Dr. Stange Review 

The film revolves around Dr. Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch), an arrogant and successful surgeon who gets into a car accident that renders both his hands unusable. Desperately trying to find a way to heal himself after traditional medicine fails, he turns to a mysterious enclave headed by a sorcerer named “the Ancient One” (Swinton). He trains there, however, he quickly learns that the Ancient One and other sorcerers are at battle with dark forces bent on destroying reality.

Without a doubt the biggest positive in this film was the visuals. As one could tell from the trailers, they seemed very Inception-esque, and having seen the film I can say that it’s basically that times a hundred. The visual effects in Doctor Strange were some of the best I have ever seen and they aren’t just there for show; it’s as if they are a character of their own. It’s an absolute testament to how well this movie was directed. For Derrickson to have been able to visualize all these beautiful, colorful, and weird elements and navigate them perfectly and in a creative manner is a phenomenal feat for a director. I would go so far as to say this is one of the best directed movies of the MCU (however not best overall).

This is a movie where the quips are really strong but is overall more dramatic than most Marvel movies (unlike Captain America: Civil War, which tended to rely a lot more on its quips until its third act). Although confined to the MCU, the film was still able to feel fresh and new at times, and it’s mystical and horror imagery was fascinating to experience.

Cumberbatch, unsurprisingly, excels as Strange and his American accent was perfect. He played the brash, arrogant side of Strange very well and he brought a lot of gravitas to such a weird movie. The comparisons to Tony Stark are understandable, but I’d argue that Strange is actually far more unlikeable (at first) than Stark was in the first Iron Man, which in turn makes his development from an egotistical jerk into an understanding and unselfish hero all the more resonant.

All the actors did a superior job and I have to give props to how they handled Baron Mordo (Ejiofor) and his arc throughout the film. My one gripe with the actors was unfortunately Mads Mikkelsen. He is a tremendous talent and a guy born to play villains. He does a lot with what he is given in this movie but I just wish they could have developed his character a bit more. But, average to lackluster villains is a recurring problem in the MCU save a few characters like Loki.

However, the standout performance was Swinton as the Ancient One. I know a lot of people were angered by her casting since the Ancient One is a Tibetan character (yet nobody mentions how they changed the gender of the character; or how they changed the race of Mordo’s character to African American). Though I’m not here to offer my opinion on the reasoning behind her casting, I’m glad she was cast because she almost stole the movie. Swinton brought a lot of nuance and wit to her scenes with Cumberbatch and as the film progresses we find that she’s a character in a morally gray area and that was a very interesting direction that they went with in the movie.

One other negative I had was Michael Giacchino’s score. I’m a massive Giacchino fan and for those who don’t know, he’s an Oscar winning composer known for films such as Ratatouille, Lost, and the latest Star Trek films (and loves to collaborate with J.J. Abrams). His score was adequate and fit the movie well, but wasn’t all that memorable. Moreover, the main theme was almost exactly like this new Star Trek theme.

Overall, Doctor Strange was an excellent film and great foray into another realm of the MCU. It’s an origin story that actually manages to feel new and different (despite being the fourteenth film in the entire franchise), and has a wonderfully clever third act. If you’re tired of senseless destruction, cannon fodder characters, and a blue beam shooting up into the sky, then that itself is a solid reason to go see this movie. It still suffers from some other formulaic tropes of the MCU but its visuals and strong performances pull it through to a nine out of ten.