Thursday, November 3, 2016

Movie Review: DOCTOR STRANGE (Review #2)

Doctor Strange is the fourteenth feature film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this time following the Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Stephen Strange. This film is directed by Scott Derrickson and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton. The basic premise of the film is that we meet Stephen Strange, a talented neurosurgeon, who loses his ability to be a surgeon after his hands are crushed in a car accident and he ventures to Kathmandu where he discovers a world of magic, sorcery, and multiple dimensions. I thought that this film was quite strong, enjoyable, and interesting but not perfect.

There’s a lot of good to say about Doctor Strange. The first thing many will notice (and rightly so) are the astounding visuals in the film. These were incredibly well done, trippy, and just extremely interesting. There are plenty of interesting fractal and kaleidoscope effects that are wonderful from an art design perspective, but I think the best effects work was with the very Inception-esque city effects, the art design of other dimensions, and with the non-magic effects. These push so many boundaries and look incredible on-screen. I found myself feeling wowed multiple times with what they were doing both in terms of its boldness and overall quality. I would also note that the cinematography generally was quite striking in this film and, though it fits with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it looks a lot better than many of the films in that universe.

The performances in this film are also top-notch. This film is attempting to sell some really weird and strange comic book concepts and it needed the actors to deliver weird lines well and get into convoluted concepts without losing the audience. They accomplished that. Benedict Cumberbatch is excellent as Doctor Strange (and it may be one of the best performances in the MCU as a whole) and makes you really buy in. He is additionally supported by a cast that really brings it as well. Tilda Swinton nailed her role as the Ancient One, Rachel McAdams was incredibly real and worked well for her limited role, and Chiwetel Ejiofor brought some solid emotion to the film that made it work extremely well.

The last thing I really want to compliment in this film was how unapologetic it was for being a comic book property. It does have a veneer of humor and relatability that will make this work as a film but it didn’t back away from the weird concepts. It just went for it. Throwing out crazy terms like the Eye of Agamotto, the Vaulting Boots of Valtorr, the Dark Dimension, etc. was fascinating and it was cool to see a general audience, who would normally not be receptive to such things, eat them up. I think this furthers comic book movies in a way other films don’t by taking chances that paid off for me (and seemingly for the audience I was with as well). The film also has two stellar end credit scenes (one of the best duo of scenes I’ve seen).

This film wasn’t perfect though. For starters, I thought that a lot of the supporting characters (including the villain) didn’t quite have enough to do. They all worked for what they were and were clearly drawn characters but they didn’t have enough screen time or enough to do. I really felt like a few characters could have used a cool moment to further their development or to just make the film more effective. I also found the first act (and a good portion of the second act) felt extremely rushed. I would have loved to stay with non-magic Stephen Strange longer to get more from that character and take the training a bit more deliberative. The film is just under two hours with credits and moves at a good clip and I think if it had fifteen minutes to half an hour more it could have felt more real and worked more as a film.

Overall, I highly enjoyed Doctor Strange. It’s not a perfect movie by any extent (nor one of Marvel’s best necessarily) but it is solid throughout, extremely captivating, and well-acted. Check the film out and see it in IMAX 3D if you have the chance. The optimization for IMAX looked really good despite some of the weirder aspect ratios used occasionally.

Ryan’s Score: 8/10

Make sure to check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!

No comments:

Post a Comment