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Movie Review: Doctor Strange

Updated on November 5, 2016
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General Synopsis

Dr. Stephen Strange is a brilliant but arrogant surgeon. His incredible success has left him selfish and conceited. When a terrible car crash nearly takes his life, doctors are able to save him but his hands suffer permanent nerve damage. This means Stephen Strange will never be able to perform another surgery. Since Stephen Strange believes he is nothing without his hands, he searches the world for methods to restore them. He finds The Ancient One who introduces him to new dimensions and new realms through mystical ability. As Doctor Strange tries to learn everything he can about mystical arts, he finds himself face-to-face with mystical threats that aim to destroy Earth.

Official Trailer

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The Pros

  • Visual Effects - As is no surprise, the visual effects for Doctor Strange were like nothing I've seen. The closest thing that it can be compared to is Inception, but this movie takes it many steps further. With crazy fight scenes amidst cities folding in on themselves, traveling across space and time, and seeing other dimensions. I can safely guarantee that you've never seen anything like this either. The craziest part is that it felt like a Marvel movie, while also setting itself apart from the rest of them. I am very, very interested to see how Doctor Strange interacts with other heroes and villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Dr. Strange & The Ancient One - The Ancient One was such an unexpectedly powerful character. As powerful as some other characters are, the movie does a great job of showing just how powerful she is while maintaining the mystery of the character. In many exchanges between Strange and The Ancient One, she steals the show with some great comments and responses. Doctor Strange, was portrayed in a way that I found to be oddly similar to Tony Stark in the sense that both were successful, brilliant in their fields, and arrogant. Much like Tony Stark in the first Iron Man movie Doctor Strange hits rock bottom and finds an appreciation for life as he begins his redemption story.
  • The Execution - This movie could have gone wrong in so many ways and is arguably Marvel's biggest risk yet. While it wasn't perfect, I think Marvel did a fantastic job with Doctor Strange. The pace did not feel slow while explaining mystical concepts or while showing Stephen Strange learning and practicing his skill. The audience is introduced to everything along with Doctor Strange so when mystical concepts were overwhelming to me, they were also overwhelming to Strange so it felt natural. Lastly, I loved that the love interest in this movie was not a focal point. I was relieved when the love interest in Doctor Strange did not feel forced and it is most likely something that will form gradually over future movies.
  • Mordo & Wong - These two side characters were some of my favorite parts of the movie. Wong, and his banter with Strange, provided most of the humor and I think that Wong will end up being a fan favorite. Mordo plays a more significant role and is an important compliment to Doctor Strange. Chiwetel Ejiofor was phenomenal in the role and provided extra depth to a lot of scenes. I'm left very interested in his back story, how he came to find The Ancient One and why. Both of these characters form intriguing relationships with Doctor Strange and I had a lot of fun watching them on screen.

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The Cons

  • Kaecilius - As is an unfortunate trend in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the villain in Doctor Strange could have been way more developed. I thought they did a much better job with him than they have done with some other villains (such as Ronin and Malekith), but I would have liked to see more. Much like Mordo, I would have like to see what drove Kaecilius to seek The Ancient One and also what drove him to "go bad". The movie very briefly and very vaguely addresses these questions but if Marvel wanted a more compelling villain they should have shown more of his backstory. Again, they did a bit better with him than they have with some other villains in the past, but Marvel still has a long way to go as far as providing interesting villains. I am really hoping they figure it out before Infinity War.
  • Potentially Overwhelming - One of my biggest concerns going into this movie was the potentially overwhelming level of visual effects and dimensional travel. The opening sequence is a little overwhelming but overall I think it's necessary as it introduces the craziness that will be shown in the next couple of hours. Another potentially overwhelming scene comes later when Doctor Strange introduced to the mystical arts. I thought it was fine because it was meant to overwhelm the character of Stephen Strange and we are experiencing everything from his perspective so we should be overwhelmed as well. Regardless, this scene is somewhat of a hallucinogenic trip and may be an issue for some viewers. My advice is to those people is to just sit through it, the movie gets a lot better.
  • Second Credit Scene - There are two credit scenes in Doctor Strange, the first is after the cinematic credits. It is not a long wait and it is a fun scene between Doctor Strange and a surprise guest. The second credit scene is at the very end of the scrolling credits. This scene is not hugely important, but it is a significant scene for the plot of the movie. Honestly, I would have included this before the credits began and not had a second credit scene at all. It pretty much sets up a major plot for a future Doctor Strange. It won't be a hugely satisfying scene for some people, but I think that is due to the wait as opposed to the scene itself. I really liked the scene what it implies will happen down the road. So you decide if you want to stick around for it.

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Rating: A-

Doctor Strange is a fun and bizarre new addition to the Marvel Universe. With amazing digital effects and crazy mystical powers, the movie feels fresh compared to other superhero movies. However I think the character will fit well with The Avengers and I am excited to see how characters (such as Iron Man, Captain America, Ant-Man and others) react to these mystical realms. The movie has humor, and tells a satisfying redemption story with effects that surpass Inception. It has a couple of minor issues but they are just that, minor. I definitely recommend checking this movie out on the big screen.

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