Just want to make this super clear, THIS IS A SPOILER REVIEW!!! If you haven’t seen Doctor Strange, go check it out, it’s a great movie, and you can read my SPOILER-FREE review right here!
Now, Doctor Strange: there are a LOT of things I love about this movie; after watching it a second time, besides the slightly familiar formula, there’s not much wrong with it. Doctor Strange hits the spot on all fronts, and following the formula even helps it, as it makes it a surefire box office, and at least moderate critical, success. Let’s talk about why…
This movie, above all, is just a lot of fun. Let’s start with the opening sequence. You open to a shot of Kamar-Taj, and the movie wastes no time getting to the (AWESOME) fight between the Ancient One and Kaecilius. Right off the bat, the movie establishes what the next two hours are going to be like, mind-bending, action-packed, fun. The fight also does a great job of showing the villain and his power and conflict with the Ancient One. Also, it carries those amazing special effects in that it uses the Inception-esqué city bending…technique, which we see later as well.
We cut to arrogant neurosurgeon Stephen Strange, and the scenes of him in the hospital show off his arrogance and brilliance simultaneously, which leads up to the visually pleasing car crash sequence. This is one of those times that sound actually matters in a movie. As soon as the Lamborghini hits another car, I still jump a little in my seat as the car topples of the highway at high-speed and crashes.
When Strange arrives in Kamar-Taj, we come across one of the sequence that makes this movie live up to its name. As soon as the Ancient One touches his forehead, we witness what makes this movie live up to its title as Strange travels through multiple kaleidoscopic dimensions, and one particularly entertaining one is the hands sprouting out of hands dimension. For eagle-eyed viewers, you see glimpses of Dormammu, which pays off later in the movie. Strange’s subsequent training sequence/second act is also fun, and boasts some humor as well (Yes, I’m talking about that Beyonce moment with Wong).
After the training sequence, the movie becomes more and more action-packed. The New York Sanctum battle is great, and the Cloak of Levitation proves itself as one of this movie’s best characters. Strange’s action and banter with Kaecilius is entertaining, and when Kaecilius describes the benefits of the Dark Realm, you see Strange (partially) convinced, which just proves Benedict Cumberbatch’s great acting. Then, his fight with one of Kaecilius’s zealots (played by Scott Adkins) is a lot of fun, with their movements affecting small things in the real world.
The New York battle truly shows off the Inception-inspired effects, but it improves…a lot. The fight in the Mirror Realm is REALLY cool, and the Ancient One coming in only improves it.
We then get an amazing, actually touching moment from the Ancient One that truly makes her an amazing character. She had already had some good, even funny moments with Strange earlier, but this one tops all. Tilda Swinton gives her all in this performance, and her chemistry with Cumberbatch is great. Her explaining of what she sees for Strange and how she saw her death earlier is one of the most touching scenes from a Marvel movie, which normally doesn’t happen.
Then, the SPECTACULAR Hong Kong battle. Strange’s use of the Eye of Agamotto is just…really cool, and it utilizes some great special effects. The way they incorporate action into that is even cooler. Watching Strange and Kaecilius fight stuck in time is definitely a lot of fun. Then, the same thing happens with Dormammu in probably my favorite scene. The defeat of Dormammu through a time loop is clever, to say the least, and shows that Strange uses his brains, rather than fighting. Also, it’s pretty funny to see Strange’s smug smile and Dormammu’s frustration at the time loop.
Benedict Cumberbatch, as I said in my spoiler-free review, is great, and his character is both well-developed and entertaining. He has wonderful chemistry with all of the cast members, leading up to some pretty funny parts. Chiwetel Ejiofor is also good as Mordo, as Benedict Wong is with Wong. Rachel McAdams’s character also delivers some fun scenes with Strange both early on and around the middle of the movie.
Overall, Doctor Strange is a truly amazing movie, and one of Marvel’s best, and it delivers on all fronts.