Review: Doctor Strange
So, Saturday I went to see Doctor Strange at the IMAX theater in Tuscaloosa. I met up with one of my friends for lunch and then the movie.
Non-spoilery impressions – It was fun. It’s definitely in the lower tier of Marvel movies for me, but it’s still a fun Marvel movie, which puts it above most movies that aren’t Star Wars, The Princess Bride, or Lord of the Rings.
The music was… there? I guess. I have absolutely no memory of it outside of the four licensed songs. The score made absolutely no impression on me either positively or negatively.
The special effects are beautiful! I did see the film in IMAX 3D, which probably enhanced the effects, but the 3D wasn’t too obtrusive, which I prefer.
I did have one small problem, which could have been the theater, the 3D glasses, or the fact that I wear glasses too, but anything outside of the center of my vision was blurry. It wasn’t unbearable, but it was slightly distracting.
SPOILERS MAY OCCUR AFTER THIS POINT!!!!
Ok, let’s talk about casting.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor (not Mr. not Master, DOCTOR) Strange
Eh. He was ok. I know this might draw down wrath upon me, but I’m not a huge fan of his. I thought he did great as Smaug. I don’t really watch Sherlock.
Here, I thought he was fine, but he didn’t shine. He’s playing a blindingly intelligent, but cold, and arrogant surgeon.
And it’s hard not to compare him to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. He’s just… not on the same level in any of the categories. Tony is smarter in his own way. He’s more intelligent. And he’s faster with the funny.
Doctor Strange is fine, but I wouldn’t want to hang out with him.
Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One
This is the casting call I was really hesitant about. On the one hand, I love that a woman got cast in a traditionally male role. On the other hand, a white woman got cast in a role that in the comics is filled by a Nepalese man. So, that’s problematic. But it would also be easy to fall into the “inscrutable Asian mentor” stereotype too. Which would also be problematic.
I think Tilda Swinton did an amazing job in the role, but I never thought she would be less than stunning. She’s an amazing actress. At the end of the day, once I got into the movie, I wasn’t hugely upset about it. They’ve changed the character so that she’s a Celtic sorceress who became the Sorcerer Supreme after the previous Sorcerer Supreme fell. In the end, I was ok with it, but I can only speak for myself. If someone else is bothered, I totally see where they’re coming from.
Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius
He was very good. The role is slightly underwritten, but he fills it really well. He’s creepy and charismatic without tipping over into melodrama. I don’t now anything about his character from the comics, so I don’t know anything more than I got in the movie, but that was enough. He has several acolytes that follow him around, but he’s absolutely the focus when he’s onscreen.
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo
Ok, he looks great. His role is to act as a foil to the Ancient One and then Strange. He’s always good in his parts, but he’s playing a very rigid character here. So I don’t have too much to say about him. His fight scenes are pretty cool though. SPOILER – I look forward to seeing where the character goes next.
Benedict Wong as Wong
I loved Wong. Rather than playing Strange’s butler as he does in the comics, he’s the librarian at Kamar-Taj. He’s mostly the straight man for Doctor Strange’s attempts at humor. Honestly, he would probably be my favorite character if it weren’t for…
The Cloak of Levitation played by… The Cloak of Levitation!
Best. Character. Ever. I would like a plushie of it now.
Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer
Honestly, having her as a colleague of Doctor Strange’s is fine. But –
-having her as a theoretical love interest was just kind of boring. It was also odd that she seemed to be able to perceive portions of the mystical shenanigans going on that other people were oblivious to. Why? That was never explained. And I don’t know if she’ll be back in later films or not. She wasn’t nearly as concrete as Pepper or Jane or Peggy. But, we’ll see, I suppose.
If you’re interested then I recommend going and seeing it. Go to a 3D show if they work for you. It’s very pretty!