Benjamin Wollmuth is a lover of literature who enjoys sharing his thoughts on everything from movies and video games to books and music.
It's Time to Get Trippy
Hey, folks. I'm back again with another film review in continuation of my Infinity Saga chronological rewatch series, this time with Doctor Strange. While we don't have an exact time frame for when this film takes place, we do know that Strange's journey starts in 2016 (possibly early 2016) and ends either late 2016 or early 2017. Whatever the case may be, it takes place before Thor: Ragnarok, and that's all that matters.
As strange as it may seem (ha, see what I did there?), Doctor Strange is one of two Marvel films that I have not rewatched since I saw them in theatres. The other one is Ant-Man and the Wasp, but that film seems less drastic because it's only been out for two years. Heck, it's been nearly 4 years since I last saw Doctor Strange, and I honestly don't know why I haven't, because I find the film quite enjoyable. Plus, I've owned the Blu-ray copy since late 2017, and I usually rewatch most of the films I buy. Nonetheless, this film is a strange case indeed (okay, I will stop with the strange puns).
As I said before, I really do enjoy this film. It has some mind-boggling special effects, some really great casting (mostly Benedict Cumberbatch), and some awesome fight coordinating. Marvel has always been good at making each of their superhero films feel unique, which I personally believe is why the superhero genre has stayed alive and strong for so long. This film definitely stands out with its trippy visuals and dimension hopping. While this mystical film may not be the best in the MCU, it still has a lot to offer... though I do have some gripes.
As I mentioned in the intro, Marvel continued their streak of great casting with this film. Not only does Cumberbatch play the part well, but he also looks the part in a perfect way. Just like Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Cumberbatch was, dare I say, a perfect choice.
In terms of the character himself, at times he can feel like a Tony Stark rip-off––an arrogant, narcissistic asshole who happens to sport a very fine goatee. However, unlike Stark, Strange has a hard time accepting his role as a hero. This is what makes him different. Until the end of the film, Strange is a reluctant hero who the audience gets to see grow. He is a man who lacks patience and wants to rush time, but in the end, he uses time to save the world. Now that is some pretty good character growth.
Doctor Strange is host to two main big bads, but Kaecilius is the one we get to see most often. Even with that being the case, he still lacks character development, and I don't really care about him that much. That really sucks to say because Mads Mikkelsen is such a great actor. Kaecilius is just so one dimensional. We don't get to see his journey to becoming evil––we are just told he became evil. Sure, we are told his motivation in an unnecessarily long expositional scene, but it just seemed so forced.
Dormammu does not get much better. Again, we are told he is a destroyer of worlds, but that is really all we get. We see his big head, and then he vows to leave Earth alone. Will he come back? Well, I kind of doubt it. I could see him being a huge threat in future MCU films, but I have a feeling Feige will want to use someone like Galactus instead. Maybe I'm wrong. If I am, I hope that Dormammu will be given proper character development when that time comes.
Needless to say, the villains of this film should have been way better.
Lastly, I want to talk about the visuals, which I believe are what hold this film up after its one-dimensional villains brought it down so low. If the visuals weren't so stupefyingly outstanding, this film would be insanely generic. However, because Marvel likes to make each of their films feel somewhat unique, Doctor Strange manages to be a mind trip that I never would have expected to see. I never thought that I would want to see New York City collapse in on itself, or tiny hands grow out of larger hands. The mind-boggling effects aid the surprisingly entertaining fights, making this film stand out among the rest (until the fight on Titan in Infinity War). While these effects may be weird to some, I find them super cool, and they show how expansive the MCU can be. I am hoping that Multiverse of Madness continues with using such insane visuals.
The Verdict: 8/10
Look, if this film did not include such whacky visuals and fight coordination, it would feel pretty generic, mainly because of how flat the villains are. However, because Marvel Studios was not afraid to dive into the weird corners of the MCU, this film definitely stands out. Sadly, the film still sits pretty low on my ranked list (which you will see soon), just because of how bland it feels when the mystic arts are not being used. Basically, the visuals are what really hold this film up for me, as well as Benedict Cumberbatch's performance. Don't get me wrong: the film is still entertaining. I just think it could have been better, especially if the villains had been given proper character development.
I'm going to give Doctor Strange an 8/10.
I have found that I can be pretty biased when it comes to Marvel movies, so I am glad I was able to be a bit more critical with this one. With that being said, next on my watchlist is Thor: Ragnarok, and I already know that review is gonna be full of positives.
Check out my previous MCU review!
- 'Black Panther' - Infinity Saga Chronological Reviews
This a review of Marvel's "Black Panther" that contains spoilers for the film and the MCU as a whole.
© 2020 Benjamin Wollmuth