Doctor Strange

strangeMarvel did it again.  They took another obscure supporting character, built a movie around him, and made me eager to see his next appearance in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.  This time, that obscure character was Doctor Strange, Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme.

Anyone who’s read Marvel comics even sporadically knows who Doctor Strange is, because every so often he’d randomly pop up in your favourite hero’s comic to provide assistance or a few words of wisdom or encouragement.  As you may already know, my favourite hero was (and is) Spider-Man, and every ten issues or so I could count on Doctor Strange appearing through a portal, sticking around for 10-12 panels to move the story along, and then exiting as quickly as he entered.

strange-2But in this movie, because Doctor Strange is the star, we get to follow him through those portals and see what happens next from his perspective.  And it’s a hell of a ride.  Naturally, I could have done without the origin story but fortunately it’s injected with a welcome dose of humour that makes it speed by.  It helps that the opening scene features a battle that will leave the viewer wanting more and provides purpose and urgency to Strange’s magical training.

The special effects are spectacular and the visuals are glorious in IMAX 3D, just as last month’s sneak peek led me to believe.  It’s probably also tolerable in regular 3D or god forbid, stupid boring flat 2D, but I’ll never know, at least not until the movie comes to Netflix and I half-watch it while folding laundry.

The icing on the cake is that Marvel has assembled some first rate on-screen talent to supplement those trippy visuals, led by the Doctor himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, who is perfectly cast and does his usual baritone voice/good acting thing featuring a solid American accent.  If only I could do a British accent half as well (preferably cockney but I’m really not picky). Taking in a few more episodes of Sherlock can only help, right?

Add some Canadian flavour in Rachel McAdams, doing her regular accent as far as I know (honestly, if we don’t say “about” can you even tell we’re not American?), and a few more Brits in Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tilda Swinton (also both doing American accents even though their characters are worldly people currently living in Nepal), and by my count you’ve got one Oscar winner and three other Oscar nominees, whose talents really help sell silly comic words like Agamotto and Dormammu.  We’ve come a long way since the Stallone-Schneider superteam in Judge Dredd!

Doctor Strange is pure comic book joy.  It’s a welcome November blockbuster that will keep you entertained from start to finish.  I give it a score of nine spiritual goatees out of ten.

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25 thoughts on “Doctor Strange

    1. Sean Post author

      I felt any lack of superhero villainy was offset by the massive stakes. Doctor Strange deals in different terms than other heroes and for me the movie got it right.

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. Keith Noakes

        I understand what they were trying to for later on. The stakes weren’t the clearest so it just felt like they were being chased around for no reason. The villain was pretty generic and they didn’t give him enough to do so his plan felt hollow. Anyways, I still liked it but not as much as I expected.

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  1. yourdaughtersbookshelf

    Disclaimer: I love Marvel movies, so am really talking out of my ass here. I’ll still see the movie. But I do find it odd that Strange travels to the Far East for enlightenment and is tutored by a white woman. I worship at the feet of Tilda Swinton, but please don’t tell me there wasn’t one Asian actor that could have played the part? (Is it Nepal he travels to – sorry, I’m a bit braindead this am.). I find Marvel’s casting a bit akin to Tim Burton’s – in this film, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Sean Post author

      It’s a valid point. This seems like a no-win situation for Marvel because the Ancient One in the comics is a dated stereotype. So casting a woman was a good move but a white woman wasn’t a perfect solution. In my view Marvel’s well ahead of Burton though.

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
      1. yourdaughtersbookshelf

        Yes, I realized after I posted that the Tim Burton comparision was a bit extreme. It just bothered me – you would think that with the all the talk of “white washing” in Hollywood, they would be a bit more sensitive about their casting.

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  2. Jason

    It was definitely a “strange” movie, but in a good way. Cumberbatch and Swinton were excellent in the movie. Overall, I liked it. Not one of my personal favorites, but it was better than some (Iron Man 2 and 3). Good review!

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  3. badblokebob

    I must say, between this and Ant-Man I’ve found myself actually enjoying the recent kinda-familiar origin story Marvel movies more than their big fêted ones. Maybe it’s lower expectations, maybe it’s just like comfort food, I dunno.

    I wasn’t able to see it in 3D though, which makes me sad.

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