Doctor Strange review

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You will enjoy this movie you enjoy watching Benedict Cumberbatch acting in the way he has become accustomed to.

You will enjoy this movie if you were waiting for the next evolution of the special effects in Inception. …and some of its other special effects if you are inebriated.

Doctor Strange knows it has to hook you fast, so it shoots first and answers questions later. It opens straight to the action with characters that are central to the movie rather than the franchise-to-be. But that’s okay. You won’t even care who is there because skyscrapers started acting like Rolodexes and a bunch of people are busy dusting their knuckles while standing sideways on the crazy terrain.

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It’s a rare feat after all I have seen for a movie to actually surprise me with special effects. Watching the obligatory opening action scene in Doctor Strange was like seeing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the first time. Though in this case, it was the set rather than the people wowing me.

With the sizzle reel in the can, the movie moves onto its title character. A pompous genius surgeon who couldn’t be more primed for a fall unless his ill-fated licence plate read “HUBRIS.”

And while you don’t outright hate the guy because he’s just that good,the movie built you up for a massive outpouring of schadenfreude, and then rips the wind out of your sails from how shocking and visceral the blatantly telegraphed downfall goes.

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It takes a good, long time for the doctor to come back from it. And the movie takes a good, long time (just about the whole thing) to build him back up. It finds excuses to slip in some whiz-bang now and then along the way to keep us entertained, but Doctor Strange doesn’t shy away from depicting denial, anger, bargaining and depression. You can practically name acts of the script that way.

But there’s good parallelism to the story. As, Doctor Strange’s rise out of existential crisis seems to sink another character into one…

It’s become a bit rote now, but I still like how the Marvel movies show heroes learning the ropes. In the case of Doctor Strange, it’s all the more effective for knocking the good doctor off his high horse and making him really work his way back up.

Though that’s part of the charm, really. The difference between the Marvel movies and the DC movies is that Marvel’s superheroes act like people. We see them constantly adjusting to ridiculous and unexpected things and watch them fly by the seat of their pants. And this was a good movie to illustrate that idea.

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One thing I must applaud Marvel Studios for is that they can still manage to give new heroes very independent and isolated origin movies when the temptation is obviously to slip in any of the many famous established characters for more than just a mid-credits cameo. But, like Ant-Man before it, Doctor Strange enforces its boundaries and lets the movie establish its new hero and the nature of his world.

Verdict: Go for it (4/5). Pretty boilerplate, but a unique visual spectacle best suited for the big screen.

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