Short version – I absolutely loved it. And I loved the new phase 3 Marvel logo.
I was worried about Marvel introducing another new character to their cinematic universe after establishing so much story already. But this origins story worked. This story of how Doctor Stephen Strange, a wealthy and successful surgeon, becomes Dr Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme. Cumberbatch’s Strange reminded me of Gregory House which was great because I like characters who are arrogant and cocky because they are brilliant in what they do. Cumberbatch does such an amazing job as Strange, he IS Stephen Strange. The acting performances were so good it didn’t feel like there was any one person who “could’ve done better”. The story of the movie was good, I liked it – it worked for me but it was the packaged journey that made this movie great.
The spells conjured up in battle looked so, so good. I’m not surprised that their credited digital artists list is longer than the acting cast list by so much. The spells and their effects was very impressive and the fight choreography gelled so well with the visuals. From the London battle scene at the beginning when the Ancient One chases down the thieves was very impressive. The hand seals that were performed to conjure up the spells looked fun and spectacular. The visuals are weird enough to bring a sense of mystical magic yet not so much that it brings on an epileptic fit. The visual side of Dr Strange can really only be fully appreciated on the big screen or on a really nice screen.
One aspect that really surprised me was the humour. From the first trailer I saw, I knew there would be some but it’s in a lot of places. Every joke drew laughter from the audience in my viewing. The humour could’ve easily been a bit too much though, like the Cloak of Levitation stopping Dr Strange from grabbing an axe and tried to get him to go to the other weapon. There were some that I didn’t think was that funny like when he picks up a weapon and after a short pause, the antagonists is like “you don’t know how to use it do you?”. But most of the humour hit the right level and it was funny.
The main antagonist Kaecilius wasn’t great but I like how Mordo turns into the bad guy. To me, this movie was as much of a origins story for a, potentially, interesting villain as it were for Dr Strange. He is conflicted upon learning the truth about the Ancient One and it’s his rigid character that makes him have a twisted view at the end of the movie. I think the potential is there and Marvel now needs to make the best out of this. In the end we meet Dormammu. I liked how Dr Strange doesn’t beat him with brute strength or using his newly learned spells. He uses his best trait – his intelligence. It was amazing how he was able to put himself in a timeloop and make Dormammu concede. This is great because it doesn’t make the ultimate bad guy look wimpy and they just let a noob beat him. Also it reveals that the Eye of Argamotto is actually an Infinity Stone.
On the subject of Infinity Stones, I think the scale of power is quite good for all the movies in the MCU. Nobody, bar the Scarlet Witch can do something super amazing without an Infinity Stone. Well, her powers are from an Infinity Stone…
To wrap up, this is a visually stunning movie with very good humour and an easy to follow story line when it could have potentially feel complicated. It’s not my favourite Marvel movie (it’s still Civil War) but it’s high in the ranking. It’s below Winter Soldier but above Iron Man. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone. I would doubly recommend people watching it in the cinema.