Doctor Strange – Spoiler-Free Review

So I’m kinda late to the party for this one, but I finally got the chance to see Doctor Strange. Directed by Scott Derrickson – who I had some apprehensions about considering he directed some notable duds (see: The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Day the Earth Stood Still) – it was actually a welcome surprise. Due in large part to the actors’ performances, as well as some stunning special effects, I’ll be going over some of the highlights of the film sans spoilers.

Before getting into the overarching story, I’d like to talk about a couple performances. Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness) does an amazing job of playing the titular character and the greatest name to ever give a villain in Dormammu. A neurosurgeon who is seen as the number one at a well known hospital, he then had an epiphany where his once famous hands were now unable to move due to a car accident. Overall, I found his cocky, know-it-all attitude hard to take at first, but once I realized what his true intentions were as a person, it did come full circle. His love interest (and I say that loosely) is portrayed by Rachel McAdams (Spotlight, The Notebook), and immediately, I noticed there was a Meredith Grey-Derek Shepherd relationship intertwining into this superhero flick. Tilda Swinton (I Am Love, We Need to Talk About Kevin) also had a great performance as the Ancient One, the master of the mystic arts. Finally, kudos to the homeboy Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Hannibal) for his stellar performance as the main villian, Kaecilius. Having been a fan of his since his portrayal of Le Chiffre, it was definitely a welcome return to form after starring in some movie duds (in my opinion at least) over the past couple years. SCORE: 8/10

The plot, in my view, mixed the aforementioned Grey’s Anatomy relationship/OTP with the whole Dumbledore’s Army vs. Voldemort’s Army trope seen in Harry Potter. As a fan of both, it was great to see how that would translate that to the MCU, but the addition of time and portal manipulation à la The Flash made this boring trope seem engaging and thoroughly interesting. The standout scene, in my opinion occurs in the second act. Again, without spoiling, Tilda Swinton’s character takes a surprising turn, and definitely warps the plot in more ways than one. SCORE: 8.5/10

All in all, i would recommend watching Doctor Strange, irrespective if you have background knowledge through the comics or if you’re a total newbie. The plot alone will glue you in, the special effects will make you stay in your seats, and the performances will make you remember this movie days after.

SCORE: 16.5/20 (82.5%)

Kelvin P

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