Finally the presence of a multiverse and the inclusion of magic happens in the MCU. Please read this review considering the fact that I happen to have not read many comic books due to the lack of comic book stores in this little town in India and that my knowledge of Dr.Strange is limited to what was shown in the Amazing Spiderman series and the comics that come in the Daily Telegraph. Pardon me if I write something that is inaccurate according to the comics.
I am huge fan of Benedict Cumberbatch and I was very excited when he was included in the MCU. I knew how much he didn’t want to portray a superhero but I am glad he did. He looks the part and acts the part, though I have a few gripes. Not regarding his acting but his characterization. Without further adieu allow me to expand my mind and extract all that I witnessed.
DIRECTION – I have liked Scott Derrickson’s ‘Sinister’ and ‘Deliver us from Evil’. He doesn’t disappoint here either except, and I am sorry, the ending. I’ll get to that later. Considering that this is an origin story in the middle of a long line of movies, whose characters have already been well established, nothing felt rushed. The magic was shown beautifully. Since the time the trailers dropped, many were comparing the visuals to Inception, but it really isn’t. Yes, there is a similarity but the mind-bending, building bending scenarios are just amazing. Calling it the same as Inception is just insulting. The chase sequence is so intricate that I have to see multiple times to fully understand what is going on in the background. The jokes felt a bit out of place sometimes. It’s OK to disagree, it is a personal thing. The ‘mister doctor’ scene was funny in the trailers and I was anticipating it, but then when Kaecilius stabbed the guardian right after that, it was just confusing. Why would you do that? Do you want me to laugh or sympathize? Strange’s character is similar to Stark because he is also arrogant and probably that’s why it was shown that he was cracking so many jokes. I hope in the subsequent movies he gets more serious to match his persona of Sorcerer Supreme.
ACTING – When you get some of the most gifted actors, there could be no complaints about that. Benedict’s Strange is funny, compassionate, witty and a very apt portrayal as far as I am concerned. Many were complaining about the accent, but it is negligible. Rachel McAdams has limited screen-time, but shines through and through. Again, glad Marvel roped her in too. Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, according to me should have got some more interactions with either Strange or the other characters. It is a compliment because I wanted to see more of her. I had read that Mordo is a villain but from the trailers I was a bit confused seeing him in such a good avatar. Then I thought that Chiwetel Ejiofor wouldn’t have come in if Mordo would have been reduced to a side- role. This also serves as an origin story for Mordo and it will be great to see Chiwetel against Benedict. Benedict Wong as Wong is a strong and compelling and even though there wasn’t much of him, you know that he will have a far more stretched out role in the future. Mad Mikkelsen probably strolled through this role as Kaecilius. He had a very one dimensional villainous role and that’s why I think his acting potential was under used.
STORY and SCRIPT – Again, please pardon me if I am being inaccurate. As this is an origin story, I was expecting him to become Sorcerer Supreme by the end of the movie, but was glad that they didn’t go that way. The jokes felt a bit out of place. I know Marvel tends to be funny but I think now they should just let it go. We can handle dark and sad moments. You have trained us well, Marvel Studios. Now, the ending felt kinda REPETITIVE. HAHA! Didn’t see that coming did you? It felt like the ending of Fantastic Four 2 , where a huge monster like thing, which has been built up for the whole movie, doesn’t exactly deliver. I know we are supposed to consider that that movie don’t exist but it did feel like that. It felt like a cheap cop-out. I am just happy that in the future, Strange will be facing off against Mordo and as Mordo’s character has been established, we will be able understand the reason behind his actions.
FINAL VERDICT – My final thoughts are that Marvel has a formula and it looks like it worked again, though I hope in the subsequent movies they could pull back on the jokes. It is very entertaining, action heavy and stunning visuals. Go watch it and enjoy.
Additional thoughts -I am a bit sad that people are still walking out before the post and mid-credit scenes. Haven’t you learnt already? It’s a tradition. It allows you to look at the names behind the magic and also you get to see what’s next. Just, please, sit and watch.