Movie Review: Doctor Strange

Details: About an hour an fifteen minutes long. Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelson and Rachel McAdams.

The feeling I had after watching this movie was… disappointment. What a waste of an opportunity. I walked into this movie expecting something along the lines of Antman; I was expecting a modernized, original twist on the old Doctor Strange origin story. I was expecting an introduction to the mystic arts. What I got was a retelling of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man movie, except with magic. This is an entertaining movie, I just wasn’t surprised or wowed to the level I was in Ant-Man. There is just very little original ideas in this movie that haven’t been done in other films, and what is done just doesn’t deliver.

The premise is this: Doctor Stephen Strange is a brilliant, arrogant neurosurgeon that gets into a car accident and destroys the nerves in his hands, ending his career as a surgeon. Strange starts looking for a cure for his ailment and in his search, he meets the Ancient One, a powerful sorcerer. The Ancient one teaches Strange magic and Strange takes on the responsibility of protecting the Earth from mystical threats.

There’s a lot about this movie that I didn’t like, so we may as well start with the acting. This isn’t Cumberbatch’s best performance, but he is adequate. I will say that I quickly forgot about his English accent after a few minutes into the film. Mads Mikkelson and Rachel McAdams are underused and just a waste of good talent. Chiwetel Ejiofor has a surprisingly involved role, which is great considering the caliber of actor he is. The acting is still pretty unimpressive here despite all these big names.

The writing is disappointing. As I wrote earlier, this is just an attempt at retelling the old Doctor Strange origin with no twist or modernization. Ant-Man was a heist movie mixed into a superhero movie. Captain America: Winter Soldier was a political-spy thriller mixed into a superhero movie. You’d think Marvel would recognize these successes and try something new with the tone and style of this film. Unfortunately, they don’t. They have the same jokey, jolly, not serious style from Iron Man, Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy, which really doesn’t support this subject matter. Some of the jokes in this film are so bad they just kind of ruin the moment and make the film look like that dorky kid in class who tries too hard to be funny, who can’t read the mood. I think Doctor Strange could have been an incredible supernatural or horror film, something along the lines of Constantine. Unfortunately, what we get is a movie tonally similar to Iron Man, but with magic.

What I did like about this movie were the visuals. There is some really trippy imagery going on. Unfortunately, a corny, unsatisfactory story made it hard for me to immerse myself into this movie.

Score: 5.8/10 Okay movie. Not great. Had high expectations and was disappointed. Felt very derivative to the other Marvel movies and increased my superhero movie fatigue. You can tell there were a lot of good ideas here, the execution just wasn’t exemplary.

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