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Review: Dr. Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in Marvel's DR. STRANGE

It’s perfectly safe for you to assume that this review of Dr. Strange won’t focus the least bit on the film’s antagonist. It’s Marvel after all, so expecting any depth on any villain they’ve had outside of Loki would be foolish as of this point in time. At the moment, what would also seem to be foolish would be a terrible movie from these guys. They have a formula that’s clearly worked multiple times, but I guess having a movie focus on magic could present a few new issues for them.

In this movie, the world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has his life drastically altered by a devastating accident and a journey that leads him to seek help in unconventional ways. The unlikely place that he lands introduces him to a mysterious world full of possibilities pertaining to the mind and all of its powers. These unbelievable findings bring everything he ever thought into question while also seemingly carrying him into a new existence that will change his life forever.

To get to the action in Dr. Strange, you are going to have to wait for a decent amount of time. Even though the movie is shorter than the usual comic book movie these days, this turns out to be stretched out a bit. With this being an origin story, we’re introduced to the character and we eventually have to sit through his training sessions as well. These scenes are fine, but we’re used to them and it shows that the movie doesn’t have a great deal to offer.

One issue here is that all of the CGI and Inception like movements bothered me more than they entertained me at times. These features are being used to showcase the magic that’s taking place in this world, but it just looks jumbled in most cases and there’s nothing beautiful about it. That’s clearly not what they were going for, but that’s unfortunately what we get far too often. When those features aren’t used to carry significant amounts of the action, what we get is actually not too bad to watch.

From a technical standpoint, the film itself is another in a long list of Marvel’s cinematic ventures that’s well done for the most part. While dealing in the world of sorcery and magic this time out, this Marvel picture still follows a familiar formula to a certain degree. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on if you’re tired of seeing this type of story being made. Either way, it’s handled with care and managed in a way that minimizes the risk of failure.

There’s almost no point in talking about the acting that’s seen in Dr. Strange. It was expected to be good and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s also a predictable level of humor here that may also work for many of the people who plan on watching this. Then again, I’m thinking that maybe the humor is also an expected aspect of films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe that doesn’t need to be brought up since it’s a part of everything they put on the big screen.

One of the other positives about Dr. Strange is that these characters haven’t really been connected to the entire universe yet. Because of this, we’re able to get a rare standalone feature film that doesn’t really include any recognizable characters outside of one of the two end credit scenes. Now, that will obviously go away very, very soon, but at least in this case you can marvel (pun intended) at a movie where there isn’t a need for a huge number of familiar faces and connectivity.

Though not without its flaws, Dr. Strange turns out to be another solid addition to the Marvel library that’s able to fit comfortably with everything else they’ve had to offer so far. I don’t know if this is a good thing long term, but that will depend on how audiences continue to react to it. As of right now, there are enough people going to the theaters to see this stuff, so we shouldn’t worry about it going stale in the eyes of the general public in the immediate future.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Scott Derrickson

Benedict Cumberbatch
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Rachel McAdams
Benedict Wong
Michael Stuhlbarg
Benjamin Bratt
Scott Adkins
Mads Mikkelsen
Tilda Swinton

Film Length: 115 minutes

Release Date: November 4, 2016

Distributor: Marvel

  • Score - 7/10
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