DOCTOR STRANGE is an excellent watch, and is yet one of the stable of awesomeness to come from MARVEL Studios - who no doubt at this point in our celluloid lives, has gotten down phat what they do with their superhero feature films, and frankly could do no “wrong” (with “Age of Ultron” being the exception, of course).
I needn’t have to tell you DOCTOR STRANGE is a must watch, especially if you are a comicbook fan, and even as a casual fan, you’d want to get in on this from the ground up - especially if you are an Avengers’ fan - *cough*
NOTE: This review will remain SPOILER-FREE except until *THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOGPOST*- where you will be WARNED before continuing :)
Neural Surgeon "Doctor Steven Strange" starts off as an a**hole, but not necessarily a deplorable a**hole tho, and like all Marvel films, attains redemption at the end, and as well each a**hole trait(s) are treated like a quirk, and end up being an endearing and essential part of the person’s character, and his/her (hero) journey is bookended with said quirk.
This “formula” works for me, and here everyone thought it was Marvel’s humour” only? HAHA
The story of “redemption” is ever strong and hopefully, in Marvel movies, and works as well as this film could afford.
Thinking back objectively tho, I’d felt the “origin” story of Doctor Steven Strange was done pretty snappily and quickly, and even though I’d understood said origins, tis because I’ve read the Marvel comicbooks, but otherwise it felt like a shorthanded summary, IMHO.
But in utter fairness, given the duration of the film, and unlike the longer “hero’s journey” of Tony Stark in his first film, we get to the training sequence quicker, and see Strange don his robes faster(no reason “Why” though, nor the color “blue” :p). Works for me, anyways :)
And while we do see tons of amazing “magics” displayed, we are also treated to a decent barrage of “action” too - physical action; punches, kicks, and loads of stabbing and slashing too - but not a whole lot of blood-flow (Marvel’s smarter way to go around the ratings, no doubt).
The humour is ever so present, a nudge-a-wink-a-“heh” - not downright “BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA” - sprinkled amongst the seriousness of the scenarios, and a fantastic dose of “sincerity to entertain”, and not preach about themselves and their own faux successes, as seen in most other non-MARVEL films.
The sense of “humility” is ever evident, and to me personally, is one of the FEW "story ingredients" Marvel Studios films have had successfully executed, over (most) everybody else’s Superhero-Do. Although treated disrespectfully, it is shown to be “loser-ry” if done wrong.
Yet another wonderful Marvel-trait: Making B to C-lister characters folks would care about, and want to care about, actually.
Who would’ve imagined IRON MAN to be a A-Lister, when they announced the first film back in 2008? ANT-MAN rocked the scene, BLACK PANTHER cased a ruckus and anticipation, and now, DOCTOR STRANGE takes up the attention of the initiated and uninitiated!
Benedict Cumberbatch is excellent, and after seeing his performance, truly no one could take his place … with his scenes near the end of the film, reminding me of the comfort of seeing Robert Downey Jr. as “Tony Stark”, in the first Iron Man movie.
The “regale-ness” of Stark, and Strange, would fit perfect with a Patrick Stewart / Professor X, if ever the comicbook version of Marvel’s Illuminati was to be made film … now they need a decent Mr Fantastic / Reed Richard et al.
But the breakout “character star” of the film, for me, has to be the “Cloak of Levitation”. And crossing my fingers “it” will always remain in this form, and not manifest as a humanoid (ala “Jarvis” becoming “The Vision”). It is quite the a**hole-jester compared to Strange too!
Much has been said about the “trippy effects”, and rightly so, but maybe a little “complaint” would be in order, as I felt “too much” has been revealed on the trailers already, that truly affected my viewing experience - from what could have been “gobsmacked”, to “yeah, that’s alright”… I sound so jaded, tis sad, really ... Heh.
I’ve not tried psychedelia to know from any semblance of personal experience the absolute visual splendour of the ethereal trans-dimensional trips/tripping in this film is/were … having only tasted hash from a beleaguered trip to Amsterdam some 20 years ago, with only one take away from said experience: ”Do Not Drink Coca-Cola When You’ve Taken Hash.”
Yep, taste like ash … if I’ve ever tasted "ash" anyways … :p
Failed-personal-tripping-stories aside, below are a few SPOILERS I’d want to share, and you’d need to highlight them (with your mouse) to read … AND DO NOT READ THEY IF YOU’VE NOT WATCHED DOCTOR STRANGE YET!
You Have Been Warned.
Three Points to Spoil!
SPOILER#1: The Eye of Agamotto (highlight begins here >>>) was in fact an Infinity Gem - as casually mentioned by Wong too! No doubt this is the TIME Stone, and of course links Dr Strange DIRECTLY to Infinity War now! (<<< highlight ends)
*NOTE: There are TWO Mid+Post-Credit scenes! One comes on after the first primary credits, and the second after the white-text-on-black credit roll has ended, right at the very end of the film, before the cinema hall lights go up!
SPOILER#2: The first mid-credits sequence (highlight begins >>>) shows Strange conversing with a hobo-looking Thor, along with a replenishable mug of mead, and directly leading to Thor: Ragnarok, with Strange helping to search for Odin! Nice set-up hahaha
That segment was apparently directed by “Thor 3” Director https://www.comicbookmovie.com/doctor_strange/spoilers-scott-derrickson-talks-doctor-stranges-mid-credits-scene-a146367 (read more here). (<<< highlight ends).
SPOILER#3: The second and final post-credit sequence, (highlight begins >>>) provided the “potential nemesis” to who Strange will face in his (perhaps) future movies; Mordu! I’m not going to spoil his reasoning for his acts tho :p … Comicbook-fans know it, it will be just a matter of “how” and “when” … (<<< highlight ends).
Rounding off this quick film review - and this is not exactly a “spoiler” per se - but stay during the credits roll, where ‘Special Thanks’ is listed for creators and writers of Dr Strange comicbooks! Comicbook Readers will recognise then names. Now THAT put a easy smile on my face, and in my heart :)