Guardians of The Galaxy was Marvel’s first risk. It worked. Ant-Man was Marvel’s second risk. It worked. Doctor Strange is Marvel’s third risk, and boy, does it work.
Doctor Strange stars Bennedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor and tells the origin story of Dr. Stephen Strange. Strange is a talented surgeon who one night ends up in a car accident and loses the use of his hands. Distraught he seeks out a cure which leads him to discover a whole new world of mystic and magic.
Like I said, Doctor Strange is a big risk for Marvel. He’s not one of their well known heroes, but just like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel does a fantastic job of introducing audiences to a brand new character and a character that they can get behind.
Of course, a huge amount of credit goes to Bennedict Cumberbatch. He is extremely good in the movie, he has a commanding screen presence, and he handles the dramatic, action, and comedic scenes all very well. There’s not many other actors that could have done as good of a job as he did, and he is wonderful. It is a little strange, no pun intended, to hear him speak in an American accent, but after the first 10 minutes, it’s not as noticeable anymore.
Rachel McAdams doesn’t have a huge part in the movie, but the role she is given she does very well with. The romance between her and Cumberbatch feels genuine and real. There wasn’t a moment of questioning. These two characters care for each other and their chemistry sells it.
The action scenes are incredible. Director Scott Derrickson clearly knows the world and has a love for it. The visuals dazzle with wonder. There is not a second where the visuals are unbelievable, every second works. I didn’t get the opportunity to see it in 3D, but from what I saw in 2D, 3D must be brilliant.
This is not a perfect movie however, and there are some problems. For one, like almost every Marvel movie save The Avengers and Thor, the villain sucks. There is no development with his character at all. We are told his motives in 2 sentences and that’s it. He’s just a bad guy doing evil things. Villains are integral to comic book movies and why Marvel doesn’t understand it is beyond me. They develop their heroes wonderfully. Doctor Strange is very well developed himself, he has an arc, you understand him. The villain is so underdeveloped it’s sad. Mads Mikkelsen gives a fantastic performance, but his character is just completely flat and wasted.
The other glaring flaw the movie has is its uneven pacing. The first act is very clunky and it takes a while for it to get moving. Then the second act is very rushed, he becomes Doctor Strange very fast. It seems he has only been training for a few months when he had to suddenly fight the main villain and he’s holding his own. It just seems like they should have shown a bit more of his training.
The script also suffers form a lot of exposition where it’s just literally explaining things to the audience and unfortunately there isn’t much they can do to help that. This is such a unknown character with a vast amount of layers and worlds that they just have to explain it and most of it works, but other times, it just feels way to much and the exposition just drags it down.
In the end, Doctor Strange is a wonderful and dazzling movie filled with incredible visuals, great acting, and really good character development in regards to Strange. It does suffer from having a poorly developed villain and uneven pacing, but nevertheless, it’s a very fun movie that is guaranteed to grip you and dazzle you.
In regards to where I would place it in the MCU, as of right now, I think i would place it in between Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man.