I’ve come to bargain.
I can’t believe that Doctor Strange is the fourteenth entry in the fantastic Marvel Cinematic Universe. Doctor Strange expands on this huge universe as we are introduced to magic and other realms. It is also the last comic book movie of the year, what a way to end the comic book movie year! I get why some people talk about superhero movie fatigue but I’m set for another two decades at least of Marvel movies and TV without any sign of fatigue. I won’t even consider talk about a need to slow down the MCU.
Where do I begin? Do I start by talking about the impressive visuals or do I talk about how fantastic Benedict Cumberbatch was as Stephen Strange? There is so much to devour with this film. So let’s begin.
Right in the opening scene, we see how beautiful the visuals are. I usually hate watching movies in 3D but it was a must for this movie. The 3D is incredible in Doctor Strange. Watching the city fold around Strange as he falls like a tiny speck in the middle of the screen was more visually stunning than pretty much anything we’ve seen so far in the MCU. The scene where Strange meets the Ancient One for the first time and he goes on that sick acid trip of different realms and what not. This is the first superhero movie that made you feel like you were on LSD. Composer Michael Giacchino did a fantastic job with the score. In a long time, the score for the MCU was memorable. However it did sound similar to Star Trek’s score.
Just like how Robert Downey Jr. was meant to play Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rodgers/Captain America, and many other actors and actresses in the MCU, I believe Benedict Cumberbatch was born to play the role of Stephen Strange. Beneict perfectly embodied his character with just the right amount of arrogance and charm. His American accent was weird to grasp at first. It might be because I’m used to hearing him with his traditional British accent. Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer is probably the best love interest in the MCU since Pepper Potts. Some of the best scenes in the movie involve her. The relationship between Strange and Palmer felt so organic throughout the film. Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One was surprisingly very good. She was a great mentor for Strange. Her death speech was pretty awesome. I really, really loved the Cloak of Levitation. The Cloak wiping Strange’s tears was a sweet and funny touch. The Cloak had a magic carpet feel to it which I enjoyed. It’s character in its self. The Cloak and Mjolnir are both sentient objects I hope they become bros.
I loved Mordo’s development in this. It was essentially his origin story too. His character was developed extremely well, with clear and logical motivations. By the end of the film, it’s little wonder that he’s disillusioned with magic and sorcerers. Hopefully, his character continues on this trajectory and doesn’t revert back to the traditional one-dimension Marvel villain. I’d completely buy him being the main villain of the sequel. What I think is really great is that he didn’t kill the other sorcerer at the end, and isn’t strictly evil. Like, if he was just going around murdering sorcerers it’d be a big no-brainer, hey, we gotta stop this guy because he’s killing people. But instead he’s just taking their magic, which makes the clash between him and Strange much more of an idealogical/emotional one.
I actually think Kaecilius was a great villain. You basically get his backstory with Strange going through nearly the exact same thing. It was just their own personal ways of thinking that led one down the path of villainy and the other towards Heroism. You can see the parallels between Kaecilius and Lucifer, there was a lot of religious vibes in this one. Not every villain needs “depth” to be enjoyable. He had a defined reason for the things he was doing, did almost everything himself and didn’t let minions do it all for him and was evil because that’s how he truly thought would save the world. By far better than most of the other MCU villains in my opinion.You get to see him take plenty of action directly in the film, unlike a lot of the MCU villains. He gets time with Strange to explain his take and it is somewhat understandable. Like the best villains, he believes he is the hero in his story. What me great is that Kaecilius’ speech to Strange caused Strange to “one-up” The Ancient One by exposing her use of dark power. This then caused The Chosen One to almost turn into a villain, but then we hear her explanation and things are back to normal. Or are they? Because Mordo never heard that explanation. He’s dwelling on the betrayal that he felt. This results in the final end credit scene. Mordo’s villainy wouldn’t have been created without Kaecilius.
The final fight was a brilliant inversion of typical super hero movie final battles. In most super hero movies, the city gets destroyed as the villain and hero fight. In this one the city was getting put back together during the final battle. It was also an excellent way of introducing the audience to Dormamu, while still giving him something to do (other sitting on a throne and grinning) without also diminishing him as a threat. They actually made a hilarious comedy bit out of how unbelievably screwed Strange would be in a straight up fight against his arch-nemesis. The end isn’t the stereotypical “knock down drag out” fight between the Hero and the Big Bad that most superhero movies have. It is Stephen Strange using his intellect to outsmart the Big Bad that he knows he can’t beat in a big fight, while all the supporting players stand around waiting for the knock down drag out fight that never comes. Ultimately, I wish Strange had threatened him by annoying him with a pronunciation of penguins.
Overall, I loved it. It was psychedelic, postmodern, exciting, fun, funny and dark all at the same time. Benedict Cumberbatch kills it as Doctor Strange. Also, these effects are worthy of an Oscar. Excellent job by Scott Derrickson and this fantastic cast. I can’t wait to see more with this character later on in this universe.
SuperSam Rating: 10/10.