I had missed seeing Doctor Strange in theaters, which happens with films you want to see when you have new babies in the house. What I found interesting was how the general audience reaction was pretty split. Many people thought it was the best Marvel movie in a long time while others said it was the first misfire in a long time. This just made me even more anxious to see the film.
Doctor Stephen Strange is a brilliant neurosurgeon, but also an arrogant jerk. His hands are gravely injured in an accident and he loses the one thing that he thinks defines him. he winds up going on a journey that transforms him, literally.
There was a bit of controversy with regards to the casting decision of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, a character of Asian descent, not Caucasian. Apparently this version of the character is Celtic, which seems odd, but I’m willing to go with it. I would have rather seen a more traditional representation of Stephen Strange’s teacher, but that’s me.
A good chunk of the first half of the film is devoted to Strange’s learning about the mystic arts and his role in the universe. This is a necessary journey we have to take along with the character. What I didn’t find necessary was the humor coming from the title character. In all the various incarnations of Doctor Strange I don’t remember him making quips, but rather he was much more of the straight man.
There is an interesting dynamic about Stephen Strange being a doctor, sworn to do no harm, and the man being confronted with a battle where harm will be necessary. I would have liked more exploration of this, but there wasn’t enough time with the character origin and plot exposition.
Special effects were good, with quite a bit of stuff that is reminiscent of Inception. The different types of magic were distinct which was a nice touch as well. I felt, while watching this, that it truly did represent a world that is familiar yet outside of our own.
The plot? Well, It follows the standard line of hero finding redemption through newly found inner strength and winds up saving the world, perhaps as an afterthought. There isn’t much new brought to the formula, which is a shame. Doctor Strange is, as a film, still enjoyable and help to set up more in the Marvel cinematic universe.
Special features kick off with an audio commentary by Scott Derrickson which was recorded before the film was released in theaters, so that colors how he approaches the topics he covers. It is a good track and worth checking out, covering some of the same points in the featurettes but with a bit more insight.
Featurettes are all artificially chopped into separate 10-15 minute pieces looking at various aspects of the film from costumes, characters, fights, and more. Of course there are the requisite deleted scenes and a gag reel. Then there is a short focusing on Thor, or Team Thor, and finally a look at Marvel Studios phase three and Doctor Strange’s place in it.
I’m really glad I finally got to watch Doctor Strange, but is the kind of film I would have liked to see in 3D.