to do well. “Doctor Strange” tried to do all this and suffered for it.
The love interest was hardly interesting and the tragic character back story wasn’t very heart wrenching.
The final battle was pathetic all because creating an air of pathos for these characters so quickly doesn’t work so nobody really cares.
And it’s not like Marvel doesn’t do two–plus–hour movies because they do and those are arguably the best they’ve done so far (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Avengers” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”).
The movies shorter than two hours are often the worst ones as well (“Thor,” “Ant-Man” and “The Incredible Hulk”).
On the other hand, the cast and their performances were top notch.
They are arguably the best cast in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the best portrayal of any hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The visual effects were also amazing. I was kind of worried that it would seem too much like “Inception,” but it was very unique and incredibly rendered.
This played a huge part in the fight scenes and the overall feel of the movie. It was incredibly immersive and fast paced and perhaps some of the best I’ve seen come from Marvel Studios yet.
The story and the messages conveyed, particularly from Tilda Swinton’s “The Ancient One,” were wonderful.
This proves that the Marvel Cinematic Universe can take itself seriously and still create quality and well liked movies.
Overall, this was a decent movie for the serious movie goer.
There was definitely a fair share of issues all around, but it was an overall solid and faithful rendition of “Doctor Strange.”