Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Doctor Strange (2016)


I’ll admit, I’ve lost track of all the Marvel movies lately. But the concept of Doctor Strange sounded like a good one. It goes into an angle of mysticism you don’t see explored in too many big budget movies. I heard the fantastic score by Michael Giacchino. Oh and let’s face it, my wife is a big fan of Benedict Cumberbatch, so we were going to see this movie no matter what.


Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an egotistical but very skilled surgeon. When he ends up in a car accident he loses all steadiness in his hands. Feeling like his life is pretty much over unless he can heal his digits, Strange embarks on a journey to Nepal where he meets The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who says she can help him, help himself.

Little does Strange know that his keen mind allows him to access and adapt to the mystical secrets of the universe – becoming a true master of magic. Just n time too, because Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) is looking to use a key relic to unleash hell on earth. Now it is up to Doctor Strange to use his newfound powers, magic cape and quick wits to save the world.

Good Points:
  • Some very impressive visual effects that really help develop the key concepts
  • Creates an intriguing world and conflict at the heart of the film
  • Solid acting by the entire cast

Bad Points:
  • The character arc for Doctor Strange is overly familiar – see Iron Man
  • You’ve got Mads Mikkelsen – why aren’t you using him better?
  • Fans of Inception may cry foul at some of the visual effects


Like most of the Marvel movies this one is a lot of fun. Visually it is stunning with some of the best visual effects I’ve seen in a long time. The film also creates a very strong concept of magic and mysticism and uses it to flesh out an interesting conflict among the characters. Sad to say the story arc for Doctor Strange himself is a well traveled one. Cumberbatch’s charisma and acting keep it interesting. But then you have Mikkelsen, a very strong actor, who is given a very flat antagonist role. I enjoyed the film, but it felt like it had the potential to be something a bit better.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals:  5
Sound: 4
Acting:  4
Script:  3
Music: 4
Direction: 3
Entertainment: 3
Total:  3

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.

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  1. Not having been a fan of the character back in the high tide of my comic book reading, I had low personal expectations for the movie regardless of the general critical reviews. I enjoyed the film, and my surprise at that perhaps makes my assessment more generous than it otherwise might be. Could it have benefited from a bit of script doctoring? Yes, I suppose so, but it’s not bad as it stands.

    Marvel does seem to have the better knack. DC turns out the occasional very good flick (eg The Dark Night and Wonder Woman) but it’s an anomaly when it happens. Marvel’s misfires are anomalous.

    1. I agree. Marvel seems to have a good set of writers on their side. They adapt the stories and characters from the comic books to fit the cinematic medium very well. I have yet to see a truly bad flick out of the MCU.

      Warner and DC need to allow the writers and directors to do their job and craft good stories. it really sounds like studio interference is what is causing a lot of those films to flail around so poorly. Nolan had pretty strong creative control on his Batman films and it sounds like "Wonder Woman" enjoyed the same treatment.

    2. Did ya like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
      and Spider-Man: Homecoming?

    3. I haven't had a chance to see them yet. Both are on my two watch list. I might even review Guardians, since I did review the first one. I heard good things about both, so I'm looking forward to watching them. What did you think of them?