Doctor Strange (2016)

While watching Doctor Strange, I was thinking to myself that it could be my favourite MCU film to date. Then I reached the third act and to my dismay, the whole film just started to fall apart into a mess of CGI.

I’ll start by addressing the CGI. It’s pretty amazing, the whole film features some incredible bits of eye candy and it’s very impressive. Yes, some of the CGI effects are reminiscent of Inception, but they’re still really good.

In addition, the action scenes are great too. They often blend action with CGI in the film, making things very visually pleasing and exciting. It’s just a shame that the film never really explains how Doctor Strange becomes such a capable fighter all of a sudden. It’s a little hard to believe that he’s surviving on blind luck.

Doctor Strange himself is played very well by Benedict Cumberbatch. I like him as the arrogant, self centred Doctor prior to his accident, and then as the sarcastic, desperate Doctor afterwards. I did however find his full transformation into the selfless hero to be a bit rushed and lacking in motivation & explanation though.

The other cast are good too. Tilda Swinton is a scene stealer as the Acient One and Mads Mikkelsen oozes charisma in an otherwise forgettable role as the villain.

Chiwetel Ejiofor is problematic. As the heroes sidekick, he’s fine. It’s his characters arch that’s troublesome. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I found his end point to be very abrupt, sudden & odd. I didn’t see it coming and I’m not convinced that the film truly explains how he got to that point.

Now, the real problem with the film is the final act. Doctor Strange falls apart pretty much as soon as Doctor Strange transforms into the comic book superhero he is. The finale is full of pretty CGI and a terrible CGI villain that’s so underdeveloped and cheesy. Everything then wraps up far too quickly and suddenly. Rachel McAdams, for example, just vanishes. Her character is a plot device, she shows up when needed and is never seen or heard from again despite being established as a pretty important character beforehand.

There’s also the problem of the generic storyline. It’s basically a slightly altered version of Batman Begins, for the most part. This isn’t all that significant because it is enjoyable while it lasts.

Like all MCU films, Doctor Strange has its fair share of comedy. However, unlike those films, I found a lot of the comedy to be wince inducing & eye rolling. Many of the jokes fall flat or feel out of place, but there are a couple that got a giggle out of me. The running gag about the sorcerer that doesn’t laugh or know who Beyoncé is, for example, is quite humorous.

Doctor Strange is one of the MCU’s better origin movies. It does however fall into generic superhero territory in the third act by providing a terrible CGI villain and an incredible overuse of special effects. There are also some plot points & moments that lack full explanations & have me slightly confused.


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