Film Review: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is finally out and here are my thoughts:

Plot: Guy likes watches and cars then doesn’t

Doctor Strange is the story of Stephen Strange (as superhero names go he’s started out well) who’s basically a dick that’s a world-leading surgeon. He then gets into a car crash and his fingers are messed up so he has to get Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor to help him sort himself out but might it be that he learns a lesson along the way? Now THAT would be a twist.

The first thing you want to talk about once you’ve seen Doctor Strange is the visual effects. James King said that it has the visual effects Oscar in the bag and frankly if the team don’t win literally EVERY effects award for the next year then someone has clearly had a breakdown. The visuals here draw from both Inception and Guardians of the Galaxy but I think they manage to trump both. There is one section that essentially challenges the audience to not be amazed including a hand-based effect that’s somewhere near Nightmare on Elm Street in levels of creepy. All I could think during this whole segment was ‘THIS. IS. AWESOME.’ as pretty much everyone who’s a fan of these type of films likely will be too. That doesn’t take away from the rest of the action though.

Plot-wise it’s pretty good although a bit Marvel standard. So at the start of the film Strange is one limp away from being Gregory House but that all changes pretty quickly as the story progresses. Cumberbatch gives a pretty solid performance the whole way through and Wong, Ejiofor and Swinton all manage to be pretty excellent too. I’d argue Mads Mikkelsen is near-enough great in everything but as the reasonably forgettable villain at some points I did feel like he wasn’t really given much in the way of exciting dialogue to work with. That’s classic Marvel though who haven’t had a proper villain since Loki, unless you count Hydra which is more a conglomerate than a bad guy.

The comedy is as good as always in Marvel with one-liners flying all over the place, the Cumberbatch/Wong exchanges being the highlight in terms of this area of the film. The fight scenes as well are up to classic Marvel standard and the costumes are just as gaudy and over the top as you would want.

Sadly the classic superhero pitfall of underwritten female characters lets the film down as Rachel McAdams falls into Marvel’s poor writing trap for love interests that has also been the downfall of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster and Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter. Hopefully this’ll be remedied at some point but it’s really getting a bit tiresome now having the same totally devoid of personality females in each film. Tilda Swinton does make up for this a bit as a strong female character but one character shouldn’t need to make up for another’s misgivings.

I would just like to make a note here that while writing this I suddenly figured out he likes watches cause of the time stuff. This was a real revelation for me.

Obviously a big part of any Marvel film is the mid and post credits scene, just so you know this bit is gonna have

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

So Thor turns up and not gonna lie I did get a cool Marvel crossover jolt when I saw him sitting there and if it turns out Strange does turn up in Ragnarok I am going to about double my current excitement levels. Also I think a Loki / Strange interaction would be film gold.

The post credits scene is very cool as well with Chiwetel Ejiofor going all bad guy which you have to assume is setting him up as a villain in one of the cornucopia of superhero films that Marvel has planned for the next thirtyteen phases.

Also, infinity stones, they’re kicking about, and the roster of characters that’ll be expected in Infinity War has become more a list of every actor in modern Hollywood than a cast.

Overall, very enjoyable, a few standard Marvel problems but still loved it.

Rating: 8/10

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