The superhero machine of creation, that is (now) Disney/Marvel, has something magical for us this time around, Doctor Strange (2016). This one makes the 14th Marvel flick to come out. However, this isn’t the first time Doctor Strange has been seen. There was a made for tv movie back in 1978 that was shown in a two-hour block. The movie was created to be a pilot for a possible series but was never picked up. Dr. Strange has also popped up in the cartoon world, like Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981), The Incredible Hulk (1996) and he even has his own anime movie called Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme (2007).
Doctor Strange is an action/adventure/fantasy film that has a run time of a hundred and fifteen minutes. It was directed by Scott Derrickson and written by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, and C. Robert Cargill. The character Doctor Strange was created by Steve Ditko. It’s rated PG-13 for violence.
What’s the story about? It’s about a man named Doctor Stephen Strange who is a talented (and egotistical) neurosurgeon. Unfortunately, after a horrific car accident, Stephen loses the use of his hands. Leaving no stone unturned, Stephen begins looking into every way possible to heal his hands and get him back in the operating room doing what he does best. Stephen’s search will show him things he never knew existed and introduce him to a more mystical way of life.
I liked the story, but it wasn’t really anything great as far as storylines go. It’s a basic intro and gives enough to move the story along. The humor was good, but there’s a few jokes that I thought were forced into a scene and some that lasted longer than they should have. I’m not saying the flick wasn’t funny, but I wound up laughing more at the situations of the characters than the jokes they were telling. Unfortunately, this one falls under the intro problem some films, like Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), have. It takes a few to build the character and due to training etc. you see a lot of cool things, but you don’t feel like anything has been accomplished. Then ruh roe(!), the villain pops up and the hero has to “hopefully” defeat them before the credits roll. The upside to this problem is (usually) the sequel can charge forward right out of the gate, like Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), and give a great showing from beginning to end. Here’s hoping for a stronger Strange sequel! Upside, even though the story is kind of light, I thought they did a killer job bringing in little nods and highlights from the Doctor Strange (comic) world.
The playthrough starts off a bit slow while setting the stage for what the main character has to eventually deal with, but once things take off the pace stays at an entertaining speed. One of the problems I had with it was I couldn’t put a time stamp on how long everything took or when it was happening. What I mean is, was this film going on during the Captain America: Civil War movie… or after? Now, none of that affects the viewing of the film, (sadly) I’m just a geek that likes to put things together and giggle at the micro links in the chain of Marvel entertainment. All said and done, this isn’t my favorite Marvel flick, but I still really liked it. The story was ok, but this one wins more points for the special effects more than anything else. The fights scenes looked great especially the big one towards the end of the movie.
Some of the cast is Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek: Into Darkness), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity), Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer), Benedict Wong (The Martian), Rachel McAdams (The Notebook) and Mads Mikkelsen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). Now, the cast was filled with some great talent and I thought Cumberbatch did a really good job bringing Dr. Strange to life. I thought they could have made a bit more of a push to show Strange’s egotistical side because here Strange come off more of a strong-minded jerk rather than the egocentric character Strange is known for. Unfortunately, I didn’t think much of McAdams character. Part of that was due to the fact that she was a side character that didn’t get a lot of scene time and the other was she didn’t really grab my attention when she was on screen. Ejiofor and Swinton were great additions to the cast line up and brought some great star power to the film. Now, some people were upset when they heard who Swinton was playing in the film. Swinton’s role was not only a gender swap but they also changed the charters ethnicity. This only affects some of more hardcore comic fans, but as a moviegoer, it doesn’t affect a thing. Matter of fact I thought Swinton did a great job in the film. Mikkelsen usually makes for a good bad guy, but here he was evil… and flat. Now, I don’t know if it was the way the character was written that held him back or if Mikkelsen just wasn’t feeling the character. If it was a written that way think it may be because they wanted a low keyed bad guy to make sure Mikkelsen didn’t outshine the other villain. If that’s the case, it worked.
The special effects were mind-blowingly awesome! Some of the scenes reminded me of something you’d see in a 60’s acid trip movie. Luma Pictures and Industrial Light & Magic created some great scenes with the visual they brought to the table. I seriously dug how they made his cape look and move so smoothly. This movie definitely ups the ante as far as effects go and I’m looking forward to seeing more “Strange” things in the future.
Sidenote: I’m not sure how often we will see Doctor Strange pop up in the other Marvel movies, but Cumberbatch has said that he’s signed on for at least one more Doctor Strange solo film. Awesome!
Overall, the story was average, but the effects alone make it worth watching.