Movie Review: “Doctor Strange”

Synopsis

A self-indulgent mess of a movie that pretends it has real stakes. Or a point.Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange review, DT2ComicsChat, David Taylor II

The Good

Benedict Cumberbatch. Totally bought him as Doctor Strange. Believed he was the character through and through.

Rachel McAdams. She has now basically learned to play “the Rachel McAdams role” which is the heroine whose love life is doomed. She plays it well here tho, because it seems to be her strength as an actress.

-At least they acknowledged that the Eye of Agamotto was an Infinity Stone, as we saw in Thor.Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange review, DT2ComicsChat, David Taylor II

The Meh

-The…primary villain? Secondary? Mads Mikkelson is always good, but his character Kaecilius here seems like a foil. Or a trope. This is the same mistake they made with Green Lantern, Sinestro, and Parallax. Spending an entire movie trying to convince us that a greater evil is coming. But we have no emotional connection to it when it shows up. Dormammu, who is quite formidable and scary in the comics, is a CGI mess here. A spooky floating head that doesn’t impress.

-Stephen’s powers. He doesn’t earn them. He acquires them too fast as the movie spends a lot of time talking about “years of practice.” Then the movie spends a lot of lines talking about everything the magic wielders are not supposed to do. Then Stephen does it, undermining its own plot weight. Lame. And he just takes the Eye of Agamotto and begins to use it like they are old friends.Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange review, DT2ComicsChat, David Taylor II

The Ugly

-Unoriginal. Yeah, it’s Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme. But he’s still a bigger jerk than I expected. Also. Inception on steroids. I know the movie wanted to believe that it was breaking new ground like The Matrix did with its special effects. But it didn’t. It relied too heavily on visuals that got old by the third time that we saw them.

-The Sorcerer Supreme. They need to throw that title out. They clearly don’t get the meaning of the word “supreme.” The bill comes due alright.

-A Fish named Tilda. Nothing about Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One works. I mean absolutely nothing. She absolutely fails to have presence or weight. She’s a manipulative liar on levels deeper than Obi-Wan or Yoda. I hate the way she looks as the character. And I talk about race bending right here.Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange review, DT2ComicsChat, David Taylor II

-Humor. This movie was not funny or clever. It kept trying to be. But Strange’s snarkiness is just annoying. The Cloak of Levitation? Again, somebody thought that making it have a personality would be a good idea. It wasn’t. And Wong finally cracking up at the end? Decidedly not funny.

-Groundhog Day in the Twilight Zone. That timeloop ending solution was just really stupid. And Dormammu shouldn’t have been fooled by it. And again. The newbie addition to Club Magic seems to be able to effortlessly wield all the greatest spells. No thanks.

-Post credits. Absolutely no way Strange is already on par to “protect this dimension” and interact with Thor. Didn’t earn that level of anything. Yeah and Mordo’s epiphany would have potential….if we actually cared about it.Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange review, DT2ComicsChat, David Taylor II

Conclusions

Pretty much a wasted effort here. There’s no plot throughline. The setup for Stephen’s accident and struggle is well done. But then who’s the villain? Who can we trust? What are the stakes? Oh sorry the Ancient One’s dead. What? Mordo loses faith. Dormammu, the Dark One that is ancient and feared is beaten by a Bill Murray movie. Just no on this one all the way around.

Don’t care if Doctor Strange returns or not.Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange review, DT2ComicsChat, David Taylor II

 

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