Doctor Strange Reviewed
Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brain surgeon, an extremely skilled brain surgeon. But he's also kind of a jerk--turning down some patients because there's no glory in their cases, and not accepting others because he risks being unsuccessful. While looking over one case, Dr. Strange is involved in a terrible car accident. He lives, but his hands are now useless, or enough so that he's unable to perform surgery. He blows through his entire fortune trying to repair his hands until finally he takes a trip to Nepal to see an ancient sorcerer rumored to be able to heal paralysis. But really this monastery teaches people the ways of the dark arts in order to defend Earth from mystical threats.
I usually don't say this because I know IMAX movies are expensive, but if you are going to see Doctor Strange it is worth trying to see this movie in IMAX 3D. Doctor Strange takes everything we saw in Inception and turns it up to eleven. But the movie also takes a dip into the psychedelic, especially when we are first introduced to other-dimensional travel. Those of you into the mind-altering narcotics, I would suggest you bring a buddy to this movie because the visuals can be intense.
Benedict Cumberbatch, who I have loved in every one of his performances, doesn't quite nail it here. In the course of the movie Dr. Stephen Strange has to transition from an egotistical surgeon to mystical savior of the Earth. Cumberbatch is very convincing as a jerk at the beginning of the movie and also does well as the confident, strong hero at the end. But while transitioning into that hero his performance becomes a bit middling. Something is off and that may explain why the second act of the movie seems so uneven. Everything that took place during the training montages happened a little too conveniently and quickly to be totally believable. And yes, I understand you can't actually turn back time so none of this is believable, but a higher standard has been set for Marvel movies.
A note to all the fans of the Marvel universe--there are two end credit scenes, one after the initial animated credits and a second one at the very end, so make sure you stick around.
Any minor problems I have with the story, the character development, or the fact that it’s another origin story are made up for tenfold by the amazing visuals of this movie. Now having gone through the character’s origin I feel he will be a welcomed addition to the Marvel universe in films to come. Doctor Strange stands up on its own and can be enjoyed by newbies and the Marvel faithful alike. B