But … more of the same. If you’re a Marvel fan and like the recent influx of superhero movies then this is your film. For me it was at best mildly entertaining, complete with all the pretty colors, special effects, and trademark chase scenes. In all fairness, Batman Begins of the Dark Knight trilogy is my measuring stick for origin stories, and this first installment of Dr. Strange didn’t quite measure up.
Let’s start with the performances. After watching a riveting performance by Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek Into Darkness and reading the rave reviews on the various sites by fans and critics alike, I was stoked.
But instead of the talented Cumberbatch giving us something unique or memorable we get a bad imitation of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark. That’s right, almost witty, almost funny, and almost brash. As near as I can figure his gift is his photographic memory.
I had, what I considered, both the advantage and disadvantage of knowing absolutely nothing about this character or the story, (sorry comic book world) so I had no preconceived notions, only the desire for a great story with well-developed characters (can one exist without the other?).
I never saw from this rendition of the story a clear motivation as to why this reckless, egotistical Dr. Strange becomes the leader of the sorcerer’s portion of the Avenger’s world just for the sake of being a good person. It doesn’t match up with the character we’re introduced to at the beginning. And … I get the smarts with the photographic memory, but how’d he become such a skilled fighter so fast?
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo just seemed to be there, not a good or bad performance but no depth, workmanlike to fill the diversity quota, and I appreciate that, filmmakers.
I did like Tilda Swinton’s performance as The Ancient One. It was believable and captivating throughout even when we find out her motives are not as altruistic as we were first led to believe. Her strength at first and later vulnerability ground the film and gives it an emotional and human quality.
I really liked the red cloak or was it a cape? I gotta get me one of those.
Another meh point in the film was the villains. Dull, lifeless, and contrived, they didn’t add that hurdle element needed to make the protagonist’s journey worthwhile and satisfying. But wait! They did take manipulating buildings on the set to a new level. Instead of just destruction we have buildings actually bending, transforming, and morphing into … something else? If you like that sort of thing, you’ll love this, reminiscent of the film Inception.
At the end, I didn’t care about the good guys, so I didn’t find myself rooting for them. I didn’t fear the bad guys, so there was no worked up tension inside me when they appeared on the screen, only a “not these guys again.” And the mega-villain at the end was almost comical and childish when he discovered the hero’s resolution, which I also thought, was at best, cheesy. I did like the music. It awakened my spirit at times but didn’t match the spectacle on the screen.
That’s all I have.
I give this movie 7/10 fist bumps.