Doctor Strange: My Thoughts (a review?)


Doctor Strange…. Let me start by saying…. Wow. Really amazing film. I am sort of…stunned? Is that the word?

And I feel this way every time I see a Marvel movie. Because they are just so big! Huge! Big movies. Big stories. Big special effects. Big everything. And so I almost always leave the theater with almost too much to absorb. This can very well be said for Doctor Strange.

Visually, I am still processing the movie. From the first moment the film opens we see things that leave the special effects in Christopher Nolan’s Inception almost in the dust. And from then on it is just a roller coaster of the visually sublime and somehow manages to stay a fraction of an inch from being overpowering. Marvel somehow kept this movie a razor’s edge from being only a special effects movie.

This is what I dislike so much about Michael Bay’s movies (especially those simply awful Transformer movies). They start off okay (for about ten or fifteen minutes) and then we are slammed slammed slammed slammed with imagery and special effects (enough that I have gotten really bad headaches in his movies) and the story is left far behind. Forgotten.

The special effects extravaganza that is Doctor Strange did not do that. It never forgot the story.

And there is a heck of a lot of story!

Which takes me back to something I was only sort of saying at the beginning. Marvel movies are so darned big that I often find that it is the second time that I fall head over heels in love. Almost ever single time. The Avengers is sure one. And Captain American: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War. The first time I saw the movies I was so FILLED that I needed the second time to really love them.

Some people might say that’s bad. For some reason I don’t think so, especially with Marvel movies.

Now back to Doctor Strange. I am still reeling. I was blown away. I liked how they reinterpreted the 1963 story for today. They left everything that was the heart and soul and story of the original tale. Only gave it a slight spin. For instance—and I can’t imagine this is a spoiler—they made the Ancient One (the person who decides to train Dr. Strange) a woman (I believe they said she was Celtic) rather than an Asian old man. And since it was Tilda Swinton it worked in spades! My gawd, she was wonderful!

The entire cast was outstanding, and of course that cast was led by Benedict Cumberbatch. He was terrific. Really, really good. To me he looked just like Doctor Strange. I was so pleased. I am not sure his few attempts at humor worked all that well, but besides that, I have not a single complaint.

I also like how they let us know that Doctor Strange really is the Master of the dark arts as well as Master of Mystic Arts. These spells the sorcerers cast…the energy often comes from dark dimensions. Places that include demonic beings. And there is a big secret around the Ancient One which I will not reveal. You have to see it. I loved it. Very cool.

So, I want to see this movie again. So much happened that I am just filled to the brim and I need that second time to just go with the flow. I saw Captain American: Civil War again last night and loved it loved it loved it. With each viewing of a Marvel movie, I love them more.

And I know it’s going to be a love affair with Doctor Strange when I see it again.

Also, if I didn’t make it clear, the movie is simply gorgeous. A lush treat for the eye, even when we aren’t seeing dazzling spells being cast by battling sorcerers. Just Dr. Strange’s apartment kept making me say, “whoa! whoa! whoa!

I was a bit squeamish over the car accident and all the damage that happens to Dr. Strange’s hands, which leads to him searching the world for the Ancient One. They didn’t coast over that. Really gross. But it furthers the story. Hits you with why he searches for her. He finds her to get healed. He stays to begin his journey into becoming the Sorcerer Supreme!

And I can hardly wait to see what happens next!


PS: The Morning After: Still thrilled, and maybe more so. Many more things occurred to me that made me so darned happy about this movie. Remember: I first read Doctor Strange’s adventures when I was around fourteen. There are a lot of important images that come with this character. One, and it’s very important for some reason, the big round window in his three-story townhouse at 177A Bleecker St in Greenwich Village—his Sanctum Sanctorum. The minute I saw that in the first preview, I wanted to jump up and shout I was so happy. And his cape! His Cloak of Levitation. Gorgeous! And how visually it all worked so well. He never looked silly in it, or silly “flying.” And finally, his amulet, the Eye of Agamotto. Very important. And it was wonderful!

Sitting here on Saturday morning, I am so happy with Doctor Strange! And I can’t wait to see it again!



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