Doctor Strange, 2016 movie
  • True, it is an origin story, but it is well done enough that it is hardly a bad thing
  • The car crash scene is visceral enough, but the fact that Strange does literally everything wrong may raise some eyebrows
  • However, the man he talks to who suggests venturing East to get healed (as the man himself had) specifically says that it is a spiritual healing
  • Not surprisingly, he's not too keen on taking part in a multiversal war against Old Ones, nor is he too fond of the fact that he takes the life of another at one point during a fight
  • It is consistent with Civil War where Earth's defenses were waning just as the Infinity War loomed, but it was an interesting paradoxical development nevertheless


by David Finniss

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    The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand with “Doctor Strange”. Not only does this movie introduce a new hero and defender of the Earth, but it even manages to expand the scope of the already epic franchise as a whole.

    True, it is an origin story, but it is well done enough that it is hardly a bad thing. I’ve seen some compare it to “Iron Man” in that it follows the same basic premise of “arrogant genius gets humbled and goes on journey to become a hero”.

    Technically, that’s true, but it’s in a very “broad strokes” sense. This isn’t like “Ghostbusters 2″, where it almost literally follows the plot of a preceding movie beat for beat.

  • 'Doctor Strange' 2016 movie
  • For those unfamiliar, Doctor Strange is a skilled neurosurgeon who goes off to explore the realm of magic when his hands are damaged in a car crash and modern medicine is insufficient to repair them.

    This much remains intact, though there are some kinks in the execution. The car crash scene is visceral enough, but the fact that Strange does literally everything wrong may raise some eyebrows. He speeds on a winding road at night when it’s raining and looks down at his phone while doing so. Any one of these things probably would have been believable enough as a possible cause, but using all of them either pushes suspension of disbelief or makes the brilliant doctor look kind of dumb.

    He’s also skeptical of magic. This would make sense as he is a doctor. However, the man he talks to who suggests venturing East to get healed (as the man himself had) specifically says that it is a spiritual healing. If Strange were going to be dismissive, you’d think it would be here, but that’s not how it plays out.

    Still, though, the movie is well structured. It never drags and balances drama and humor well. MCU movies are generally pretty quippy and this one doesn’t deviate too much on that front.

  • 'Doctor Strange' 2016 movie
  • While Strange’s reasons are largely self serving, he ends up embarking on a journey that shows him things about the nature of reality that are quite mind blowing.

    Not surprisingly, he’s not too keen on taking part in a multiversal war against Old Ones, nor is he too fond of the fact that he takes the life of another at one point during a fight.

    Sadly, both of these things are brushed aside, but both things fit the situation and gave Strange some consistency. Where the movie almost puts aside the fact that Strange is aiming to heal his hands, he didn’t. While most would likely freak out over taking a life, his status as a doctor reinforces that objection and makes it a more powerful moment.

    As a result, though, the plot does kind of stumble onto Strange. Kaecilius, the villain of the piece, has no idea who he is and just seems to fight him because he’s in the way.

  • 'Doctor Strange' 2016 movie
  • As said before, this expands the scope of the Marvel Universe. It achieves this by establishing an infinite multiverse and even introducing magic. Unlike Thor, which danced around it, this is bona fide magic that can’t be quantified. Don’t worry, they do say it’s achieved by channeling energies from other realities where the same laws don’t apply, so it does provide at least some context.

    As a result, we get some great visuals as Strange is exposed to a variety of trippy realities, including a “mirror” universe where mystics can bend and manipulate reality “Inception” style.

    While it likely is the main draw for the movie, it doesn’t become reliant on the effects to carry the movie. The characters are still fleshed out and have clear motivations. It makes for a solid film, even if it is “just another origin story”.

  • 'Doctor Strange' 2016 movie
  • One area where the MCU is often criticized is in giving us lackluster villains. They generally work well enough for the movie, but get buried in such a massive franchise. Loki and Zemo seem to be the only two who stand out after a while. It’s hard to believe, considering Ultron and Red Skull are heavy hitters in the comics.

    As for this movie, it’s an interesting mix. Kaecilius does fall into the “similar to hero but evil” trap that Stane, Cross, and Abomination fell into. The fact that he’s largely silent also hurts as we don’t get too much in the way of personality.

    When he does speak up, though, the script makes it count. He actually does a good job of presenting his perspective and justifying why he’s doing what he’s doing. Considering his aim is to allow the universe to be absorbed into an extra-dimensional eldritch abomination, that’s not an easy feat to pull off.

    He even alters the narrative’s perspectives by painting Strange’s mentor in a different light. Ultimately, the movies does come down to good guys vs bad guys, but that little shade of grey was a nice touch.

    We even see Mordo, who is an adversary of Strange in the comics, as a hero. As such, we actually see him become disillusioned with the way this particular order of mystics operate over the course of the movie and eventually turn away from them completely. Not only will this pay off when he does become the bad guy, but it also makes him more layered than his comic counterpart, who doesn’t have such a nuanced motivation.

  • 'Doctor Strange' 2016 movie
  • As to Dormammu, the aforementioned universe consuming monster. It does its job well enough. It’s a big, freaky monstrosity that Strange can’t hope to beat in a direct fight. It allows Strange’s wits to win the day.

    Oddly, the existence of threats like this make Thanos look like small potatoes. He was already suffering due to the fact that he hasn’t really done anything, but now he’s not even the biggest looming threat anymore.

    One thing that really worked about the movie’s climax was how it deviated from the usual showcase of city wide destruction. We see that, but a lot of focus is put on the fact that Strange is actually going back and undoing it. It’s refreshing as it’s more optimistic, but it also allows it to stand out from other Marvel movies on that front. After a while, so many similar sequences lose their awe and impact.

  • 'Doctor Strange' 2016 movie
  • You may not know this, but there was some controversy when it came to the movie’s casting. Cumberbatch himself was criticized by some, but the real storm hit when Tilda Swinton was cast as the Ancient One.

    Now, Swinton’s a strong actress and she has the screen presence to pull off the role. That should come as a surprise to no one. However, people were hoping for an Asian actress to play the Asian character.

    There was some talk that it was political (casting an actress from Tibet would have gotten it banned in China, a large market) but that was dismissed.

    When you see the movie, I think it becomes clearer as to why they didn’t cast a “POC”. As noted, the Ancient One isn’t as stalwart as you’d think. She’s ultimately a good and noble person, but there’s more to it and people would have likely found it problematic. On top of that, she kind of, you know, dies.

    On the plus side, this switch prompted the producers to add Wong to the cast. Not only is this a plus as Wong is a classic Strange character, but he isn’t burdened with the aforementioned aspects.

    Another complaint came from people concluding that “the white guy does it better”. The movie avoids this by not having Strange be the sorcerer supreme by movie’s end. He’s improved significantly in terms of his ability to wield magic, but he’s still learning.

    It also makes for an interesting contrast. You’d think that with another champion, Earth would be safer, but Wong says that with the Ancient One gone, Earth is even more vulnerable than it was before. It is consistent with “Civil War” where Earth’s defenses were waning just as the Infinity War loomed, but it was an interesting paradoxical development nevertheless.

    While the movie does fall into the “Marvel formula” at points, the movie does take steps to try and stand out. Even if you think that the steps weren’t enough, it is still an entertaining ride that should satisfy movie goers.

    Even if you’re not up to speed on the goings on of the MCU, this is largely a stand alone story. There are some references here and there, a few of them pretty big in terms of the overall narrative, but as we’re following Strange as he enters this strange, new world; it’s a lot easier for newcomers to jump in and see the eventual sorcerer supreme in action without having to worry about expansive continuity.

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Rahul Haque says :

re : However, the man he talks to who suggests venturing East to get healed (as the man himself had) specifically says that it is a spiritual healing
he mentioned it is spiritual healing as it the mind and soul has to heal first from the trauma that his physical heath is down. people have get up when they get a blow instead of sitting back that what means by this sentence. there are others too who ventured to Kaman taj but did not succeed because of their weak will power.

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Loti says :

lengthy but not helpful. Lack plot and information.

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Andrew Leith says :

I disagree with you. The review was good enough for me. It helped me to know and decide that it was a fair review knowing with enough information that product is good for me to watch. Thanks for a great review.

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Mahesh says :

I don’t agree with you. The review is quite good and enough to inspire someone to watch.

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jimmynastic says :

re : True, it is an origin story, but it is well done enough that it is hardly a bad thing
I have not had time to follow through all the marvel movies but you don’t need all that to watch doctor strange. The action is amazing a doctor strange has a sense of humor.
The theme a bit dark and confusing, especially for people with Little knowledge of the characters in the comics.
great movies

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in June, 2017. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 1112061659680530/k2311a0612/6.12.17
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