Dr. Strange Spoiler Free Movie Review

By:  Karl Stern (@dragonkingkarl, @wiwcool, karl@whenitwascool.com)

 Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)

The When It Was Cool family went this past week to see the latest offering from Marvel Studios- Dr. Strange.  So let's get the boring particulars out of the way- starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo, Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer, Benedict Wong as Wong, and Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One.  Obviously, that's not the entire cast but these are our main players for most of the movie.  The lead antagonist is Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius.

As a comic book fan who knew the trippy roots of Dr. Strange and have read most of the old Steve Ditko and Stan Lee wild and bizarre early tales I thought this movie was a home run.  I thought the special effects really captured the iconic artwork of Ditko from those early Strange Tales comics and I think that Benedict Cumberbatch was the absolute perfect choice to play Dr. Strange.

 Benedict Cumberbatch was the perfect choice for Dr. Stephen Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch was the perfect choice for Dr. Stephen Strange

Usually, I am a stickler for character continuity.  I like the characters on screen to reflect as closely as possible the characters in the comic books.  For example Robert Downey, Jr. is a perfect Tony Stark / Iron Man and Benedict Cumberbatch is a perfect Dr. Strange.  However, there were some liberties taken with other characters in this film and, honestly, they turned out fine.

In the comic books, the Ancient One is an aged Asian male.  In the movie, she is an ancient Celtic female.  This worked perfectly fine and Tilda Swinton did a marvelous (pun) job.  Also, Mordo in the comic books is a Romanian Baron and here he is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor and his country of origin is unclear.  I really enjoyed this version of Mordo much better.  In the comic books, Mordo never came off to me as anything more than a caricature of a magic villain.  Ejiofor gave the character weight and presence.

 the iconic steve ditko dr. Strange

the iconic steve ditko dr. Strange

I'm not going to rehash the film and give spoilers but it is an origin movie.  While I absolutely hate origin movies for iconic heroes like Superman, Batman, or Spider-Man, I think it is necessary for lesser known (at least in the popular culture) characters like Dr. Strange and you really need Strange's origin to understand his motivations.  He was a selfish, arrogant, self absorbed, jerk before his accident and journey into the mystic arts and had to give up the most important thing to him in the end in order to serve humanity.

The special effects are really intense and amazing.  I did not see in it 3D, although I imagine it was quite incredible.  I do have to agree with my wife though that, at times, it seemed a bit much and overwhelming.

 Dr. strange issue 1. it's hard to imagine the wild out-there magic of early dr. Strange translating well to the movie screen but in this film i think it came as close as possible.

Dr. strange issue 1. it's hard to imagine the wild out-there magic of early dr. Strange translating well to the movie screen but in this film i think it came as close as possible.

If you are a fan of Dr. Strange, especially the early really far-out Steve Ditko Dr. Strange then I'm betting you will love this movie.  Also, like most Marvel Studio movies (and unlike the Warner Brothers DC Films of Sadness and Angst) there are ample laugh out loud moments especially involving Wong who has a lot of potential in future films to further explore his character.

Check this movie out, it was fun and amazing.

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