While not the strongest of the numerous MCU films so far, Doctor Strange at least is still a fun flick helped more by the charisma of both Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton more than a routine, thin plot and another forgettable villain.
— Cinematic Universe Edition —
Genre(s): Adventure, Action, Fantasy
Disney | PG13 – 115 min. – $39.99 | February 28, 2017
Date Published: 02/17/2017 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE — 3.75/5
“You’re a man looking at the world through a keyhole. You’ve spent your life trying to widen it. Your work saved the lives of thousands. What if I told you that reality is one of many?”
Doctor Strange is the astounding 14th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the second within the Third Phase following Captain America: Civil War. Although this was hardly the best within the MCU, it certainly had some fun moments (a la Ant-Man) surrounded by impressive visual effects and halfway decent story.
Dr. Stephen Strange (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH) is a renowned, and headstrong, surgeon, who, following a horrific accident that severely and irrevocably injures his hands, seeks out various cures leading him to Kathmandu to Kamar-Taj, where the art of magic is taught by a woman only known as The Ancient One (TILDA SWINTON) in the hopes of getting use of his hands again. With the help of a man named Mordo (CHIWETEL EJIOFOR), he and The Ancient One, work to not only train Strange in the magic arts, showing him a bigger universe and remove his ego.
The villain this time around is, once again, a bit on the bland side. Kaecilius (MADS MIKKELSON) is a former pupil of the Ancient One, who has embraced the magical powers of the dark side and has stolen text from one of the One’s books that can summon Dormammu from across the universe and come to and take over planet Earth. Along with this minions/zealots (including SCOTT ADKINS), Kaecilius uses magic to twist and turn our world.
Meanwhile, Strange begins to get stronger in his magic and with his photographic memory, memorizes spells and with the cape known as Cloak of Levitationm he officially becomes Doctor Strange. Alongside the Ancient One and Mordo, they must battle Kaecilius before it’s too late, defending their different bases/sanctums (New York City, London and Hong Kong) which form a protective shield on Earth.
This entry in the MCU is hardly the strongest of the bunch and, at least plot-wise, is right there with the likes of Ant-Man, just with better visual effects (though anytime humans are involved, it gets a bit wonky) and the charisma of Benedict Cumberbatch who seemed to be playing an extension of his character on Sherlock (pompous, selfish, egotistical, etc). But I did like him in this role and Tilda Swinton as his mentor was brilliant casting as well and her relationship with Strange was one of the stronger elements, more so certainly than the thinly written, one-dimensional villain and his weak cohorts.
The supporting cast are mostly fine with perhaps the highlight being Chiwetel Ejiofor who, with what happens at the end, is set up to actually be an interesting villain in a almost certain Doctor Strange 2. Mads Mikkelson as the villain was okay I guess for what he’s given and Rachel McAdams’ talents are wasted though playing a character that later becomes another obscure comic character, I guess it’s wise to cast a known actress in the role. Lastly, Benedict Wong has a few fun scenes with Cumberbatch and I look forward to his inclusion in the eventual sequel alongside Ejiofor.
In the continued MO for Marvel, they went outside the box in choosing their director. Doctor Strange was helmed and co-scripted by Scott Derrickson, a man mostly known for horror having previously directed Hellraiser: Inferno, Sinister and Deliver Us From Evil as well as the unfortunate and unnecessary The Day the Earth Stood Still remake. Here, his style seems to match well with the magical and mystical elements. It’s not a homerun or anything but a nice, solid work for his first blockbuster release (I don’t count the aforementioned Earth).
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
This 3-disc release comes housed in a clear Blu-ray case and comes with a plastic slip cover (think like the DVD for E.T.). Inside is a code for the Digital HD copy.
Audio Commentary – Co-Writer/Director Scott Derrickson provides an informative and lively track discussing his approach
Under Featurettes (58:05; HD), we are taken behind the scenes with interviews by the cast and crew:
Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look (7:28; HD) – Get an early peek at Marvel’s spectacular upcoming films including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarak, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.
Team Thor: Part 2 (4:38; HD) – See more of the hilarious partnership between Thor and his roommate Darryl in this satirical short.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (7:52; HD):
Gag Reel (4:12; HD)
3D VIDEO – 5.0/5, 2D VIDEO – 4.75/5
|Doctor Strange portals onto Blu-ray in glorious and mind-bending 3D presented in its original 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. First, the 3D is incredible and this is just the type of movie to take advantage of the technology with the kaleidoscope visual effects; just imagine if Interstellar got the 3D treatment… well this is as close we’ll get. The standard Blu-ray (AVC codec) in the meantime also looks good with bright colors throughout and well defined and sharp detail. Either option to me is reference quality work.
AUDIO – 4.75/5
|For whatever reason, Disney still hasn’t gone with the newer audio codecs (DTS:X or Atmos) but we at least get a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which helps showcase the many action-centric sequences as well as some of the quieter moments including dialogue which comes through the center channel with nice, crisp clarity. The front and rear channels have excellent depth especially during those mind-bending scenes where audio is coming from every direction. The LFE channel also gets a fine boost that is finely distributed.
OVERALL – 4.5/5
Overall, while not the strongest of the numerous MCU films so far, Doctor Strange at least is still a fun flick helped more by the charisma of both Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton more than a routine, thin plot and another forgettable villain. This “Cinematic Universe Edition” release that includes the 3D BD, BD and DVD physical discs offers excellent video/audio transfers and a great selection of bonus material.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.