Review — Dr. Strange

Being the newest release I’ve recently been introduced to, I’m going to try something new here and review Dr. Strange without spoiling it. Typically I don’t have to worry because I’ll review books or movies fifty (or more) years old, but I’ll have to make an exception here.

Simply put, I would say Dr. Strange is one of the best movies Marvel has released yet. As always, it has its issues, but there is so much that makes this movie awesome. And the best part? It’s a movie that stands apart from the rest of the MCU, so it won’t matter if you haven’t seen any of the other movies. With how many sequels are coming out these days (in the Marvel universe specifically), it’s a nice refresher to see entirely new characters this time.

I love everything Benedict Cumberbatch has done. I’d say the weakest role I’ve seen him in was in a newer Star Trek movie, but even that wasn’t bad. That said, this was a weird experience, because his accent is a little off-putting. I did get used to it as the movie went on, but for the first ten minutes his voice simply didn’t sound right. His character is very well done, though. I admittedly know little to nothing about Dr. Strange as he appears in the comics, but I liked what Benedict did with it in the movie.

This movie is also, without a doubt, the most heavily intensive special effects movie I have ever seen. My brother made a good (and accurate) point when he said that some parts of the movie were like they took the movie Inception and put it through a kaleidoscope. It ties a bit into a point I’ll elaborate on that it can make the movie difficult to follow, but as I’m well aware, there are parts that aren’t supposed to make sense to the audience. Also, seeing people fight with magic is awesome. The way magic is expressed in the movie is similar in some respects to how some styles of magic work in my own universe, so it’s interesting to see how it adapts to film.

Dr. Strange is full of awesome moments, great lines, and epic scenes. Pretty much every moment I wanted to see happen did (except for one that I can’t mention because spoilers), and while the plot is very predictable (it follows the Hero’s Journey very closely), it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment.

There are two (three) problems I had with the movie, though. The biggest one is that it can be hard to tell what’s going on. You never get any real idea on how much time is passing between any two scenes, which is a bit frustrating but not a huge deal. That also ties into what magic is happening. Now, the whole point with the magic is that its supposed to be difficult to follow (only masters of these arts can even comprehend), but it’s kind of evil to make me want to watch the movie a second time just so I can follow along more easily. It’s tough to tell the difference between the astral dimension, the mirror dimension, and the time dimension (is that a thing?) and I’m never fully clear on what rules apply where.

My last point (and this is really grasping for straws here, but I think the point is valid), this movie is too “easy”. There’s never any question as to what a character is going to do next because the only person that is dynamic is Strange, and because its his story you still know what he’s going to do. Perhaps the movie never tries to make you second guess your predictions because its too hard to follow to make any solid predictions. Maybe I’m just writing sentences that sound thought provoking and are completely wrong, but there could have been more character interactions that add more dynamic rather than everyone always having the same exact relationship to each other throughout the movie.

Overall, great movie. His accent is weird, but you get used to it. Also the magic is really hard to follow, but the plot is stable enough for you not to have to understand what’s going on. Go watch it.

 

3 thoughts on “Review — Dr. Strange

  1. I’m trying to think of why Dr. Strange is one of the best Marvel movies to date. What makes this movie better than.. say… Avengers 2? I’m not sure. Some of what I loved most about Avengers 2 was the character development – Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch turning into the heroes they needed to be, but most definitely did not start out as. Hawkeye just being awesome and my favorite in general despite being one of the least powerful people present.

    Dr. Strange had some of that too. Dr. Strange starts off being an insanely selfish jerk of a human being, and has character growth. He’s shown to be both awesome and technically not very powerful at all, so there’s a similarity there too (but that one I’m stretching).

    I’m just not quite sure *why* Dr. Strange feels like the superior movie to the rest. I enjoyed every single one of them, and find myself quoting the lot from time to time on a relatively frequent basis. “Meyur-mer!”

    Also I’ve only seen the Sanctum Sanctorum a mere handful of times. But it would seem that place is very rigid and well defined in Marvel comics, as I immediately recognized the foyer in the movie, and was very pleased.

    I feel like I just wrote all this to write something. I don’t really feel like I got any sort of point across.

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    1. I could probably justify why I liked it more than every movie given necessity for it. I liked it more than Ironman because I didn’t buy the antagonist’s character very much. Avengers 2 didn’t feel like much was at stake. Sure a lot of people died and Ultron is super strong, but it’s always hard for me to believe half a dozen demi god people will struggle to destroy a few hundred robots

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      1. I counter the Ultron bit saying that Dr. Strange might have been the same in that regard. Nothing ever made me think the bad guys were more powerful than the strongest good ones.

        I think a better approach is to perhaps look at movies that didn’t work as well, rather than “in my opinion this good movie was better than this movie I also liked.”

        Pointing out the messy plot and poor direction of Batman Vs. Superman is great. You can see by comparison that the narrative of Dr. Strange is cohesive. The characters and their motivations believable (for a super hero movie).

        One thing I just thought of that might be a big contributor: my previous history with the franchise/characters.

        With something like Batman, I’m already invested into who the character is and what I think he should be. With something like Ant-Man or Guardians of the Galaxy… well… I really have no prior history there. It’s way easier to make a good impression on me with those movies. And I loved both of them.

        I suspect that when I finally get around to watching Suicide Squad, the deciding factor of if I like the movie or not is going to be completely dependent on if I like Harley Quinn (and to a lesser extent, the Joker, but I think he’s at best a bit part, unfortunately – that’s already points off, Suicide Squad!) I’ve got very little connection with most of the lineup.

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