Special thanks to Marvel for bringing me out to LA for this Doctor Strange movie review. It in no way shapes my opinion, just makes bringing you the deets cheaper and that’s pretty legit.
I love Marvel films so much. I didn’t grow up reading comics (although I have always loved comic book art since I was a child, so did a lot of flipping through). But when my son came of age to sit through epic movies, it became something very special to me. Ever since the first Captain America, I’ve been hooked. Every film has been special me but this one, just plain out blew me away. So what was so epic about this film?
If you’ve been following my interviews of Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Mads Mikkelsen (Kaecilius), Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One) and Director Scott Derrickson then, you already know this film is a visual masterpiece. Scott said it in just a few words in my recent interview with him,
This film couldn’t have been made three even four years ago.
Every time I screen a Marvel film I go in with the expectation that the film will maintain truths from the comics, offer something new, have epic visuals, awesome fight scenes, amazing costumes and superpowers, a positive message, uber nerdy Easter eggs and of course, entertain me while being suitable for my eight year old son.
Doctor Strange nailed all of these expectations and then some.
My Doctor Strange Movie Review
I screened this film a couple weeks ago, the night before the premiere. I went in thinking, “Cool, I’m excited for new characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this should be cool.” I came out saying,
Man I’m glad I didn’t eat a bunch of mushrooms, you would have been peeling me off the floor!
There’s no other movie that can touch the visual effects of this film. Firstly, you need to be seeing this film in IMAX 3d. It’s hands down everything IMAX 3d was intended to deliver. Second, the Kung Fu moves and magical spells in the film are super freaking rad.
No one’s going to need acid after this.
Let’s Talk Characters
I loved all the character developments. I think every character nailed their role. Benedict Cumberbatch looked incredible and was in every way the right choice for this role. Tilda played a magnificent mentor. Rachel, of course, was perfect as the nurturing, loving and compassionate fellow surgeon / romantic partner. Mads naturally nailed the villain role and Wong brought a funny comedic element to the film. Actually, they all had their funny moments. Which I also love about this film.
The film was everything I wanted it to be. Dramatic, powerful, visual, funny and it had a totally epic message at the end (which I won’t spoil for you). But what I will tell you is, sit through both the end credit scenes (true Marvel fans always wait).
This is a Marvel film unlike any other. I was completely blown away by this film and literally would have sat through it a second time immediately after it ended. It was that good.
Let’s Talk Comics
I grew up with Marvel comics. Doctor Strange is my favorite comic. When I heard they were making it I felt like it was the only comic book character I was uniquely suited to do.
-Director Scott Derrickson
That said, Scott made sure this film turned out being true to the comics while offering something new. As Benedict Cumberbatch said in his interview,
In the 21st-Century you can make magic look pretty cool on the big screen. It’s got all those sort of psychedelic elements, like real big left turn that Ditko did with his drawings which was just mind blowing still.
-Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Stephen Strange)
Doctor Strange was originally created in 1963 by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko. Ultimately it was the byproduct of the bizarre mind of Ditko that brought Strange to the page. Scott wanted to recreate that trippy, psychedelic atmosphere while bringing in modern humor. He also made a few changes: Wong and the Ancient One’s characters were inverted. According to Scott,
The first reason was because I was trying to find creative ways, and positive ways to escape the racial stereotypes from the original comics. You know, they were products of the 60’s for good and bad. For bad, the Ancient One and Wong, those two characters were, were pretty offensive racial stereotypes, by modern standards.
Wong’s character, I was able to completely reinvent. I sort of inverted his character. Everything about his character in the comics, I just flipped on its head. Instead of a man servant he’s a master of the mystic arts. Instead of a sidekick he’s Strange’s intellectual mentor.
With the Ancient One, I couldn’t really do that. The Ancient One in the story still had to be a magical, mystical, domineering, martial arts mentor, to Doctor Strange. The first thing I wanted to do is make it a woman. I thought, okay, that’s fresh. And I did that to get away from the cliché and the stereotype, but I also did that because I wanted a woman Tilda’s age. I wanted a woman who wasn’t the 26 year old, tightly leather clad, you know, hot, fan boy dream girl. I wanted to have a real woman in the movie in terms of trying to get diversity in there.
-Director Scott Derrickson
We also see that Christine Palmer (a character from the Night Nurse series), played the role of the romantic partner to Doctor Stephen Strange. Unlike the comics where his romantic partner was Clea.
All in all, this film is going to blow your mind. I think it’s fine for kids (I’m taking my mini human to see it tonight). You’re most definitely going to fall in love with Doctor Strange, and I’m certain any more films that come from this will be as equally (if not even better) than this. A special shout out for those of you who read the entire Doctor Strange movie review and not just skipped through it.