Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90% (Critics) / 90% (Audience)
Directed By: Scott Derrickson
Written By: Scott Derrickson, Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and Tilda Swinton
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Synopsis: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts. – (Source)
The decisions made when it came to how to show magic at work were really creative especially the INCEPTION style reality altering stuff. Visually this movie was a treat for the eyes and a stark departure from the usual Marvel movie making style that sometimes looks so much like a TV show that one can be forgiven for thinking they are watching an episode of AGENTS OF SHIELD.
Chiwetel Ejiofor was a bit blah for the majority of the film but by the end of the movie (and especially in the after-credits scene), Ejiofor brought a pathos and dark purpose to the character of Mordo that has me really interested in seeing what he gets up to in a sequel.
Yet again the folks at Marvel produce a totally milquetoast villain that is so forgettable that I cannot even tell you the guy’s name without looking it up on IMDb. And when you make a villain played by an actor like Mads Mikkelsen this blah it really points out a problem with the studio that needs to be addressed.
The villains motivation and big plan was a bit of a bummer too. Everything having to do with the bad guys in this movie was uninteresting.
I still can’t think of one thing Rachel McAdams did in this movie that an extra couldn’t have done just as well and not caused any changes to be made in the movie as a whole. She was totally underused to the point that the character she played was unnecessary.
Finally I hated Benedict Cumberbatch as Strange. It was painfully obvious that the film was trying to depict Strange as the same type of lovable egocentric jerk like Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark (right down to most of the beats in this movie just being an IRON MAN remix) except Cumberbatch is good at the egocentric jerk parts but not so much the lovable stuff. So instead of being Stark 2.0, Stephen Strange just came off as a dickish asshole.
So much has been made of Tilda Swinton’s casting and the white-washing of the Ancient One character and I would be willing to accept the plethora of “racial and cultural sensitivity” excuses that the folks behind DOCTOR STRANGE have come up with to explain themselves except for the fact that everything about the mystic temple where Strange goes to be trained looks like something out of a Shaw Brothers kung-fu movie. All of the people at the mystic temple dress like characters out of a Shaw Brothers kung-fu movie. The people at the temple do group exercises like something out of a Shaw Brothers kung-fu movie. And they all do freaking martial arts like characters in a Shaw Brothers kung-fu movie. The only thing not Far East inspired is the woman who leads this mystic temple of magic kung-fu monks might be the whitest human being on the face of the planet. You cannot tell me that casting an Asian actor in this role would have been a problem when nothing else was changed in regards to The Ancient One aside from Swinton’s epic whiteness and her vagina.
Final Verdict: A pretty safely made and formulaic movie that has some really cool visuals to its credit but really not much else. The Marvel formula really could have used some tweaking here because if you can’t let your freak flag fly with a DOCTOR STRANGE movie then when can you?