Review: Doctor Strange Dazzles the Eye

With super-powered visuals, Doctor Strange captures its viewer and covers over its traditional comic-book plot.

By Matt Vidal

Doctor Strange left me strangely satisfied. With it’s exciting visuals—reminiscent of the 2011 hit Inception—and Benedict Cumberbatch’s larger than life performance, it managed to capture me, though the story was unoriginal and formulaic.

The movie opens with our title character, Stephen Strange, performing brain surgery on a dying patient, showing off his proficiency in an overconfident manner. We then follow Strange as he flaunts his cocky attitude and rude demeanor throughout his daily routine. Everything changes when the Doc is caught in the middle of a texting and driving PSA—caused by his own arrogance—and he’s left with permanent brain damage, causing his hands to shake constantly and preventing him from continuing his work. Strange next sets out on a journey to repair his condition, and, long story short, he learns how to use magic, fights some bad guys, gets the girl, and defeats the Generic Marvel Villain in an underwhelming finale with little action but a clever twist.

Doctor Strange follows the time tested Marvel movie formula and does nothing to stray off the beaten path. While the story for Doctor Strange was just ok, it makes up for that in the visuals and character department. Now when I say Doctor Strange had some good effects, I mean it had some really good effects. I would not be surprised if it walked away with the Oscar for best special effects this year. It feels like it started with some of the mind boggling effects from Inception and cranked them up to 11, as at times we see massive cityscapes transform into constantly moving set pieces, and then those same set pieces warp into a swirly visual where the characters look like they’re fighting in kaleidoscopes. Doctor Strange has the best visuals of any movie I’ve seen this year.

I have not liked a Marvel superhero this much since Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man.

Doctor Strange also dazzles with its title character, Doctor Stephen Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch shines in this performance, transforming from a selfish, arrogant doctor to a selfless, arrogant wizard. I have not liked a Marvel superhero this much since Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, and that’s no surprise, considering how they share many character traits. But that’s not to say Cumberbatch was perfect. While he did many things right I have to address how Cumberbatch’s American accent sounded almost identical to Hugh Laurie’s American accent from the television series HOUSE, but, hey, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Other than the bland plot and the nitpick on Benedict’s acting choices, I’m now more excited than ever for the next Avengers movie, to see just how Strange will interact with the other characters.

Doctor Strange was a good movie-going experience; despite all the Marvel clichés, they manage to make entertaining movies with strong protagonists we love. Disney has manufactured this well-oiled Marvel movie crunching machine where they keep finding new ways to entertain us, and Doctor Strange solidifies this. All in all I give Doctor Strange 8 out of 10 Cobblers.