The Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t really delved into magic before, but if you don’t start dealing with magic in your 14th movie then when do you?! And man do they explore some magic in Doctor Strange!
Strange is an arrogant surgeon who suffers a car crash only to see his hands crippled and beyond repair. He travels across the world to try and find a fix for his predicament but instead finds an ancient monastery and learns to become a sorcerer instead. Of course. And if that sounds a bit like ‘Iron Man‘ but with magic, that’s because it basically is. I mean, it isn’t exactly the same, but an arrogant rich guy with interesting facial hair learning his lesson by becoming a superhero and defeating a mad man is kind of similar. That’s not to say it isn’t good though.
The visuals alone are impressive and interesting enough to warrant some attention. Some of it is truly wacky. When Strange is first introduced to magic and alternate realities he goes on a mind bending acid trip through fluorescent coloured space and there is a particularly vertigo inducing scene involving New York folding in on itself that looks great. But what would visuals be without good characters? Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a solid performance as Stephen Strange, delivering the arrogance and the rage but also the regret and the determination. My only wish is that he’d just used his normal British accent instead of his weird, nowhere American accent. Tilda Swinton is decent as the Ancient One, but she’s a bit bland at times. Rachel McAdams gets very little to do but is great when she does do something. Her chemistry with Strange is very effective. If only there were more of it. Benedict Wong is good as, well, Wong, having some of the funny moments of the film to shine.
Perhaps one of the most interesting characters is Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo. His devotion to the Ancient One and his relationship with Strange is developed more than others and makes him a very important character moving forward. He is not the villain that he is in the comic books though. The villain of this film is Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius, an evil sorcerer trying to do world ending magic stuff that he really shouldn’t be doing. He’s not bad as a character. He’s well acted and his motives make sense, he’s just still not a very noteworthy Marvel villain. He seems threatening enough though and serves the story so, I guess he gets a pass.
Doctor Strange is a good film. It’s yet another hit from Marvel Studios it just doesn’t really break from the formula enough to make it an amazing film. It is very good, but not great. Mystical, but not magical. I very much enjoy the character though and look forward to seeing him more in the future.
JACK’S SCORE: 3/5