Review: Doctor Strange

Series: Marvel Cinematic Universe: #14

Series: MCU Phase 3: #2

Wong: While heroes like the Avengers protect the world from physical dangers, we sorcerers safeguard it against more mystical threats.

Man, that is a visually stunning movie. The first battle with building magically twisting all over (a la Inception), the glowing magic rings, the magical doodads. I am ever thankful that superhero movies have gotten popular enough that studios will spend the big bucks on special effects. They really do look great.

Especially when they go full on Cyriak…

Anyways. Plotwise, Doctor Strange makes as much sense as any other superhero origin story. Strange is already among (if not the) best surgeons in the world. He’s arrogant (although he has some reason) until he’s struck by his own hubris–and a car crash. Modern medicine can’t help him, so he turns to more mystical arts. Of course, in the MCU, this totally works, one thing leads to another, and he leans instead to be the best sorcerer in the world, eventually fighting the ‘best bad guy with the same powers’ that we’ve seen.

It’s not the strongest plot in the world, but it’s at least serviceable.

Castingwise, I love Benedict Cumberbatch. He just has such presence. Rachel McAdams shows up in a time travel movie again (it’s amusing that’s her typecast…) and is somewhat underused. She could much more. Mads Mikkelsen … is absolutely wonderful. He makes a great villain.

Kaecilius: How long have you been at Kamar-Taj, Mister…

Dr. Stephen Strange: Doctor!

Kaecilius: Mr. Doctor?

Dr. Stephen Strange: It’s Strange.

Kaecilius: Maybe. Who am I to judge?

Tilda Swinton does powerful androgynous being well (as she did in Constantine; is that another typecast?). Chiwetel Ejiofor has such a distinct voice that I can’t really forget him in Serenity. He’s still a lot of a fun. As is Benedict Wong as … Wong. I hadn’t noticed that before.

Overall, the MCU casting does it again.

Dr. Stephen Strange: I’m not ready.

The Ancient One: No one ever is. We don’t get to choose our time.

[takes his hand]

The Ancient One: Death is what gives life meaning. To know your days are numbered. Your time is short. You’d think after all this time, I’d be ready. But look at me. Stretching one moment out into a thousand… just so that I can watch the snow.

Quite a movie. Well worth the watch.